Sri Lankan leader says $58 billion foreign debt under previous govt unaccounted for
Sri Lanka’s president said on Friday that more than $58 billion, or 90 percent, of foreign loans borrowed by the previous government was unaccounted for in Finance Ministry records.
However, ministry officials the last government said President Maithripala Sirisena’s numbers were false.
The central bank’s latest records show Sri Lanka’s total outstanding debt was 10.3 trillion rupees as of the end of September last year.
Sirisena, who is struggling to deliver his 2015 election promise of eliminating corruption, also said a large sum of funds under the previous government that should have been deposited with the treasury have gone to private companies. This was done in a systematic manner to avoid disclosure, he said.
His administration is facing a debt crisis and struggling to face an expensive loan repayment cycle started this year. It must repay an estimated 1.97 trillion rupees ($12.85 billion) in 2018 – a record high – including $2.9 billion of foreign loans, and a total of $5.36 billion in interest.
“President Maithripala Sirisena said of the 10 trillion rupees loans taken by the previous government from abroad, only about 1 trillion rupees could be accounted for in the assets and huge sum of money could not be accounted for in the documents in the finance ministry,” his office said in a statement.
Sirisena’s office did not respond when asked if the numbers were correct. However, it confirmed that the president stated the numbers. He made the comments to a group of local editors.
The president also criticised his own coalition government, saying some of the sales of state properties during the last three years were done without informing the cabinet.
Two officials at the Finance Ministry who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Sirisena’s statement on the foreign loan was wrong.
Under the previous government from 2004-2015 led by Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka borrowed 5.17 trillion rupees of total loans including 2.16 trillion rupees ($14.06 billion) of foreign loan.
Ajith Nivard Cabraal, central bank governor between 2006 and 2015 and a close ally of former leader Rajapaksa, said the president may have made “this irresponsible statement to sling mud at the previous regime”.
“Sri Lanka has diligently and faithfully recorded all foreign borrowings in accordance with our laws and regulations as well the terms of issue, during the time of the previous government,” Cabraal said.
(Source: Reuters – By Shihar Aneez)
Dear Mr President,
It took you 3 years to discover this?
Please Mr P, publish the facts for all to see.
Provide a list of loans and a list of private companies involved in the transfers.
Mr P, please address the credibility issue prior the forthcoming ballot.
Also Mr P, wish to remind you that you were a Senior Member of the Blue Regime.
Ms. Piyungi Almeida, Yes, you have point here. H.E Siresena was part & Parcel of MR Blue regime till Nov. 2014. All these guys who formed Yaha Palanaya (Good Governance) government came together to Defeat Mahinda Rajapakes. They had nice words such a “Yaha Paalanaya’, ‘Jathika Sanhindiyawa’ but nothing else. They also had strong ‘manthra’…Thajudeen, Eknaligoda….After coming to power what next? Have they punished the culprits? They all got lost in the bond-scam I guess.
$58 billion, foreign loans. You had a good time buying luxury cars and expensive holidays. Now is pay back time. So sell the infrastructure of the country to pay these loans. You want get anything for nothing. May I remind of the cloth ques and food ques of 1970. How did a starving, poor wounded country afford these all of a sudden. Don’t worry you will be going back to that ere very soon which ever the goverment elected.
well said Piyungi
Yes I agree with Piyungi. Also I don’t understand how can such large debts be unaccounted for. Some one should know what happened to these monies. If it is not accounted for it can not be a debt.Another question that I have to ask is what was My3 doing by MRs side all those years when MR was doing all these things he is supposed to have done. Why did MY3 look the other way or was he blind.
sirirsena you ought to know for you were a party to the 53 billion that you speak of. not only that you ought to know where these billions came from and what for. Your reporting is ambiguous for for convenience you keep switching dollars into rupees and then rupees into dollars maybe sirisena or you want to pretend to be smart to be talking of trillions not so much for convenience since crore in or lecxicon is beyond comprehension.
I heard sirisena in one of his mammoth rallies claimed that over the last three the UNP systematically chanelled billions of dollars to his supporters if true reflects his incompetence if false then he is a blatant liar in either case he is not fit to hold office
Thank You Guys for all the appreciation.
What’s going on is gutter politics.
The leaders assume that we are brainless imbeciles, the Walking Dead, who have no powers of comprehension.
The Lilly-White leader was also crowing about how the Cabinet has been dilly-dallying on the National Audit Act for 3 years.
Has he forgotten that he is the Head of the Cabinet and fully responsible for its performance?