Ajith Nivard Cabraal refutes New York Times report
Posted on June 28th, 2018

ARTHUR WAMANAN Courtesy Ceylon Today

Former Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal has refuted claims made in a recently published article in the New York Times which had stated that Sri Lanka was placed in a debt trap by China due to the loans obtained for various development projects.

The New York Times (NYT) in a recently published article claimed that Sri Lanka was entrapped by China due to various loans obtained by the former during the leadership of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. It also alleged that China had funded for the campaign of Rajapaksa for the 2015 presidential elections.

Speaking to Ceylon Today, Cabraal pointed out that the main thrust of the story that was published in the NYT was to show that Sri Lanka was forced surrender some of the assets to China due to the debt trap it had been placed.

Cabraal said that Sri Lanka had been used in the article to target China, which has evolved as a threat to the United States in the global arena.

I can understand why the US is saying it. I think they (US) want to show that China is going around the world and are trying to take over various countries, which the West used to do in the past by attacking them,” he said.

we don’t want to show China in a great light. But Sri Lanka never got into a debt trap,” he added.

He clarified that Sri Lanka was never in a debt trap under former president Rajapaksa, and added that the country was managing its debts and resources very well.

Cabraal also claimed that the writer of the article, Maria Abi-Habib had contacted him to obtain comments and had interviewed him regarding her article.

He however said that none of his views on the said topic was published. He pointed out that he was quoted on an aspect which had the least relevance to the main thrust of the article.

In my interview I pointed out several facts, including that Sri Lanka had brought down its debt to GDP down to as much as 71% by the time Rajapaksa finished his term. There were improvements in the debt situation each year. It was recognized by the locals, foreign investors, and bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We were clearly on a debt consolidation path,” he said.

He also explained that it was wrong to claim that Sri Lanka was trapped solely because of loans provided by China.

Sri Lanka has borrowed from the US more than China. These loans are in the form of International Sovereign Bonds, Treasury Bonds, and Treasury bills which have had investors from the US and the West. So if at all Sri Lanka was going to get into trouble, it was not because of the Chinese debt alone, but because of all the debt,” he pointed out.

Speaking on the claim that China funded Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign, Cabraal said that they were mere allegations and were not proven. Why focus on that when there is proof that the UNP campaigns were funded by those involved in the Treasury Bond scam?” he questioned.

Cabraal claimed that the total foreign debt at the time when Rajapaksa stepped down was around USD 26 billion out of which China’s portion was approximately USD 4 to 5 billion.

He also pointed out that it was the current government which gave the port on lease to China and not Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa never wanted to sell or lease the port to any country. If that was what China wanted, why would it bribe the former president by funding his campaign?” he said.

3 Responses to “Ajith Nivard Cabraal refutes New York Times report”

  1. Christie Says:

    NYT, CNN etc. are fake news according to US President Donald Trump.

  2. aloy Says:

    Whether it is the former government or current government that blundered the effect is the same. Sinhalese are going to lose a big chunk of the country to Chinese on the pretext of industries. What is the use of industries at the expense of the country. Besides these industries will not be relevant within a short period of time. This is planned by our enemies. What they could not get by a war they are going to get by other means. It will be same as during the British, Dutch or Portuguese times. Minorities will ride on the Chinese back and Sinhalas will be the slaves. It will be much worse than before as Chinese are bigger than all of these western countries put together in numbers even now. They have enough people to flood the country. It has already happened in Colombo. They were our friends, but now it seems that help was for a different purpose.
    If we want to avert this situation it should be nipped it in the bud. I appeal to Mahanayakas, the guardian of this country, to put a stop to this immediately by pressuring the president to cancel this agreement either by paying back the full amount of 1 billion dollars back or by some other means. We do not want to increase the reserves by selling the country. I am sure if the situation is explained to the citizen they will bear any hardships that may come due to the settlement of the money already paid. If it is not possible some patriots should file a case in the supreme court to annul the agreement making use of the recent revelations. We should not allow the governments that come to power for a short time to sell the birth rights of the people and deprive their country to them.

  3. aloy Says:

    Opposition says 50% of the loan amount has already been paid and GOSL has not disputed that claim. They now say ships have already started coming. There are millions of us toiling in foreign lands and sending money to the country. Even the diaspora finding various ways to bring in money and buy assets in Colombo. Most of Sri lankans who have migrated also investing money here to buy apartments in high rises that are springing up like mushrooms in Colombo and suburbs as they still consider SL as their home. Then what is the problem of money?. And is it only the Chinese who are capable of bringing in ships to Hambanthota. How do we know what plans MR had for his backyard?.

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