Special Financial Assistance Package to be announced on Monday

Special Financial Assistance Package to be announced on Monday

A special Financial Assistance Package will be rolled out on Monday for the small and medium scale entrepreneurs and the tourism sector to recover from the economic impact of the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Finance State Minister Eran Wickramaratne posted on his Twitter account that the measures to help the revival of the tourism sector would be implemented from next week.

“Our financial markets have remained resilient. Measures are in place to recover from the impact on tourism sector.

The Finance Ministry and the Central Bank will continue working towards mitigating the situation,” Wickramaratne said.

The State Minister held a meeting with Heads of all local and foreign banks on Thursday to discuss the economic implications of the current situation and the way forward. The meeting was also attended by Central Bank Governor Dr.Indrajith Coomaraswamy and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.

The State Minister conducted another meeting with those involved in the tourism industry yesterday to finalize financial support program for the revival of the tourism sector.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also met those involved in the tourism industry on Tuesday.

The State Minister said the proposals made at the above meetings would be finalised over the weekend. Cabinet this week also appointed a five member ministerial committee chaired by Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amarathunga to study the post-Easter Sunday Attacks situation and present their recommendations to upgrade the tourism sector.

The State Minister also urged the media and the public to self-regulate, share and consume information responsibly.

“In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks, there has been a rise in fake news. Our government has ensured freedom of press and freedom of speech, and we do not want to interfere with it, but if it affects the national security we will not hesitate to take action. The people must exercise freedom of speech without compromising national security” he said.

“We must maintain communal harmony at all costs and not allow extremism in any form to raise its head. In particular, the Muslim community fought in the civil war and we had members of that community in the high ranks of our Intelligence Service right through. We mustn’t give in to the volatility and isolate communities. We should not let terrorists divide our nation or communities.

We need to look at human rights but what is essential at this time is maintaining national security and the government will do so,” he added.

He also refuted claims that the Intelligence Service had been weakened. “There are only four intelligence officers in custody. The attempts to claim that we discredited the whole intelligence service are emphatically baseless. We have over 1,000 intelligence officers working tirelessly in nine units to mitigate the threat and restore security. They are doing a tremendous job at this time. Their reputation must be upheld,” he said.

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