Under RW’s watch economy has further deteriorated – Prof. Peiris
Posted on June 20th, 2024

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

Prof. G. L. Peiris

…interest payments alone increased by USD 2.8 bn; foreign debt USD 100 bn

Declaring that the economy had further deteriorated under President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s watch since July 2022, dissident SLPP parliamentarian Prof. G. L. Peiris said that the government was working overtime to depict a much improved situation.

Addressing the media at the weekly media briefing held by the Jathika Nidahas Sabhawa at Nawala, the former External Affairs Minister having compared the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and national debt as at April 2022 when Sri Lanka declared bankruptcy and current figures pointed out the further deterioration of the economy.

Lawmaker Peiris stressed that the foreign debt has increased to USD 100 bn from USD 82 bn in April 2022.

Referring to the latest IMF report that dealt with Sri Lanka, the former Minister emphasised that the IMF assessment of the economy here is contrary to the government propaganda. Prof. Peiris explained how the interest payments had increased by USD 2.8 bn during this period whereas the government propaganda chiefs continued to propagate lies claiming the contrary.

The ground reality is that instability increased and the country absolutely lacked the wherewithal to start paying back its debt and the accompanying interest, MP Peiris said.

Commenting on ISB (international sovereign bonds) amounting to USD 12 bn, Prof. Peiris said that Sri Lanka couldn’t reach consensus on an agreement favourable to the country and the situation remained the same. The recent talks held in London failed to resolve the issues at hand with regard to ISBs, Prof. Peiris said, drawing the public attention to USD 6.2 bn and USD 4.3 bn owed to the ADB and the World Bank, respectively.

Responding to The Island query, Prof. Peiris said that the ISB amounting to USD 12 bn had been included in USD 100 bn foreign debt.

The ex-Minister said that the country seemed somewhat comfortable at the moment as the repayment of debt hadn’t been resumed. Declaring that the crisis couldn’t be addressed through propaganda, the internationally reputed law academic said that the domestic debt, too, increased by 9% in the first quarter from USD 52.6 bn to USD 57.2 bn.

Commenting on the continuing controversy over the possibility of the Presidential Poll being put off by at least one year, Prof. Peiris said that, too,was part of their propaganda project.

The UNP leader Wickremesinghe has been elected by Parliament to complete the remainder of ousted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s five-year term.

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