(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The State Banks should make their bounden contribution to rebuild the economy which is in a perilous state due to COVID-19 pandemic.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made these comments during a progress review meeting of the Bank of Ceylon held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (15).
It is the responsibility of State Banks to put in place the mechanism to implement the policies of a Government. Taking forward the strategy of maintaining a vibrant economy with a clear understanding of their role is a primary obligation of the banks, the President stated.
While pointing out the impossibility of fulfilling aspirations of a country with a two digit interest rate for loans, President stressed the necessity of bringing it down to a single digit to assist the development of the country.
The President said that he had never requested any bank to grant loans to his kith and kin, acquaintances or supporters. The State Banks should take the lead in providing the financial assistance expected by small to medium entrepreneurs and to investors.
“The current global scenario is an unprecedented one. We will have to think out of the box to break free from this situation,” President said that conventional methods cannot be used to revive the economy. He reiterated that he is determined to meet the expectation of every community in this country by exercising the powers given to him by the people. It is not at all for political gains but for the benefit of the country, said the President adding that he will not think twice to take the best possible decision notwithstanding the obstacles that come on the way.
The growth rate of the economy which was 7 per cent to 8 per cent before 2015 had fallen even below 2 per cent by 2019. The global economy which collapsed in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened the situation. President Rajapaksa emphasised that it is the responsibility of State Banks to comprehend all these factors and assist in implementing policies of the Government for the betterment of the country.
Secretary to the President P. B. Jayasundera, Secretary to the Treasury S. R. Attygalle, Chairman of the Bank of Ceylon Kanchana Ratwatte, Board of Directors and Officials participated in the discussion.