Northern Loan

July 13, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s central bank is giving three billion rupees to several banks to lend to small and micro businesses in agriculture and fisheries and in the war-torn north of the island.

Following the end of fighting with Tamil Tiger separatists in May, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu have been largely depopulated and about 300,000 people are housed in camps while authorities search for Tamil Tiger separatists among them.

A moderate Tamil party, the Tamil United Liberation Front has asked the government to allow people to leave the camps and return to their homes.

The government has promised India and the international community that most of the refugees will be re-settled within six months.

The Central Bank said the Northern Province had forests, wetlands, lagoons, bays and places of tourist attraction as well as agricultural land which provide a base for economic development.

The area had produced 10 percent of the country’s rice even during the war, 40 percent of red onions, 10 percent of chillies, 14 percent of green gram and 25 percent of ground nut.

About 129,000 fishermen, representing 20 percent of the total fishermen of the country, live in 219 fishing