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Vehicle lease payers to meet President on six-month moratorium

ECONOMYNEXT – With complaints mounting that a promised six-month debt moratorium for lease agreements has yet to materialise, a group representing vehicle loan payers in Sri Lanka is set to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today to discuss the matter.

President of the All-Island Vehicle Leasing and Loan Installment Payers Association D N Uggalla announced the meeting on Facebook earlier today.

Meanwhile, Udaya Kumara, a PickMe driver who had purchased his Maruti Suzuki Wagon R through a lease agreement with a well known private bank said the bank has come calling about overdue interest payments.

Kumara told EconomyNext that the bank had verbally asked him to pay interest/a fine amounting to Rs 74,890 for the six-month period that was supposed to be covered by the promised moratorium. He was originally expected to pay Rs 55,000 per month to the bank as a loan installment.

The bank had first informed Kumara that he would be charged an interest since he is a registered PickMe, he said, but had later changed their decision and asked him to sign an agreement with the bank.

Kumara was asked to pay the above-mentioned amount before August 10 upon which the government provided relief period will be over.

The cabinet decided in March to give a six-month debt moratorium on the leasing rentals of all three-wheelers, school vans, lorries, small goods transport vehicles and buses and related assets such as motorbikes and taxies operated by the self-employed/ owners as a part of the relief programme to COVID-19 hit businesses and individuals.

Self Employed Professionals’ Three-Wheeler Association Chairman Sunil Jayawardena, who spoke against the so called leasing mafia that he claimed was responsible for the setback, was beaten to death on Wednesday in Mirihana.

According to Police Spokesman Jaliya Senaratne, investigations have revealed that the victim was assaulted as a result of a heated argument over a leasing of a three-wheeler.

Eight suspects that were arrested in connection with the incident by Mirihana Police have been remanded until June 25 by the Nugegoda Magistrate’s Court.

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Prior to his demise, the victim had posted a video on Facebook appealing to President Rajapaksa to rein in the leasing mafia, which has since gone viral. (Colombo/June12/2020)

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