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(Note: This was originally published in the Daily FT) The Director General of the Department of Samurdhi released a circular on 29 August stating that monthly cash transfers to senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), and kidney patients must be administered through Samurdhi banks from September 2022. In practice, this will occur from October. This disbursement mechanism deviates significantly from that used earlier, where each of these schemes had different collection points. Samurdhi banks were used exclusively as distribution points for the Samurdhi monthly cash transfers. Senior citizens’ allowances, PWD benefits and kidney patients’ allowances were disbursed via post offices, State banks and divisional secretariats, respectively (Table 1).
Given the interest rate spread that is generally high, it did not take much effort to make money from banks in Sri Lanka. But state banks are state banks. You’d expect them and the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to be highest revenue earners for the government. But nothing can keep up with what the TRC gives the Treasury: It would take 2.3 billion rupees coming from Bank of Ceylon, 1.