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Sri Lanka interest subsidy arrears to commercial banks Rs33bn in 2018: AG

ECONOMYNEXT  – Sri Lanka had racked up a subsidy arrears of 33 billion rupees by the end of 2018 to state and private banks over above market interest promised by the government to senior citizens, the Auditor General has said.

"The liability has not been revealed in the Financial Statements and it had not been revealed in the financial statements of the relevant institution too," the Auditor General said.

Any arrears do not get captured as spending in that year and the budget deficit may be understated. The interest arrears is about 0.22 percent of GDP.

Under budget proposals dating back to 2015, a 15 percent interest rate was to be paid for a one year deposits of senior citizens.

"The General Treasury should reimburse the amount related to the difference between this interest rates and the normal interest rates to the relevant banks," the AG said.

By 2018 the subsidy owed to 07 state banks and 22 private banks had become 33.198 billion rupees by end December 2018.

The finance ministry settled over 80 billion rxpees of arrears in the first quarter of 2019, which it said was delayed partly due to the so-called constitutional coup triggered by President Maithripala Sirisena in October. (Colombo/June07/2019)

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