Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Statement by former PM Wickremesinghe regarding the state of the economy and upcoming debt repayment

Statement made by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the state of the economy and upcoming debt repayment

The economy is still deteriorating. The dollar deficit has not been resolved. The rupee deficit has not been resolved yet. Today the real value of the rupee is actually Rs. 250 to the dollar. Even more so. This way it can go up to Rs. 275. If we do not stop there, it will reach Rs. 300 before the end of the year.

The middle class is facing hardship, many are being pushed down the economic ladder. down and lives hard. The agriculture sector has been destroyed. Small and big businessmen are unable to procure goods to do their work. This is the problem faced by the citizens. By June and July we will have to repay the foreign loans again. We have a total of US $6 billion to repay this year. We have not yet discussed the situation with the IMF.

So we have to find the money to repay the loans in June and July. New problems are continuing to arise and this is why the banking system has been abandoned.

So there are a number of issues. Under Article 4 of the IMF’s Constitution, each member state is required to discuss and report on its economic situation once a year. The IMF team arrived in Sri Lanka last December. We know that the report will be presented next week.

As soon as the Government receives that report they have to present it to Parliament. Once it is presented it to Parliament we must hold a debate on it. The proposals put forth in the report must be discussed. From there we will see if we can come to a consensus on this and the basic principles. It is our duty.

Our country has only one national resource. That national resource is the younger generation (Millennials and GEN-Zs). We need to think about that group. They want to create a future, but they have lost faith. The government has broken its trust in Parliament.

We have to have a plan for the future. We also need a short-term plan, as well as a medium to long term plans are needed to take this forward. We need to have an economic framework that we agree on which will help implement these plans.

It is our duty to take 10,15,20 years. We can’t escape that. If we run away, the youth of this country will curse us. “You have ruined the future of the country and you have ruined our future.” So we have to fulfil that responsibility handed to us by the public.

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