The Central Bank (CB) has decided to extend the deadline for SME credit support programme which includes a loan moratorium, up to February 10 while expecting around Rs.300 billion SME loans to be rescheduled under the loan moratorium.
CB Deputy Governor H.A. Karunaratne announced yesterday that the deadline, which was to expire today, would be extended to February 10.
The CB is expected to issue a circular to banks shortly, informing the new deadline.
Karunaratne noted that the impact of the loan moratorium on the banking sector would be minimal as expected loan moratorium applications may only make up around
“Total advances by the banking sector would be Rs.8 trillion and the maximum possible SME exposure would be 10-12 percent of that. According to our past experience, all those exposures were not materialised with only one third of requests coming in out of the full exposure,” he said.
SMEs with an annual turnover up to Rs.750 million and who had borrowed less than Rs.300 million are eligible for the loan moratorium.
SMEs can also seek an additional loan or a new facility, not exceeding Rs.300 million per bank, per borrower, provided the borrower submits a credible business plan while fulfilling certain other conditions. In addition, the non-performing customers can also write to their respective banks seeking a waiver of the total penal component of the interest accrued and unpaid on such loans. Sri Lanka’s banking sector NPL ratio increased close to 5 percent in 2019.