(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Minister of Finance Monday instructed to increase the loan given to dairy farmers from the Rs. 500,000 proposed in the budget to Rs. 1 million.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa gave these instructions to the relevant authorities at a progress review meeting held at the Ministry of Finance focusing on projects implemented as per the budget proposals and relief for the public.
Accordingly, from next week, dairy farmers will be able to obtain loans of up to Rs. 1 million at 4% interest to develop their infrastructure.
At the meeting Finance Ministry Secretary SR Attygalle explained the loan concessions implemented in accordance with the budget proposals.
Accordingly, housing loans given to public servants already borrowed and to be received will be given at an interest rate of 7%. Mr. Attygalle pointed out that the monthly salary increase of a public servant due to this concession is between Rs. 2500-3000.
Loans of up to Rs. 800,000 at an interest rate of 4% are currently being provided to the government and non-government employees for the installation of solar panels on the roofs.
Minister of State Shehan Semasinghe pointed out that credit facilities should be provided to small and medium scale paddy mill owners to purchase paddy this season.
Accordingly, Prime Minister Rajapaksa instructed to expedite the provision of loans for the purchase of paddy. The Prime Minister said that this would limit the large scale purchase of paddy for by-products such as beer production.
Granting loan facilities at 6.25% interest rate has been commenced for the implementation of the middle class housing projects with the Urban Development Authority.
The Prime Minister also drew attention to the expeditious disbursement of concessionary loans for Samurdhi members, including access to electricity.
Finance Ministry Secretary Attygalle pointed out that instead of focusing on foreign loans, the government is now focusing more on foreign investment and stressed the importance of maintaining it.
Director General of Customs GV Ravipriya pointed out that the import section of the Sri Lanka Customs is operated by online technology, which has helped to minimize the problems. He also said that it had helped reduce the number of wharf clerks visiting customs by about 60 percent a day.
Meanwhile, the officials informed the Prime Minister that the online payment of taxes to the Inland Revenue Department was implemented from today and five banks have agreed to cooperate.
State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the 3% fee for early repayment of loans and leases to the banks should be stopped completely.
Ministers of State Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Shehan Semasinghe, Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini Senarath, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance SR Attygalle and other officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present on the occasion.