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)