Nine-month grace period for Saubhagya loans | Daily News

Nine-month grace period for Saubhagya loans

* CBSL further facilitates borrowers
* Rs.179 bn approved for 62,173 ventures
* Loan scheme operated by 29 banks

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has decided to extend the six-month grace period for borrowers who have obtained credit facilities under the Saubhagya COVID-19 Punaruda Naya Yojana Kramaya (Saubhagya Resurgence Credit Facility) by another three months.

Beginning in March this year, the Central Bank successfully implemented a Working Capital Loan Scheme at a low interest rate of 4 per cent to revive businesses that had been struggling during the first half of the COVID-19 pandemic and Rs. 179 billion was approved by the Central Bank to lend to 62,173 businesses so far.

“Accordingly, 47,000 people who have already obtained loans to improve their agriculture, industry and services will be given a grace period of nine months to repay the loans,” Director General of the Regional Development Department of the Central Bank M.S.K. Dharmawardena said.

“This loan scheme is currently granted by selected 29 specialized Government and Private sector licensed commercial banks in the country,” he added.

The Central Bank, under the instructions of the Government, introduced a new refinance facility for the businesses, including self-employment, adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, under the ‘Saubhagya’ (Prosperity) Loan Scheme.

Under the Scheme, loans are granted to facilitate working capital requirements of the eligible businesses.

The loans can be utilized to pay the salaries of the employees, to settle the utility bills, office rent, and to buy required materials.

The Regional Development Department of the Central Bank is the implementation agency of this all-island Scheme. The Scheme is implemented under three Phases.

Under Phase 1 of the loan scheme, the Central Bank provides refinancing facilities to the participating financial institutions (PFIs).

Under Phase – II, it provides loans to PFIs at 1 percent interest rate against collaterals approved by the Monetary Board. Under Phase III, PFIs are expected to use their own funds to grant loans to the businesses and/or individuals and the Central Bank provides credit guarantee ranging 50 per cent-80 per cent on loans so granted and an interest subsidy for PFIs to cover their credit risk and the cost of funds.