Major relief package announced to help public

A major relief package was announced by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa today to help the public due to the current situation in the country.

The relief measures will be effective from today (23), the Government Information Department said.

The President has issued directives to the Central Bank Governor, all Ministry Secretaries, Chief Secretaries of Provincial Councils, heads of all banks and leasing companies to grant these relief measures to the people.

These relief measures announced are:

  1. A grace period for the payment of income  tax and VAT, driving licence renewal fee, water bills and assessment tax less than Rs. 15,000, monthly credit card bills less than Rs. 50,000, be extended until April 30th.
  2. Suspend the leasing loan repayment of three wheeler owners for a period of six months.
  3. Suspend the recovery of loans from the salaries of Government employees, private sector employees until May 30th.
  4. Suspension of loan repayments for personal loans less than one million borrowed from banks and finance companies for three months.
  5. The Rs. 20,000 allowance for the graduates chosen to follow the training programme will be credited to their bank accounts.
  6. The Agrahara insurance benefits for health workers engaged in Corona prevention activities, Police, Civil Security personnel and other Government employees to be doubled.
  7. A six month debt moratorium will be granted to the tourism, apparel and SME for which the Central Bank will bear the cost of the moratorium.
  8. When the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Employees Provident Fund and Employees Trust Fund jointly invest in Treasury Bonds and Bills, thereby stabilizing the money market at 7% interest rate.
  9. A maximum of 15% interest rate has been stipulated for  credit card domestic transactions up to Rs. 50,000  and a 50% reduction in minimum monthly charges.
  10. All bank branches to remain open during non-curfew hours providing maximum service to customers.
  11. Sri Lanka Ports, Customs and other regulatory bodies must continually issue essential food, fertilizer, pharmaceuticals and fuel to the relevant individuals continuously.
  12. Samurdhi beneficiaries and Samurdhi card holders to be offered an interest free advance of Rs. 10,000 through all Samurdhi Banks.
  13. Exempting Lanka Sathosa and Cooperative stores from VAT and other taxes.
  14. Samurdhi Authority should issue title certificates to Samurdhi and low income families immediately for issuing nutritious food items to low income persons. They should be provided with rice, dhal and salt on a weekly basis with their food cards.
  15. In the face of the current Covid-19 threat, the Bank of Ceylon has opened a special account at the Presidential Fund to provide relief to health and social care. 100 million has been allocated from the Presidential Fund for this purpose. Tax and foreign exchange control restrictions have been lifted for all local and foreign donors who contribute.
  16. Sri Lankan Government to donated $ 05 million to the SAARC Corona Fund.

The President has instructed his Secretary to immediately implement these directives.

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