Sri Lankan finance minister blames previous government for “debt trap”
Sri Lanka’s public debt repayments will grow to a record $4 billion in 2019, the finance ministry said on Thursday, blaming “colossal borrowing” by the previous government.
“Sri Lanka is embroiled in a gigantic debt trap,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said in a statement.
The cost of repaying and servicing foreign-held debt will jump more than 32 percent this year to $2.42 billion from 2016’s 1.83 billion, rising to $2.56 billion next year, it said.
“The main reason is that loans obtained by the previous regime for infrastructure development have not brought any return on their investment,” the ministry said in the statement, adding that domestic revenues and export earnings had fallen between 2011 and 2014.
In addition to the official public debt, the ministry said the previous government had obtained loans worth around 2 trillion rupees ($13 billion) via state-owned enterprises without including them on the country’s balance sheet.
The former president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has defended large-scale borrowing, saying it was needed to rebuild infrastructure after a 26-year civil war, investing in things such as ports, railways, highways and power plants, mostly through financed by Chinese loans.
President Maithripala Sirisena, who unseated Rajapaksa in an election two years ago, is in the process of converting the debts of a loss-making $1.5 billion Chinese-built port into equity to reduce the debt burden.
($1 = 150.0500 Sri Lankan rupees)
Yes, like your prime minister and your president keep blaming the crooked Mahinda Rajapaksa’s and his dishonest regime. You came to power promising to rectify these things. You had plenty of time to put this crooks behind bars and make this country a better country. So far I cannot see that,
over the past two years or at least since sirisena outvoted mahinda ravi and his acolytes namely mangala samaraweera and sb dissanayake has been on a witch hunt. during this time ranil orchestrated a paraded the would be villains between welokada the national hospital and then home and brought back again. meanwhile ravi paved the way to rob the central bank which is criminal offence and a criminal investigation ought to have been conducted by central bank intelligence unit as oppose to masquerading a sense of justice .
meanwhile the yahapanaya is not sure as to whether its coming or going beyond talk talk talk meanwhile the whole system was in shambles until they found a scapegoat in weerawansa. while the government is hard pressed to gag weerawansa there were two options open the obvious one being too dirty the other option was corrupt even then they could not find any charges that would stick. and i think he will continue to be remanded until the ags office run out ideas to hold him bak.
so the government did did speculate on a national policy and we are waiting meanwhile the government is trying hard to woo the chinese and the chinese has adopted a policy the sri lans understand …..stop go.
until recently the united nations was involved in peace keeping and human rights and now they looking at the possibiliyu of setting up a paralell government. to promote these idea they are already invading into this domain by setting up hybrid courts, a universal constitution and they will come up with a mock parliament something that ranil is working on.
whil this is going on ravi will continue to rob the central bank
I thought this yaha palanaya had answers to all our problems. Now they are running like head less chickens giving all kind of promises which cannot be establish. Are Sri lankens that stupid believe these politicians.
The money lost in the Bond Scam and the Coal Tender Scam would have been sufficient to pay off MRIA and Hambantota Harbour Capital costs and perhaps, a major portion of the Chinese Financial City and the wonderful megapolis projects.
Ravi, the Presidential Commission will recover lost monies in the Bond Scam.
A similar commission regarding the Coal tender scam is urgently required.
Once the lost monies are recovered and culprits are behind bars, your problems will be solved.