Govt spent Rs. 138 b on Covid-19 relief | Sunday Observer
Timely action helped people

Govt spent Rs. 138 b on Covid-19 relief

23 May, 2021

State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that the Government has spent nearly Rs.138 billion as direct expenses so far to provide services and relief measures to the people who were affected by the Covid-19.

The Government had spent Rs.96.1 billion in 2020 and Rs.41.9 billion up to May 17, 2021 to provide relief facilities to the people, the State Minister told the Sunday Observer.

He said there are three components. The first is the money that the Government had spent directly in 2020 and up to May, 2021 under the category of Covid related expenditure and relief.

‘When one looks at the rough break-up of those numbers, we can see the huge amount of money spent by the Government to provide services and other immediate relief measures to the people’.

He said the second part is the impact of the moratorium that was implemented by the Government. There are two components. One is the moratorium that was provided by the banks and the other is the moratorium that was provided by the finance companies.

That also shows the extent to which support was granted to those who were struggling to pay their loans as a result of the go slow and the lockdowns that had impacted on them. So, they have been given relief which is absolutely important. Otherwise, they all would have been in serious trouble and the country’s entire financial sector would have been destabilised, the State Minister said.

Therefore, timely action taken by the Government in providing this moratorium is something that would have helped everyone not only the people who got the moratorium but also the banks that gave the moratorium. He said, “I believe that was another very important policy direction that helped Sri Lanka to ride the storm and ensure the financial system stability during a very dire crisis.”

State Minister Cabraal said the third part is that those who have been affected also needed fresh funds which they found very difficult to source as a result of the downturn in the industrial activities.

In that sense, we provided about Rs.165 billion at very concessionary rates of interests so that the people can stimulate their businesses further. All that helped to maintain the thrust of economic activities in our country.

“That was a vital part of the management of the country and I believe the benefits had already been given. In future, you will see how important those measures had been in providing stability as well as economic progress in our country,” he said.