Thousands of Sri Lanka banking sector employees held a protest in the capital on Tuesday against the government’s maiden budget for 2016.
More than 10,000 bank employees from state and private banks protested outside the Fort Railway Station, in Colombo’s main business hub, urging the government to review the budget proposals.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in a special statement in parliament, said on Monday that the administration was willing to consider alternatives to the budget proposals that critics say will harm banks and their customers.
Some of the proposals in the budget for 2016, according to local reports, propose to ban commercial banks from engaging in leasing, a way of giving credit to the assetless and allow only non-bank lenders to do it.
“It is not our intention to reduce the revenue of banks,” the prime minister said, stating that the government will not do any act to harm the country’s banks.
The government’s budget has already received a majority in parliament with 159 lawmakers voting in favour and 52 voting against, during the second reading earlier this month. Final vote for the budget will be taken up on Dec. 19. (Xinhua)