Sri Lanka’s total debt burden Rs. 21.6 trillion - PM | Daily News

Sri Lanka’s total debt burden Rs. 21.6 trillion - PM

economy is shrinking:
Road Map to achieve some growth in 2026:

Sri Lanka’s total debt burden increased to Rs. 21.6 trillion by March 2022, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

“Our economy is currently shrinking. We are trying to reverse it. According to Central Bank statistics, our current economic growth rate is between negative four and negative five. According to IMF statistics, it is between negative six and negative seven. This is a serious situation. If we make a determined journey along this road map, we can achieve an economic growth rate of negative one by the end of 2023.

By 2025, our aim is to create a surplus in the budget. Our effort is to raise the economic growth rate to a stable level. Our expectation is to establish a stable economic base by 2026,” he said. Outlining the debt the country has to pay off so far he noted, “Between June and December this year we have to pay $3.4 billion, $ 5.8 billion in 2023, $4.9 billion in 2024, $6.2 billion in 2025, $4.0 billion in 2026 and $4.3 billion in 2027.”

He said the total debt burden of the government at the end of 2021 was Rs.17.5 trillion and by March 2022 it had increased to Rs. 21.6 trillion.

 “This is the real situation. In addition, we are facing the effects of many problems that have worsened in the past two or three years.These are not problems that can be solved in two days. We are suffering from the effects of certain traditional ideas that have been followed in our country for many years. Therefore, as I mentioned earlier, we will have to face difficulties in 2023 as well. This is the truth. This is the reality. Some may try to cover up this reality by showing the people a false image. But this reality will be confirmed in time.”

The Premier said that due to the current inflation, the depreciation of the rupee has reduced the value of the money in the Employees’ Provident Fund and the Employees’ Trust Fund by 50% and the real value of pensions has also decreased by 50%. “Think about how this situation affects our senior citizens. Poverty is spreading among all of them. The value of the money they receive has decreased by 50%. Their purchasing power has decreased by about 50%. Presenting positive ideas is easy. But it is difficult to find answers to these problems.”

He noted that the only solution is to stabilize the rupee as soon as possible, strengthening the rupee without letting it fall. “For that purpose, we have implemented a plan to limit the printing of money in the future.”

However, he said that in 2023, the government will have to print money with restrictions on several occasions. “But by the end of 2024, it is our intention to stop printing money completely.”

Wickremesinghe also noted that state banks have been beaten from all sides and on the one hand, the economic crisis, on the other hand, the huge amount of loans they have given to state enterprises.

“As of March 31, 2021, SriLankan Airlines owes Rs.541 billion, as of May 31, 2022, the Electricity Board owes Rs. 418 billion and Petroleum Corporation owes Rs.1.46 trillion.”

He said that when public enterprises continue to incur losses, the entire citizenry suffers. “People who have never travelled on a plane in their lifetime are suffering for the loss of SriLankan Airlines.The people who have paid money for fuel all their lives are suffering for the loss of the petroleum corporation. After hours, days and days of waiting in queues to get fuel, they pay compensation to the oil company to cover the loss of the company. The people who get electricity by paying money all their life, sit in the dark for several hours a day and suffer for the loss of the electricity board.”

Therefore, he said that considering all these facts, they are taking immediate steps to restructure these institutions in a manner that they are maintained in a manner that does not burden the country.

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