June 15, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today emphasized that the state banks should directly contribute to revive the economy that has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a progress review meeting of the Bank of Ceylon at the President’s Office Monday, President Rajapaksa said maintaining strategies for an active economy is a major responsibility of the state banks.
The President pointed out that the economic growth rate which was between seven and eight percent before 2015, fell to less than two percent in 2019. It has been further hit by the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the world economy.
He said that it is the responsibility of the state banks to formulate a mechanism for the implementation of the government’s policies. “Identifying that objective and advancing the strategy to keep the economy active is the primary responsibility of the banks,” he said.
Therefore the President said the state banks should support in implementing government policies for an economic resurgence in the country.
Speaking further, the President said the country’s objectives cannot be achieved with a two-digit interest rate and emphasized the need to maintain the interest rate at single digit to support development.
The President suggested that state banks should give financial assistance to farmers and small and medium scale industrialists. He added that he had never told the banks to lend to his relatives, friends or supporters.
The President pointed out that a fallen economy cannot be revived only through traditional methods and added that he would not hesitate to use the power vested in him by the people to meet the aspirations of the entire population.
President Rajapaksa stressed that such steps will be taken on behalf of the country and not for political gain and said he would not hesitate to take appropriate measures if the obstacles are placed.