President provides relief measures due to COVID-19 outbreak

Gotabaya Rajapaksa - Sri Lanka President

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has decided to grant relief to the people who were affected by the spread of the COVID-19 virus under the powers vested in him.

All relief measures will come into effect from today (23), the President’s Media Division said.

The President has ordered the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the Secretaries of all ministries, General Secretaries of Provincial Councils and the heads of all banks, financial institutions and leasing companies to take necessary steps to ensure the public receives these relief measures.

The relief measures are as follows:

  1. The deadline for payment of value-added tax (VAT), income tax, driving license renewal fees, water/electricity bills below Rs 15,000, assessment tax, validity period of bank cheques and credit card payments below Rs 50,000 have been extended until April 30, 2020.
  2. A grace period of 6 months will be granted for the lease payment on three-wheelers.
  3. Deducting loan installments from the salaries of public servants and non-staff employees in the private sector suspended until May 30, 2020.
  4. Recovery of personal loans less than Rs 1 million issued by banks and financial institutions, suspended for 3 months.
  5. The allowance of Rs 20,000 for the month of March for those selected under the Graduates employment scheme, deposited to their respective bank accounts.
  6. ‘Agrahara’ medical insurance benefits doubled for government employees engaged in eradicating the Coronavirus including health officials, police officers and civil security personnel.
  7. Implementing a debt moratorium of 6 months tourism, apparel, small and medium scale businesses and the reevaluation of the amounts by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL).
  8. Government institutes (Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, National Savings Bank, Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, Employees Provident Fund and Employees’ Trust Fund) consolidate to stabilize the government securities market at an interest rate of 7% through investments in treasury bonds and treasury bills.
  9. Subjecting the interest rate of credit cards used for local transactions of up to Rs 50,000 to a maximum limit of 15% and reducing the minimum monthly charge by 50%
  10. Keeping all bank branches open for consumers when curfew is not imposed in order to provide a maximum service.
  11. Sri Lanka Ports, Customs and other regulatory institutions will have to continuously issue essential foods, fertilizer, medicine and fuel to relevant individuals without interruption.
  12. Samurdhi beneficiaries and Samurdhi card holders to be issued an interest free advance of Rs 10,000 by all Samurdhi bank associations.
  13. Lanka Sathosa and co-operative outlets to be free from value added tax (VAT) and other regional levies and fees.
  14. Samurdhi Authority to immediately issue certificates of title to Samurdhi and low-income families in order to issue nutritional food items low-income families. The adults of those families are to be issued rice, dhal and other through Food Cards on a weekly basis.
  15. President sets up a special fund to strengthen the mitigation activities aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country and related social welfare programmes. The Fund is named “COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund” and President has instructed to donate Rs. 100 million from the President’s Fund for this purpose. Locals as well as foreign donors can make their financial contributions to the fund and donations will be exempted from tax and foreign exchange regulations.
  16. Sri Lanka Government pledged 5 million US Dollars in contribution to the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund.