Sri Lanka’s central bank approves COVID-19 relief loans worth 966 mln USD

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has approved 966 million U.S. dollars worth of loans under a relief program for COVID-19 affected businesses, local media reported on Sunday.

   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 966 million U.S. dollars which has been approved by the CBSL, a total of 723 million U.S. dollars has been disbursed through licensed banks to 45,581 businesses across the country.

   The Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance loan scheme was created to provide 814 million U.S. dollars worth of working capital with a 4-percent-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 Rs. 150 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.