President emphasizes need to provide prompt relief for ETI depositors


President Maithripala Sirisena emphasized the need of promptly providing relief to the depositors of the ETI Finance Limited.

The President emphasized this when the National Economic Council met at the President’s Office yesterday (26).

The special attention of the Economic Council was drawn regarding the selling of the company’s assets and after considering that transaction the recommendations of the Council were presented.

In the period of 2015-2018, three companies had agreed to buy ETI, two of which are Sri Lankan companies and one is a foreign company.

The National Economic Council focused attention on whether there was sufficient transparency during negotiations with the local companies and whether proper bargaining was done to get a maximum sum to pay the depositors in the transaction.

The Council also observed that it is not clear whether all three companies were given the same opportunity for the bidding on the financial company.

At present, a transaction is being carried out to provide relief to the relevant depositors and during this meeting, attention was drawn regarding that transaction. Accordingly, the Central Bank has announced that 20 percent of the deposits of the ETI has been paid back and another ten percent will be paid shortly.

Meanwhile, the special attention of the National Economic Council was drawn regarding the Microfinance projects.

The President pointed out that there is a huge burden on the people in this field and also emphasized the need for a method to register these money-lending institutions.

During this meeting, the progress of the loan scheme that was recently introduced by the government to provide relief to the affected people has been reviewed and attention was focused on introducing a special program to further enhance the facilities, the efficiency of the loans and to reduce the interest rate on the loans.

Attention was also focused on setting up an institution for the regulation of Micro financial lending institutions. The President also highlighted the importance of a programme to develop micro financial skills in order to maintain the quality of life for the people without any problem.

The National Economic Council has also recommended a suitable mechanism for regulating the process, as there is a tendency of digital lending.

Meanwhile, the physical plan of Sri Lanka, updated by the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Province Development, was presented to the President.

This is the first time since the year 2007 that the plan has been updated. This plan was based on many aspects of Sri Lanka’s location, water, natural resources, minerals, environmental zones, economic zones, emergencies, and natural disasters. It has been pointed out that an economic zone connecting Colombo and Trincomalee between the Western and the Eastern coasts as the main economic development zone is identified. The plan for the development of Sri Lanka was also approved by the National Economic Council.

Ministers Patali Champika Ranawaka, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Arjuna Ranatunga, Rishad Badurdeen, Daya Gamage and Secretary General of the National Economic Council Prof. Lalith Samarakoon, Secretary of the Finance Ministry Dr. R.H.S. Samarakoon, Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy and officials were also presented on this discussion.