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Govt disburses Rs. 13.36 billion among families affected by the crisis

In a desperate gesture at a time where the public protests are mounting against the Government, the present administration is set to provide Rs. 13.36 billion special three-month cash allowance to 3.34 million families affected by the current economic crisis.

The support scheme, funded by the World Bank, will provide an increase for the allowances for low-income families identified under Samurdhi, Elderly, Kidney and Disabilities from May to July 2022.

Elders , disabled and samurdhi beneficiaries will get an increase of Rs 200O to Rs 3000 for their monthly allowances under the World bank aided relief programme , Minister Shehan Semasinghe disclosed.

The go-ahead of the Cabinet of Ministers has been given to provide a special cash allowance for a period of three months to identified low-income families affected by the ongoing economic crisis.Relevant proposal was tabled by the Minister of Finance and Minister of Samurdhi.

As the low-income families entitled to Samurdhi, Elderly, Kidney and Disability allowances have been severely affected by the current economic crisis in the country, the government has identified the need for immediate relief to those families and their families on the waiting list.

Contingent Emergency Response Components in projects funded by the World Bank Group will provide the necessary funding for this, the Department of Government Information said in a statement.

The government has identified the need for immediate relief to these affected families and those others on the waiting list,” Semasinghe said in a statement.

As per the statement, amounts ranging between Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,500 under various categories like elders’ allowances, kidney patients allowances and disability allowances will be disbursed to low income families.

The world bank is facilitating financial and technical assistance to Sri Lanka the cash transfer will be done only through bank accounts. Any eligible person who doesn’t have an account will be informed to open one immediately by government officials concerned, the minister said in a tweet.

Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said that the World Bank has agreed to provide Sri Lanka with US$ 600 million in financial assistance to help meet payment requirements for essential imports.

The Government will use over US$ 300 million out of the US$ 600 million due from the World Bank to provide direct financial assistance for low-income families, Weerasinghe added.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office has announced that China will grant 300 million Yuan to Sri Lanka to purchase medicine, food, fuel and other essentials.

The move comes after Rajapaksa’s telephonic conversation with Chinese premier Li Keqiang earlier last month.

Debt-ridden Sri Lanka’s overall inflation surged to nearly 30 per cent in April from 18.7 per cent recorded in March, according to the official figures, as the island nation grapples with its worst economic crisis in decades.

The crisis is caused in part by a lack of foreign currency, which has meant that the country cannot afford to pay for imports of staple foods and fuel, leading to acute shortages and very high prices.

Months of lengthy blackouts and acute shortages of food, fuel and pharmaceuticals have triggered widespread protests calling for the government’s resignation.

According to the data published by the government’s Census and Statistics Office, the overall inflation hit 29.8 per cent in April from 18.7 per cent recorded in March.

The food inflation increased from 30.21 per cent in March to 46.6 per cent in April. Most food items have recorded price increases.

Sri Lanka needs at least US$ 4 billion to tide over its mounting economic woes, and talks with international institutions such as the World Bank as well as countries like China and Japan for financial assistance have been going on.

India has agreed to extend an additional US$ 500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel.India has already agreed to defer US$ 1.5 billion in import payments that Sri Lanka needs to make to the Asian Clearing Union.

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