Ten branches of finance companies are to be set up in the Northern Province which is now experiencing an economic revival after the end of three decades of conflict, and with the opening of A-9 highway.
The Central Bank will grant approval to these finance companies shortly, a senior Central Bank (CB) official said. Sri Lanka's Bartleets Financial Services and Central Investments and Finance Limited (CIFL) opened branches in the former war-torn Jaffna last Friday. The Finance company is also operating a branch office in the peninsula, he said.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the CIFL branch office at Stanley Road in Jaffna, CB Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal said that a Rs.3 billion re-finance scheme to provide small loans called ‘Vaddakin Vasantham’ (Northern Revival) scheme is being implemented by the CB for the benefit of residents of the area. He added that these funds will be channeled through existing banks and finance companies regulated by the CB. A sum of Rs 1 billion has been disbursed among banks in the North to be given as loans among the people.
He noted that people in the former war torn area are keen to start business ventures and this signifies the economic revival in the North. “We expect to disburse the balance of Rs 2 billion in the next seven to six months”, he said.
A new enthusiasm has been created among the region’s farmers and fishermen to produce more, increasing the demand for bank loans as they look for working capital and money to buy fishing nets and boats. Several loans were given recently to buy fishing trawlers and sewing machines.
Two CB regional offices will also be set up in Kilinochchi and Jaffna soon to cater to the needs of the Jaffna population with the increased economic activity, Mr Cabraal told customers and officials of the Bartleet Finance Ltd branch in Jaffna.
Bartleets group chairman Eraj Wijesinghe told the gathering that his company intends to give loans, and help build up assets and businesses of the people in the area so that they can create wealth. Bartleets Jaffna Branch is fully geared to offer a comprehensive range of financial products and services, all under one roof.