Sri Lanka sets up special COVID-19 fund with open invitation for local & foreign donations

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT – A ‘COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’ was set up today to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, with a Rs 100 million contribution from the President’s Fund, Sri Lanka’s President’s Office said.

Both local and foreign donors are invited to contribute to the fund, and donations will be exempted from tax and foreign exchange regulations, a statement said. Deposits can be made through cheques or telegraphic transfers.

Earlier today, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pledged USD 5 million (LKR 928.4 million) to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund, the government’s official news portal reported.

An account bearing the number 85737373 has been opened at the Corporate Branch of the Bank of Ceylon to house the Sri Lanka fund.

According to the President’s Office, management of the fund will be entrusted with a “highly qualified panel of professionals” in the fields of administration, finance and banking sectors. The panel will comprise the Inspector General of Police (IGP), secretaries to the ministries, the Director General of Health, and audit and banking experts.

The statement quoted Secretary to the President Dr P B Jayasundara as saying that the fund would be an opportunity for local and foreign companies to make their contributions towards a humanitarian mission.

“It is expected that foreign States, international financial organisations and leading conglomerates in Sri Lanka as well as abroad will take a leading role. Dr. Jayasundara reminds (sic) that the people of this country rose again in the same manner in the aftermath of 2004 tsunami and at the end of the humanitarian operations in 2009,” the statement said. (Colombo/Mar23/2020)

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