Mar 15, Colombo: The loan and leasing concession package granted to by the government to those engaged in the tourism sector affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be extended by a further six months, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said.
The Minister said that an agreement was reached during a special discussion held with the Governor of the Central Bank Prof W.D. Lakshman recently to extend the relief package provided to tourism industry stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic by six months.
The circular extending the leasing concession has already been published while the circular pertaining to loan concessions will be issued in the coming weeks.
During the discussion, representatives from the various professions engaged in the Tourism industry pointed out that tourist hotel owners have to pay the interest of about Rs.105 billion for the loans amounting to Rs.350 billion and they are in great difficulty in paying back these loans and interests.
The Central Bank has agreed to provide some relief period for these people in the future, the Governor of the Central Bank added.
The Minister of Tourism emphasized the need to provide further relief to those engaged in the tourism sector and to formulate a system to deliver the relief provided by the government to all.
The Minister said that there is no use of providing patchwork solution to problems in the tourism industry which was badly hit by the pandemic and long term solutions were needed since livelihoods of those on the industry were adversely affected by both the COVID-19 outbreak and the Easter Sunday attack.
The Minister also emphasized the need for the Central Bank to take immediate action regarding financial institutions that do not provide government’s assistance to the people affected by the pandemic.