The government hopes to bring the country back to pre- COVID 19 situation with the presentation of the first budget of the SLPP government in the new Parliament, Cabinet spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardana said today.
The government has provided a massive relief package in the aftermath of the COVID-19 endemic to the corporate and public sector as well as to the most vulnerable groups in the country who have lost their daily income.
The Cabinet on Wednesday discussed in detail a strategy to restore normalcy in the country and was in confidence that the payment of Rs. 10,000 in April and May to 5.1 million needy families, kidney patients, Samurdhi families, senior citizens etc have eased burden of millions of helpless people.
The soft loan of Rs. 150 billion released to the private sector at four per cent interest rate to cover the working capital will help them to come out unscathed from the difficult period brought about by the viral infection.
”In short, the government’s relief packages offered in various forms have helped to minimise the impact of COVID- 19,” Minister Gunawardana stressed.
Minister Gunawardana said international lending agencies agreed to provide an additional US $ 22.4 million under transition assistance loans.
The Cabinet also approved the proposal presented by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to be obtain up to US$87.24 million and to use these funds for social security measures targeting the severely impacted sections of society due to COVID-19 outbreak.
Relief measures taken by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the Sri Lankan Missions abroad to address issues related to vulnerable segments of Sri Lankans abroad amidst the COVID- 19 Global Pandemic.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardana told the Cabinet that 52,401 Sri Lankans in 117 countries had made requests to return to Sri Lanka by June 16, 2020. Together with the Presidential Secretariat and the Task Force on Covid-19, more than 9,580 Sri Lankans have been brought to Sri Lanka from 38 countries.
Over 42.6 million rupees had been funded to Sri Lanka Missions for providing dry rations, basic medicines, safety equipment and safe transportation to vulnerable segments in the Middle- East and elsewhere.
Steps have been taken to send 5,000 bags worth 15.5 million rupees containing dry rations and medicines to Maldives, UAE and Qatar where there is a shortage of goods and difficulty in purchasing dry rations. (Sandun A Jayasekera)