BUREAU OF THE COMMISSIONER GENERAL OF REHABILITATION
"MINISTRY OF PRISON REFORMS,REHABILITATION, RESETTLEMENT AND HINDU RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS"

Former combatants get Rs. 1mn to rebuild lives courtesy Central Bank

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This picture was taken last year of a young couple after their marriage ceremony. Both were former LTTE cadres who received state sponsorship to perform their marriage rites and embark on their new lives together. (File photo)

Former LTTE combatants received loans amounting to Rs. 1 billion yesterday (23) through a special scheme initiated by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka. Around 45 former LTTE cadres in Batticaloa received loans ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 50,000 through state-owned banking giant Bank of Ceylon (BOC) to commence their livelihood.

Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal addressing a gathering at a ceremony to mark the disbursement of Rs. 1 million in loans told former combatants to rebuild their lives through these loans. \"I urge you to make use of this loan-schemes to rebuild your lives,\" he told them.

The loans carry an interest cost of between 8 to 12 percent and would help the former combatants start up ventures in electronics and wiring, motor mechanics, mobile phone repairs and agriculture.

Speaking to journalists, Cabraal said the Central Bank was able to facilitate the disbursement of loans amounting to around Rs. 2.5 billion in 2010. Around 21,000 loans were granted in the North and 20,000 in the East.

Meanwhile, Union Bank opened a branch in Batticaloa yesterday taking its network up to 23.

The once war-torn Eastern province now has a total of 64 service points including 32 branches of various banks.

Meanwhile, an official for BOC said it was prepared to provide individuals with loans up to Rs. 500,000 if they were backed by viable business plans.

Sri Lanka ended a bloody thirty-year old conflict in May 2009 with the defeat of the LTTE. Later that year, Cabraal visited Jaffna where he met representatives of banks and urged them to generate more lending to stimulate the war-torn economies of the North and East. He asked them to use deposits mobilised in the region exclusively to grant loans within the region itself, and not outside especially Colombo. He also urged banks to give their regional managers a degree of autonomy in approving loans so that processes could be expedited.

(Courtesy –Island)