Sri Lanka’s bank employees protest budget proposals

Colombo, Dec 15 (IANS) Thousands of employees from Sri Lanka’s banking sector held a demonstration on Tuesday against the government’s maiden budget for 2016.

Over 10,000 employees from state and private sector banks protested in Colombo’s business hub, urging the government to review its budget proposals, Xinhua reported.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said the administration is 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, seek to ban commercial banks from engaging in leasing, a way of giving credit to the asset-less, and to allow only non-bank lenders to do it.

“It is not our intention to reduce the revenue of banks,” the prime minister said.

The government’s budget has already received a majority support in parliament with 159 lawmakers voting in favour and 52 against during the second reading earlier this month. Final vote for the budget will be taken up on December 19.

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