The opposition says it is evident that Sri Lanka is heading towards a major financial crisis when evaluating the 2020 Annual Report of the Central Bank.
Speaking in Parliament today, proposing the debate on the 2020 Annual Report of the Central Bank, Leader of the National People’s Power Anura Kumara Dissanayake said a broad discussion must be held pertaining to the data and matters highlighted by the Central Bank on the country’s economy.
MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the CBSL has indicated several concerns including an increase in state debt and the rise in inflation, the reduction of foreign reserves, state income, production and issues surrounding people’s spending power and food security.
He said these are serious concerns that require a broad discussion.
MP Dissanayake noted the government should take action against such recommendations instead of behaving irresponsibly.
He said while the dollars and the foreign reserves are reducing, several ministers have gone to attend the Olympic Games.
MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the government cannot justify such moves and noted that it is setting a wrong example to the country.
He said the government should explain the real situation to the country.
The NPP Leader said unless the public and private sectors, the general public and the government make sacrifices and initiate a national programme, the country will face serious consequences.
Seconding the debate, Parliamentarian Harsh De Silva said curtailing or imposing ban on imports is not the solution for the economic issues faced by the country.
MP Harsh De Silva said the government should not assume that the only solution for the current crisis is to ban all imports.
He said several countries had attempted similar measures including Sri Lanka in the 1960s but that had led to more issues.
MP De Silva noted that banning imports will lead to more unemployment, lack of essential commodities in the country in addition to multiple other issues to industries which require raw materials.
He said the country cannot progress through traditional thinking and therefore urged those in the government to listen to the advice of experts.
In response, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabral said the opposition has not provided any solutions to current issues but has been hurling allegation at the government.
State Minister Cabral said the opposition wanted the government to default on country’s debt payments.
He said despite opposition making claims from 2020 that the government will default on its debts, the present administration has honoured its loan payments.
Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on the 2020 Central Bank Annual Report, State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabral said the government is taking all efforts to strengthen the economy and claimed that they are expecting a 5% economic growth this year.
He added that the government is expecting a bigger GDP growth in 2021. State Minister Ajith Nivard Cabral said therefore the public should not have any undue fear over a financial crisis.
Speaking during today’s debate Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena claimed the previous government handed over the country to the present administration with a destitute economy.
The Minister said then President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over a flourishing country with a thriving economy and no wars to the Good Governance government.
He said they had to face a global pandemic when the present administration took over the governing of the country.
The Minister said the government was successful in maintaining the economy with many challenges which caused the envy of the opposition.
Minister Abeygunawardena claimed the government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the newly appointed Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa who is fond of challenges will develop the country’s economy and defeat the COVID pandemic as they save the country from a civil war.
Parliamentarian Kabir Hashim says the sale of the country’s national resources including lands, to foreign countries had become the government’s economic policy, which has resulted in a foreign exchange crisis.
Speaking during the Parliamentary debate on the 2020 Central Bank Annual Report MP Hashim said the government gave the Port City to China and sold three acres near the Galle Face green to China as soon as they came into power.
He said the government also provided the Western Terminal of the Colombo Port to India, attempted to privatise the country’s Petroleum sector and attempted to handover the Sri Lanka Air Force Headquarters to the Qatar government. The Parliamentarian said the present administration obtained a loan of USD 708 million from Bangladesh and the International Monetary Fund at an interest rate of 0.1 percent. He added the government is providing USD 200 million to the public at an interest rate of 10 percent.
MP Hashim charged the government of further burdening the public with irresponsible economic policies.
He said the present administration cannot continuously deceive the public through promises.