Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa today questioned the government over the interest rates being paid for the past two years on loan sums in comparison to the interest rates in 2019.
MP Sajith Premadasa questioned the loss of income owing to the tax concessions granted by the current government for businessmen and citizens incurring higher income levels.
MP Premadasa questioned the government over the losses incurred owing to the direct, indirect, and Value Added Tax concessions.
The MP also questioned if any other country obtains loans at such high-interest rates unlike in Sri Lanka.
MP Premadasa inquired further into the remaining foreign reserves as of April this year.
He also questioned the terms of swap loans obtained for 10 billion Yuan and the reasons for loan eligibility
Responding to Opposition Leader, Minister of Finance Ali Sabry said Sri Lanka has become the nation to pay the highest government interest rates as opposed to state income as of 2020.
The Minister said according to 2020 International Monetary Fund data, Sri Lanka had ranked first on the ratings with a score of 71.7 while Pakistan was rank second with a score of 46.7.
Minister Sabry said Sri Lanka’s net reserves as of 30th April 2022 were USD 1.9 billion.
He said the reserves consisted of USD 1 billion and 673 million in foreign reserves, USD 65.5 million in IMF reserves, USD 117 million in Special Drawing Rights, USD 29.8 million in Gold, while other reserves were at USD 21 million.
The Finance Minister said the existing reserves are being utilized for other expenses in addition to funding imports.
Minister Sabry said Sri Lanka has thus far been able to facilitate imports according to the existing reserves.
The Opposition Leader further questioned if the balance of the USD 1 billion credit facility from India to purchase medicines and other essentials were utilised to import steel and other raw materials worth USD 750 million.
MP Premadasa questioned the officials behind the imports of raw materials and the group that benefitted through the misappropriation of funds.
The MP inquired into the efficiency of industries due to power cuts and the impact the power cuts have had on the economy.
MP Premadasa questioned if the significant price hikes have led to CEYPETCO incurring profits and if prices will be increased further in order to gain profits.
Minister Ali Sabry claimed the allegations levelled by the Opposition Leader are completely baseless.
He said the Ministry of Finance issued a statement and presented facts pertaining to the incident.
The Minister claimed according to the Ministry’s statement the government never had plans of utilising USD 750 million for purchasing steel.
The Minister claimed only USD 40 million was used for purchasing steel as opposed to the initial estimate of USD 500 for various construction materials requested for export.