If SL loses GSP+ privileges, rupee will depreciate to Rs.300 per USD: Wickremesinghe

If Sri Lanka is to lose GSP+ tax reliefs, former Prime Minister and leader of the United National Party (UNP) Ranil Wickremesinghe stated today (13) that the rupee will further depreciate to around Rs. 300 per USD, resulting in the loss of thousands of job.

He highlighted that an issue has arisen in the European Parliament this week regarding the GSP+ tax concession and that Sri Lanka has been warned that this concession will be revoked.

“Our government took action to regain the GSP+ from the European Union to assist in developing the country’s economy in 2017. This facility provides Sri Lanka with permission to export goods to Europe without taxation, which led to a boom in the garment and fishing industries,” he stated

Wickremesinghe also pointed out that many industries which generate foreign exchange are at risk.

“Our tourism industry is at risk at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the sinking of the X-Press Pearl, issues have arisen for our fishing industry as well. The number of people going abroad for employment has decreased. Therefore, our foreign exchange has fallen,” he stated.

In the face of the danger that has arisen, Wickremesinghe urged that the GSP+ must not be politicized. 

“The government should take immediate action to protect the concession. Do not add any more weight to the heavy economic burden that the people are carrying. I urge the government not to destroy the country,” he concluded.