- Also the manner in which vehicles are seized
By Sandun A Jayasekera
Power, Energy and Transport Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said he would urge President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Cabinet to conduct a thorough assessment of the interest rates charged by Finance Companies and those employed to seize vehicles from defaulting customers.
While condemning the killing of Three-Wheeler Association Chairman Sunil Jayawardana on Wednesday after a clash that erupted between him and those employed by a finance company to seize a three-wheeler, he said the government must initiate a probe to know whether finance companies use underworld characters and criminals to seize vehicles taken on lease.
“We regularly receive complaints on excessive interest rates charged by finance companies and about those who seize vehicles in an unlawful manner. This must be stopped forthwith. The excessive interest rates and a further surcharge when installments are defaulted push customers into a debt trap,” the minister said.
He said the Central Bank must find a solution to this pressing problem and that disputes could not be resolved by killing a person.
He said he would urge the government to introduce a set of guidelines to be followed when seizing a vehicle and place a ceiling on the interest rates charged by finance companies and added that the killing of Mr. Jayawardana showed that finance companies had ignored the relief given by the government to three-wheeler operators and other vehicle owners who had leased out vehicles.