The Bank of Ceylon (BOC), continuing its heavy focus on entrepreneurial and economic development island-wide, has led the way in the Central Bank (CB)’s ‘Saubagya COVID-19 Working Capital Loan Scheme, by single handedly handling Rs. 42.8 billion of the total of Rs.150 billion allocated to all banks by the CB.

A sum of Rs. 34.6 billion has already been fully disbursed by the bank, which is almost 83 percent of the total number of loans BOC has successfully registered with the CB, the BOC said in a media release.

The programme officially termed the ‘Saubagya COVID-19 Renaissance Facility’ was launched by the CB to revive businesses adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, so as to mitigate the negative effects on living conditions countrywide and the national economy.

Introduced in three phases, the 4 percent interest working capital loans offered through the programme have helped businesses continue operations and support their employees, while contributing to the country’s economic revival.

The working capital loans offered have allowed businesses of all sizes and across all industries, to continue operations unimpeded. A sizable 58 percent of the loans disbursed by the BOC as part of the programme have been in the SME Service sector, with a further 33 per cent in the agriculture sector.

This highlights the critical nature of the ‘Saubagya Working Capital Loan Scheme’ to small and rural enterprises island-wide and in the revival of key sectors of the national economy, the BOC said.

For the BOC, this represents a continuation of its renewed focus on Micro and SME development island-wide plus financial literacy and awareness in rural areas, through its industry-reputed ‘Divi Udana’ development loan scheme.

Running parallel to the CB’s ‘Saubagya COVID-19 Working Capital Loan’ scheme, the BOC’s ‘Divi Udana’ scheme continues to support the government’s social and economic development goals, with emphasis on sectors that have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A considerable number of loans has been granted under the ‘Divi Udana’ development programme so far, across sectors including agriculture and trading as well as service-oriented areas such as IT.