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Central Bank treading a thin line on continuation of moratoriums

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By Sanath Nanayakkare

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka is not in a position to put pressure on commercial banks to offer moratoriums continuously as there was another side to the loan repayment saga, the bank’s Deputy Governor Ms.Yvette Fernando said yesterday.

“I appeal to the borrowers who can pay, to pay their loans for their own best interests. And those whose income generation has been truly affected due to the ongoing pandemic would hear an announcement from the Central Bank in the coming weeks for a different arrangement, Fernando told the media at an online forum subsequent to the CBSL Monetary Board’s monthly monetary policy review meet.

The Deputy Governor added: “I think we have been in moratoriums for about one year. We need to always remember that moratoriums have also the other side of it. When it comes to financial institutions, they have a continuous obligation to make payments to their depositors. So even as the Monetary Board and the Central Bank, we are not in a position to tell the banks continuously to continue these moratoriums. However, considering the situation, Tourism and Passenger Transport sectors are still in moratoriums with some adjustments until September. But based on the more recent situation we are going through – we have already started discussions with the banks and the Finance House Association to see how best or what kind of facilitation we can give these borrowers because we understand that there can be payment delays because of the culture of certain businesses and as a result their income generating avenues have been disturbed.

“And by all means, any bank will definitely be in a favourable way because banks also want their investments or the loans to be paid on time or avoid complete defaults. The discussions we have had with the banks in this regard have been favorable, but we are not at this point looking at a complete moratorium because I think we cannot do this when we carefully consider the point of view of the banks and finance companies also. We have to understand the fact that these banking and non-banking sector companies are operating at different levels and so they don’t have the same capacity to go through these kinds of moratoriums continuously. So we have to address that.

‘These discussions are ongoing and most probably very soon we will be able to announce something that will help the really affected borrowers also. I kindly would like to say that anybody who can pay or in a position to pay their loans should continue to do so because it is in their best interests to do so. Your delaying the payment of a loan means; there’s going to be some additions to it, so it’s in your best interests to pay while you can. But for those who are really affected, we are in the process of looking at it and we will make some announcement.

‘But broadly speaking, we are taking the position that it is the bank and the borrower who could practically agree on a suitable arrangement. One year into moratoriums, the financial institutions also know about the nature of their customers and what kind of disturbance they encountered on the ground. With that knowledge, we are looking to issue instructions to the banks in this regard.’

 

 



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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman

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Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand

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At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night

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President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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