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CBSL extends debt moratorium for tourism industry till March 31

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has decided to provide further relief measures to assist tourism sector businesses and individuals who are adversely affected by the prevailing COVID-19 outbreak.

Considering the ongoing travel restrictions, disruption to economic activities and representations made by the Ministry of Tourism and related agencies, CBSL has requested licensed commercial banks and licensed specialised banks to provide a debt moratorium to COVID-19 affected businesses and individuals in the tourism sector for a further period of six months commencing from 1 October 2020 to 31 March 2021.

CBSL has observed that the proposed extension may not cause an undue level of stress or threaten the stability of the banking system considering the lower level of exposure to the tourism sector by licensed banks, the capital buffers maintained by Licensed Banks and measures proposed by the Ministry of Tourism to revive the tourism industry.

Accordingly, CBSL has issued a circular to give effect to the extension. It also said licensed banks may offer any additional concessions to borrowers in a way that the overall benefits to borrowers are not less than the benefits offered under the Circular.

Eligible borrowers include businesses and individuals who are affected by COVID-19 and registered with; i) Ministry of Tourism, ii) Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Agencies under Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Local Government Authorities such as Pradeshiya Sabha, Urban Council or Municipal Council (such businesses shall now register with the relevant institutions referred in i), ii) and iii) above), v) Department of Cultural Affairs; and vi) The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka.