Financial institutions

Tourism associations must discuss directly with financial institutions for the extension of the moratorium – Latest News

As the moratorium extended to the hard-hit tourism sector ended yesterday, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has asked trade associations to engage in one-on-one discussions with financial institutions for a possible extension of the moratorium .

The SLTDA, in a notice to all trade associations, said it would write to the respective banks on behalf of those who had requested intervention as a follow-up measure. The Ministry of Tourism will take the issues to Cabinet to seek further intervention, he said.

The moratorium was proposed to the tourism sector after the 2019 Easter Sunday attack for a period of six months, which was later extended three times due to difficulties arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following a proposal by the Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando, at the request of professional associations,

Cabinet approval was given earlier this month to extend the moratorium. However, the decision has not yet been implemented. Heads of tourism and trade associations in Sri Lanka have met with the Governor of the Central Bank to expedite the extension. However, the Governor had signaled his inability to intervene and order financial institutions to extend the moratorium.

The Governor was of the view that this was a matter to be decided by the respective financial institutions and felt that the Central Bank would refrain from directly intervening or influencing the individual decisions of banks and financial companies, pointed out the SLTDA in its review.

A meeting was then held with 39 banks and finance companies, chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Lands, which did not bring the expected result for the struggling sector. The SLTDA shared that all financial institutions strongly believe that they cannot agree to an extension of the moratorium as requested.