UNP prescribes spending dollars received from IMF to fight COVID

Wajira Abeywardena

UNP Chairman and former Minister Wajira Abeywardena yesterday called on the Government to spend US Dollars 720 million being granted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) solely on controlling Coronavirus and said that the Government should join a programme with the IMF and obtain money to build the economy as well.

Addressing Galle District UNP activists, via zoom technology, Abeywardena said that  the World Health Organization (WHO) had said that a committee of specialists should be appointed to control the Coronavirus. He said apart from Sri Lanka every other country had fulfilled that request.

“The Government does not have money as the VAT was reduced. It has not made any statement regarding the steps that should be taken in connection with schoolchildren not receiving education for two years. If we can vaccinate those under 12, children will be protected within schools,” he said.

The UNP Chairman said that the IMF funds should be spent to arrest the rapid spread of COVID and measures needed to be taken to prevent people being impacted by COVID-19.

The epidemiology unit had said that there had been late entries, so they would have to revise those numbers by about four thousand (4,000), he said, adding that it meant that the statistics were also being questioned.

“What we should be doing at the moment is to deal with those who are already infected, then if we stop the rapid spread then we can reduce the number of those infected and control it,” he added.

The Government declared a lockdown for that purpose. It received everyone’s support, “but according to the medical advice this is not a sufficient period. Another week to two weeks are required”, Abeywardena said.

“The other side of it is the economic damage that can be caused by a lockdown, but today we have reached a point where the damage caused by a lockdown is far less than the damage caused by not having a lockdown. The remedy for this is to immediately go to the IMF to get assistance. Already we have received US $720 million from the IMF for our COVID control campaign,” he said.

(Source: The Island – By Piyasena Dissanayake)