Loans & increase in interest rates : Details of Parliament discussion

November 17, 2022 at 6:04 PM

Customers who have been inconvenienced due to the increase in the interest rates charged for the loans obtained under variable interest rates in the past are able to get relief by negotiating with the bank, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe stated in Parliament.

The Governor made the revelation at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies held yesterday (16), which was chaired by the State Ministers of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Shehan Semasinghe.

In a statement, the Parliament of Sri Lanka said that the Members of Parliament pointed out that due to the increase in interest rates, the entire income of some creditors has to be paid for loan installments.  

The CBSL Governor said that customers can pay only the relevant interest for a grace period in consultation with the bank. He further added that instructions have been given to the banks in this regard.

Also, the CBSL Governor said that the average inflation which was at a value of 70% two months ago has now decreased to 66% and the food inflation which was at 95% has decreased to 85%. 

Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe further stated that with the existing fiscal policies, this figure is expected to reach 4-5% by the end of next year. 

According to the conditions of the International Monetary Fund, a new act has been drafted to make the Central Bank an independent institution and the necessary work is being done, the CBSL Governor added.

Furthermore, the committee drew attention to the difficulty in exchanging dollars for rupees by banks. State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya asked the CBSL Governor regarding the stated issue to which the Governor responded by saying that the Central Bank has not given any advice that would cause such delays.

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe also said that according to a report of the Department of Public Enterprises, 22 out of 126 institutions have not submitted their annual reports for more than 5 years and some institutions have delayed the submission of annual reports for about 7 years. 

Accordingly, the State Minister said that since he will be working with the International Monetary Fund in the future, he instructed the heads of the institutions to submit the annual reports within the stipulated time.

Leader of the Opposition MP Sajith Premadasa, Members of the Committee Jagath Kumara, Sahan Pradeep Withana, and Parliamentarians Secretary to the Treasury/Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies. Mr. K M Mahinda Siriwardana, officials representing the Ministry and institutions affiliated to it were present at the Committee meeting. (NewsWire)