Questions raised in Parliament on amount of foreign reserves at CB

Questions raised in Parliament on amount of foreign reserves at CB

Written by Bella Dalima

26 Nov, 2013 | 10:34 pm

Questions were raised in Parliament on Tuesday on the amount foreign reserves at the Central Bank. UNP Parliamentarian, Sujeewa Senasinghe asked, “How much is the total debt and how much is the government debt?”

Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama replied that the total debt as of 2011 was Rs.5133 billion. In 2012 it was Rs.6000 billion. As of June 2013, it was Rs.6518 billion  and he said that he will table that in the house.”

Sujeewa Senasinghe said; “You are saying it is a standard procedure worldwide, to calculate the increase and reduction according to the Gross Domestic Product. Didn’t you explain this to the President when he delivered the budget speech? He said exports have seen a 2 percent increase. However, when you consider in relation to the GDP, there has been a drop of around 6 percent for three years.”

Dr. Amunugama replied: “That is your opinion.”

Parliamentarian Sujeewa Senasinghe asked, “This not my opinion. My second question. You are an expert on economics. You are saying debt should be considered based on the GDP. Now debts have increased and there is difficulty in paying off these debts. The per capita income per month in Sri Lanka is around Rs.11,000. However, the debt is mounting. Who are (is) going to pay off these debts?”

Dr. Amunugama replied for that, “the President or even the Opposition Leader can give advice. However. we are talking about statistics here.”

DNA Parliamentarian, Sunil Handunetti raised these issues;

“You rightly said that the amount of loans that were taken in 2012 have increased by June 2013. It is the mid-year debt accumulation. The total debt in 2012 is Rs.6000 billion. But it has exceeded 6000 billion as of June 2013. It is 6500. Now, will you accept that the country cannot bear this debt burden?

Dr. Amunugama said, “No. I will not accept it. We have to analyse the debt in relation to the Gross Domestic Product. As the GDP increases and as our assets increase, our debt ratio reduces. It is the same for the country and for households. It is not a big problem and it is not difficult to understand.”


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