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Sunday July 14th, 2024

Sri Lanka newly-weds, migrant workers to get subsidised housing: Budget 2019

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s 2019 government budget will offer a host of subsidised loans to beneficiaries ranging from newly-married couples, migrant workers and students to small businesses, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

Under the ‘Home Sweet Home’ program, newly married couples will be able to borrow up to 10 million rupees as a mortgage loan for 25 years with a subsidised interest rate of 6 percent, he said while reading the 2019 budget.

The ‘Sihina Maliga’ (Dream Home) program will offer expatriate labour to build a house by borrowing up to 10 million rupees, with a grace period of 2 years and a repaying within 15 years.

Samaraweera said the state will provide a 1.1 million rupee loan to those passing GCE Advance Levels exams to start their tertiary studies, as 300,000 students sitting for the exam will only have 30,000 places in university.

He said these ‘My Future’ loans will give a grace period of 2 years to the students and are repayable over 12 years.

He said 200 million rupees will be allocated for student loans in 2019.  

Subsidised loans will also be offered under the “Enterprise Sri Lanka” loan schemes, with the aim of creating an entrepreneurial society, particularly amongst youth, Samaraweera said.

Those wanting to buy electric three wheelers to replace existing fossil-fuelled ones will be given an interest subsidy of 75 percent on their loans, he said.

A concessionary loan “City Ride” will be introduced, where the government will bear 75 percent of the interest cost for private bus fleet owners to expand their fleets by a total of 1,000 luxury buses with low floor boards.

The government will bear half the interest cost of loans by small scale farmers and farmers’ organizations, floriculture farmers, and entrepreneurs in ornamental fish related businesses, as well as those in agro and fish processing and operating multiday boats with modern facilities.

Companies engaged in commercial scale farming can also apply for loans where the government will bear half the interest cost as well as entrepreneurs engaged in animal husbandry.

The government will bear 75 percent of the interest cost on loans to small scale farmers and farmers’ organizations for mechanizing cultivation.

Households who want to fixed solar power panels will also have half their interest cost on loans subsidised by government.

Poultry producers can also borrow up to 50,000 rupees at no interest.

Small enterprises with an annual turnover between 10 million to 250 million rupees employing up to 50 can borrow up to 100 million rupees for export ventures with half the interest cost borne by government.

The scheme covers those engaged in agriculture, fisheries, ornamental fisheries, livestock, floriculture, horticulture, light engineering, printing, tourism, handicrafts, wood based products, apparel, information technology, manufacturing industry and renewable energy sectors.

A 25 percent interest subsidy is available to medium entrepreneurs with an annual turnover between 250 million to 750 million rupees and with an employment cadre of up to 300 engaged in the same sectors.

Interest subsidies of 75 percent are offered to firms to provide child-care facilities and elderly care centers.
COLOMBO, March 05, 2019)

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Ex-US President Trump shot at in campaign rally

ECONOMYNEXT- Republican nominee to the upcoming polls and former US President Donald Trump has been shot during a campaign rally, media reports said.

The bullet grazed the ear of Trump, who is reported to be doing well.

The gunman was shot and killed by secret service snipers within second of firing the shots at Trump.

At least one civilian was killed reports said.

Television footage showed blood in Trumps ear.

As he was hustled out of the venue by Secret Service officials Trump was seen shaking his fist in the air. (Colombo/July14/2024)

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UNESCO DG to discuss archaeological endeavours in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president has said that he will discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city with visiting UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay.

Azoulay will visit Sri Lanka from July 16-19 and take part at the celebration of the 75th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s membership of UNESCO at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre in Colombo.

She will also travel to UNESCO World Heritage Sites around the island, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

“I have invited the Director General of UNESCO to visit Sri Lanka and discuss initiatives for long-term archaeological endeavours in the Anuradhapura city. Several universities overseas have shown interest in supporting us for these activities, and we are moving forward with their collaboration,” Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“Anuradhapura boasts a rich history spanning over a millennium, once renowned as a hub of trade and economics. Preserving and exploring this ancient city’s archaeological treasures remains a significant endeavour.”

“New archaeological efforts in the Anuradhapura district are now imperative,” Wickremesinghe said during a ceremony to inaugurate a 150-kilowatt solar power system installed by the LTL Group at the Sri Maha Bodhiya premises in Anuradhapura on Saturday (13).

Wickremesinghe pointed out that UNESCO has undertaken extensive archaeological projects in Angkor Thom in Cambodia, and Luang Prabang in Laos.

“However, we have not taken the necessary steps to implement these activities in Anuradhapura city. Therefore, I have advised both the Department of Archaeology and the Cultural Triangle to undertake these initiatives.”

These efforts are part of a comprehensive program aimed at establishing Anuradhapura as a globally renowned city, Wickremesinghe said.

While Sigiriya has gained international fame, Sri Lanka has not adequately highlighted Anuradhapura’s historical significance as a major trade and economic center in the past, the president pointed out.

“Cities like Tanjore (Thanjavur), Madurai, and Sanchipuram are often discussed, yet Anuradhapura, the fourth city, has been overlooked. Therefore, it is crucial to develop Anuradhapura city.”

As part of these initiatives, preparations are underway to establish new hotels in Anuradhapura, which will contribute significantly to its development, Wickremesinghe said. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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Government committed to improving living conditions in Jaffna: Sri Lanka PM

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s prime minister, who is in Jaffna “to monitor the progress” and “get a little feedback” has said the government is committed to improving living conditions of the people in the northern peninsula.

“This government is dedicated to improving the living conditions of the Jaffna Peninsula,” Dinesh Gunawardena told a Jaffna District Coordinating Committee meeting on Friday, according to a statement by his media division.

“In order to increase the living conditions, we have embarked on an increase in most of the expenditure needed by the departments, and also special allocations for rural and urban development in the local government area.”

Nationalist Gunawardena met with Tamil politicians at the Jaffna Divisional Secretariat Office and participated in the distribution of rice and egg incubators for low income families.

“A special privilege to be with you all, in order to monitor the progress made by all of you, as well as to get a little feedback where we stand today in relation to the reports given.”

Gunawardena joins a string of leading political figures who have visited the north ahead of upcoming polls.

The government was, he said, “committed to improve the services and living conditions, therefore, to provide the necessary infrastructure for developments, which means much to your area.”

The prime minister said he appreciated the efforts of farmers because “farmers are all private sector, I would say. Let us not forget, farmers are all in the private sector, either in the ownership or in the tenancy. They are private contributors to the national development of the economy.”

The poverty numbers are “fairly managed” in the country. Gunawardena said, pointing out that poverty was a key problems in any economy. “Any country, you would agree with me, the richest country, in the United States even, food stamps have been given. So all economies the world are going through difficult situations in relation to the poor.

“We have to look after the poor especially in these remote villages of the Northern Province…”

Minister Douglas Devanada, MPs M A Sumanthiran, Angajan Ramanathan, C Vigneshwaran, Dharmalingam Siddharthan, and other officials participated in the meeting. (Colombo/Jul13/2024)

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