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Monday December 4th, 2023

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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Sri Lanka stocks close up as some investor interest returns

ECONOMYNEXT – The Colombo Stock Exchange closed up on Monday, CSE data showed.

The All Share Price Index was up 0.22 percent, or 23.33 points, at 10,743.59.

The S&P SL20 index was up 0.68 percent, or 20.60 points, at 3,067.73.

Turnover was at 708 million. The banks sector contributed 189 million, while the food, beverage and tobacco sector contributed 176 million of this.

Sri Lanka’s stock market has seen some investor interest return after last week’s news that the country had managed an agreement on a debt restructuring deal with an official creditor committee, and foreign funds for some development projects resumed.

Top positive contributors to the ASPI in the day were Sampath Bank Plc (up at 71.50), LOLC Holdings Plc (up at 379.00), and Commercial Bank of Ceylon Plc, (up at 90.90).

There was a net foreign outflow of 52 million.

Citrus Leisure Plc, which announced that its banquet hall and revolving restaurant at the Lotus Tower would launch on or around Dec 9, saw its share price rise to 6.20 rupees. (Colombo/Dec4/2023).

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Sri Lanka rupee closes broadly steady at 328.10/30 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 328.10/30 to the US dollar on Monday, from 328.00/10 on Friday, dealers said.

Bond yields were stable.

A bond maturing on 01.06.2025 closed at 13.70/14.00 percent from 13.70/95 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.08.2026 closed at 13.90/14.10 percent from 13.90/14.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.01.2027 closed at 14.00/14.10 percent from 14.05/10 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 14.20/35 percent from 14.15/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 14.25/45 percent, from 14.20/45 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 14.05/40 percent, from 14.00/45 percent. (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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Gov minister highlights abortion rights, sex-ed for children, and Sri Lanka men killing their women

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s legislators have politicized the topics of rape and violence without addressing the elephant in the room, Jeevan Thondaman, Minister of Water Supply and Estate Infrastructure Development said in parliament on Monday (4).

“All the members here are talking about rape. What happens after that? We must talk about abortion rights. That is not something anyone wants to touch on, and that is why we are in this place right now,” Thondaman said.

“Despite alarming statistics on rape and violence, women are often blamed and punished for it. The criminalisation of abortion is a major example of this.”

Sri Lanka has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. According to a 2016 estimate by the Health Ministry, he said, approximately 658 abortions take place a day, and close to 250,000 a year.

“That’s 250,000 women whose lives you are endangering.”

He added that what was needed at this point in time was comprehensive sexual education (CSE) for children and young people.

“Only through CSE in schools will children and young people develop, accurate, age appropriate knowledge attitude and skills; positive values such as respect for human rights, gender equality, diversity and attitude and skills that contribute to a safe, healthy and positive relationship.”

Thondaman pointed out that CSE plays a pivotal role in preparing young people for a world where HIV, AIDS, sexually transmitted infections, unintended pregnancies, and sexual and gender based violence still pose a risk to their well-being.

“CSE basically empowers children take control and make informed decisions freely and responsibly.”

Thondaman also highlighted the findings of a 2021 study (Fatalities_20211109_UNFPA) by the UNFPA and the University of Kelaniya that showed that a majority of women killed in Sri Lanka were murdered by those close to them.

“62 percent of homicides of Sri Lankan women are committed by either an intimate partner, ex-partner or family member. 84 percent are killed in their own homes by someone they know.”

Police and the judiciary have failed Sri Lanka’s women, the minister pointed out.

“Only 5 percent of these cases, between 2013-2017, were ever concluded. Men claim they were provoked, or are of unsound mind or have mental illness: These have been successful defenses. And the Police often express sympathy to this narrative as opposed to the victim’s.”

“We have a history of protecting oppressors.”

It takes 7-10 years for a child rape case to conclude, he pointed out.

Establishment of child courts are needed, he said, as well as several legislative amendments. “The government is working on a new law to reform the domestic violence act, reform of marriage and divorce laws to ensure there is an easier path to divorce: no one should be forced to remain in a marriage that is either abusive or not healthy.” (Colombo/Dec4/2023)

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