Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
Bandula G on interest rates
Commenting on a recent decision to reduce interest rates of senior citizens’ fixed deposits, Minister Bandula Gunawardane had said no country had developed with two-digit interest rates for lending.
Does he think by reducing interest rates alone we too would become a developed country while he and many like him are ruining the economy in every possible way. As far as I remember, the 2005 Rajapaksa government started reducing interest rates and up to now it has gone down by more than 10 per cent ( 20 per cent to 8 per cent). But Sri Lanka is still a developing country which has seen only a deterioration of the state in everyday life of the common man. State and private banks do regularly report ‘nonperforming loans’ as borrowers misuse the concessions granted to them. Decisionmakers from the President downwards to the banker have completely ignored the depositor whose money is used for lending and they are the ones who get penalised for the faults or failures of the lenders and borrowers. With COVID- 19, the Government considered the plight of the masses who lost their wage- earning avenues and of businessmen who faced difficulties. They conveniently forget the millions of senior citizens retired after 30- 40 years’ service who depend on the monthly interest rates they get from their fixed deposits. This haphazard reduction of interest rates drove many senior citizens to fraudsters like ‘Sakvithi’ and ‘Danduwam Mudalali’ for survival and that ultimately led some persons to commit suicide!