Business and Economics
People’s Bank slashes interest rates

In keeping with the government’s guidelines to uplift local entrepreneurs, and with the aim of uplifting businesses that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, People’s Bank has embraced the responsibility of a State bank and taken steps to immediately reduce the interest rates of industries that contribute directly to the local economy.

These industries include agriculture, animal husbandry, related industries, other crops and fisheries fields as well as manufacturing, tourist hotels, exports, development and microfinance and cooperative divisions.

Accordingly, in terms of agriculture, animal husbandry, related industries, other crops and fisheries fields, the 13% interest rate applicable for loans of up to Rs.1 million (up to 3 years) has reduced to 9.50% and if more than 3 years to 9.75%, while the current 14% interest rate for loans over Rs.1 million has reduced to 13.50%. In the manufacturing industry, the 13.50% interest applicable to loans of up to Rs. 1 million (up to 3 years) has dropped to 9.50% while the interest rate for loans above 3 years has dropped to 9.75%.

Special award to SLT at Print Awards

SLT Rainbow Pages, the national Business Directory was rewarded for being one of the largest contributors to the Printing industry in Sri Lanka and for printing and publishing the Single largest book for the last 15 years.

SLT Rainbow Pages had a humble beginning in 2002 to comply with license conditions stipulated according to the Telecom Act. By starting the printing process locally, it not only created opportunities for local businesses, but also generated substantial employment and detained valuable financial resources within the island that would have otherwise been drained out of the country.

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Trade deficit narrows to US$ 549 mn in March

The COVID -19 pandemic and the imposition of a partial lockdown in Sri Lanka in the second half of March 2020 affected external sector performance in March 2020.

Breakdown in supply and demand chains along with the interruption of domestic production processes resulted in a notable decline in merchandise exports as well as merchandise imports.

However, with a greater decline in the expenditure on imports compared to the decline in earnings from exports, the trade deficit narrowed over the same period in 2019. The tourism industry was severely affected with the imposition of travel restrictions globally and the closure of the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA).

Workers’ remittances declined notably in March 2020, with the return of migrant workers from affected countries as well as the reported job terminations of some workers abroad.

However, the financial account was also strengthened with the receipt of proceeds from the syndicated loan facility in March 2020.

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