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SJB questions Govt. on ‘bankruptcy status’

SJB questions Govt. on ‘bankruptcy status’

26 Jun 2024 | BY Sumudu Chamara

  • Notes inability to pay debt, inadequate foreign reserves

If Sri Lanka has truly been saved from its bankrupt status, the people should be able to benefit from it, and in a context where no such relief is experienced in real life, the Government’s alleged claim that the country is no longer a bankrupt nation is a seriously questionable one, the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) opined.

The Party’s National Organiser and Parliamentarian Tissa Attanayake made these remarks yesterday (25) at a press briefing, while speaking about the recent advertisements about a ‘good news’ which the Government is to announce. Alleging that this so-called good news is Sri Lanka no longer being identified as a bankrupt nation, which he said President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is slated to announce, Attanayake questioned on what grounds can the country be identified as such.

He questioned what steps the Government has taken in light of this new situation if the country has been removed from the bankruptcy status: “Sri Lanka has taken a lot of loans from various foreign countries. Is the Government now able to repay that debt? No. Do we have adequate foreign reserves to repay that money? That is also not true. Do we now have the freedom to utilise foreign reserves as we wish? No, there are limitations.”

Claiming that what has actually happened is the complete opposite, Attanayake quoted Central Bank reports that the country’s debt burden has increased by around $ 15 billion, from $ 52 billion to $ 67 billion, after the present Government came to power. 

Pointing out that the debt restructuring process has not been completed yet and that certain essential agreements are yet to be reached, he opined that in such a context, it is erroneous to say that the country is no longer bankrupt. In addition, he said that despite the reality that the country’s foreign reserves will decline once the repayment of debt is commenced and import restrictions are lifted, the Government is yet to have a proper system to manage this situation.

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