Thrice Over

From left: Dr. Fernando Im, Senior Country Economist for Sri Lanka and the Maldives, The World Bank, Hon. Eran Wickramaratne, State Minister, Ministry of Finance and Mass Media, Dr. W A Wijewardana, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Prof. Indralal de Silva, Former (Chair) of Demography, University of Colombo, Prof. Amala de Silva, Department of Economics, University of Colombo at the panel discussion on "Demographic Change in Sri Lanka" moderated by Dr. Ramani Gunatilaka, International Centre for Ethnic Studies.

Destitute Hambantota entreprenuers, who were hit by the tsunami, then battered by the government’s buffer zone rules, are now caught in another vicious trap as banks value their remaining land at rock bottom prices. Destitute Hambantota entreprenuers, who were hit by the tsunami, then battered by the government’s buffer zone rules, are now caught in another vicious trap as banks value their remaining land at rock bottom prices.

“We have been informed that our land in Hambantota is now valued at one tenth of their earlier prices,” secretary of the Hambantota Tsunami Relief Association, M I A Jaya said.

“These lands were worth about 100,000 to 150,000 a perch before the tsunami, but we were told by bank valuers today that they are now only worth only Rs 15,000 to 20,000 a perch.”

As a result some entrepreneurs do not have sufficient collateral to submit when applying for loans to re-start their businesses.

The Central Bank, which re-financed a special, 6% ‘Susahana’ loan scheme for tsunami victims, initially said banks would disburse the funds without collateral.

But commercial banks continued to demand collateral. The first to be hit from this move were victims in the buffer zones, to whom banks