Sri Lanka’s central bank approves USD966M COVID-19 relief loans

COLOMBO (XINHUA) – The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has approved USD966 million worth of loans under a relief programme for COVID-19 affected businesses, media reported yesterday.

A total of 61,907 applications for loans under the Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance facility has been approved according to an official statement issued by the CBSL’s Regional Development Department.

Out of USD966 million which has been approved by the CBSL, USD723 million disbursed through licensed banks to 45,581 businesses across Sri Lanka. The Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance loan scheme was created to provide USD814 million worth of working capital with a four per cent per annum interest, a 24-month repayment period, and six-month grace period to COVID-19 hit businesses.

“In view of the large number of requests received from the affected businesses, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka decided to accept applications regardless of the LKR150 billion limit originally envisaged,” the CBSL statement said.

The first phase of the loan scheme was implemented on April 1 amid a nationwide curfew imposed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, while the second and third phases were implemented on July 1.