June 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's banks as at May 31, have received 1,055 applications for borrowing requests for moratoriums on outstanding loans and the loan requests in tourism sector is around Rs. 62 billion, according to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
According to the Central Bank, out of the Rs. 62 billion, Rs.26 billion worth loans were being evaluated by the banks for moratorium by end of May.
Sri Lanka's Minister of Finance Mangala Samaraweera on May 7 introduced a "Relief Package" including a number of tax concessions to strengthen the Tourism Industry drastically affected by the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks.
Accordingly, a moratorium was announced by the Central Bank to tourism sector institutions and individuals, on a case-by-case basis. The moratorium period will be until 31st March 2020 for both capital and interest payments granted to the tourism sector as of 18th April 2019.
Non Cabinet Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution and member of the special Cabinet Sub-Committee on Tourism, Dr. Harsha De Silva at a media briefing held at the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority yesterday said the relief package announced by the government to facilitate the tourism sector is progressing satisfactorily.
"However, we need more data to evaluate the progress of what the government is doing in clarifying this situation," Dr. de Silva said.
He said they had already urged the Central Bank to weekly reports instead of a monthly report, which is inadequate. "We are interested to find out whose applications are being rejected and the reason for rejection. Then, the bank CEOs will have to explain to the Central Bank why there are gaps. These matters cannot take months to be resolved and we can present actual up to date data to the general public."
Moreover frequent inspection needs to be carried out to identify any delays and inconveniences in progressing with the actions that needs to be followed according to the relief package and the Minister said that policy changes will be made if required.