The Bank of Ceylon has suspended overdraft and other facilities to the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation due to non payment of interest and capital on a 175 million rupee loan.
A land in extent of around 80 perches in Colpetty was given as collateral to the bank by the Corporation for the loan during the tenure of Kumar Welgama when he was Minister of Industries.
The loan was being paid on a regular basis until this year. However, the Corporation imported a large stock of cement in the last two months after the expiry date.The turnover dropped as sales nose-dived resulting in the Corporation not being able to service the loan.
The bank has now suspended a 35 million rupee overdraft facility until arrears are paid on the loan.
With no credit available the Corporation has suspended further imports of cement.
The Corporation as of today has 14,000 bags of outdated cement stocked in two warehouses in Amour Street, claimed an employee. Sisira Paranagama, a former Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation said, “The land in Colpetty was the collateral used in order to borrow from the bank during the time of Minister Kumar Welgama to cover the losses in transporting cement to Jaffna. At that time the Corporation sold about 10,000 bags of cement per day. But with the importation of substandard, expired cement during recent times the sales have dropped drastically. With the Corporation unable to maintain the bank account in a satisfactory manner, all facilities have been stopped by the Bank of Ceylon. I believe there is a very big conspiracy behind the recent importation of this substandard cement. The officials in the Corporation are involved”.
Our efforts to contact Minister Dayasritha Tissera under whom this Corporation is at present, were unsuccessful. Deputy Minister Sarath Kumara Gooneratne said, “There is a conspiracy to shut down the Sri Lanka Cement Corporation and Lanka Cement. We will not allow that”.