The government has expanded the relief package announced for the tourism sector hit by the Easter Sunday attacks.
Accordingly, the Cabinet of Ministers on Tuesday approved a proposal presented by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera to extend the grace period for the working capital loan scheme introduced for institutions and individuals engaged in tourism up to March 31, 2020.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to expand the coverage of the debt securities fund for the period.
Further, the Cabinet agreed to provide a two-month grace period, up to June 30, 2019, for loans obtained by passenger
The Cabinet further gave its nod to extend the working capital loan scheme for travel agencies and individuals to music bands.
However, the banking sector has been slow in implementing the loan scheme, with only five banks signing memoranda of understanding with the Treasury as of last week, to grant working capital loans under the Enterprise Sri Lanka scheme.
The government announced the tourism sector relief packages on May 7, offering working capital loans up to Rs.250 million, based on turnover.
The government would bear 75 percent of the interest component, until March 31, 2020, to offer a 3.4 percent concessionary interest rate for the struggling tourism businesses, subject to two-year maximum tenure.
Samaraweera also received the Cabinet nod to grant interest-free loans for the informal sector through the ‘Sancharaka Poddo’ loan scheme under Enterprise Sri Lanka.
The loan scheme is to be implemented through Regional Development Bank.