Written by Nathasha De Alwis
21 May, 2018 | 12:36 am
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Minister of Finance and Mass Media Mangala Samaraweera has issued a media release on Sunday (May 20) listing out the factors that have affected the economy of the country as well as the corruption of the previous government. The release highlights 16 points.
Speaking about the corruption of the previous government Minister Mangala Samaraweera says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seems to be engaged in an untiring effort to throw the country again into a “Vipath Maga”, or a destructive path. Minister Samaraweera adds that several cases are being heard in Courts and are being investigated by Police against former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the moment.
The media release highlights several allegations that are raised against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the Rajapaksa family.
The release says charges of a similar nature are being investigated against the other members of the Rajapaksa family as well. Minister Samaraweera says it is crystal clear that Rajapaksa siblings have been endeavoring to grab the power to rule, once again by misleading the public in an attempt to sweep the legal cases against them under the carpet.
The release says that the government has been able to strengthen the local economy despite many challenges after 2015. It adds that in 1990 export earnings which were at 30% of GDP and had dwindled to 12% of GDP by 2014.
Furthermore, the release says Kurunegala District MP, Mahinda Rajapaksa has charged that the Unity Government has to make the highest recorded debt repayment of US$ 4.2 billion in 2019 due to the debt crisis created by the Yahapalana govt. Minister Samaraweera accuses the former president of being mindless and forgetful.
The release added that after Independence in 1948, the highest amount of foreign debt has to be paid in 2018. The total foreign debt to be paid this year is US$ 2,845 million of which US$ 1,789 million has to be paid for foreign debts which were borrowed before the year 2015.
The Minister adds, only an installment of US$ 1,056 million is to be paid for foreign loans borrowed after 2015. The release says US$ 4,285 million has to be paid in 2019 of which UD$3,315 or 77% of the repayments are for debt obtained during the tenure of the Rajapaksa regime. Another US$3,768 million will have to be paid as loan instalments and the interest in 2020 of which 77% or US$2,905 million is the debt that was incurred before 2015.
The release says in 2021, 83% of the foreign debt instalments will have to be paid to repay the debt taken before 2015. In addition, the release highlights that even in 2030, 73% of the repayments will go to pay the debt that was obtained during the Rajapaksa regime for the waste, fraud and corruption committed by the “oligarchies” of the Rajapaksas.
The media release issued by Minister Mangala Samaraweera further says that after this Government was voted to power, it has obtained foreign debts of US$ 12 billion during the last three years, 6 billion of which was from International donor Agencies and under bilateral agreements at concessionary interest rates.
It adds that soon after this Government came to power, it pledged to increase the salaries of public servants by 10,000 rupees because their salary had not been increased since 2006.
In addition the release says in comparison to the prices of powdered milk, domestic gas and fuel in 2014, the prices are still at a lower level and, when public servants’ salaries are increased by 107% in 2020, it will help people to increase their income and maintain the cost of living at a low level.
Concluding his media release, the minister says, the Rajapaksa siblings who ruled this country under such a background have been attempting to regain power by throwing the people into a “Vipath Maga” or the destructive path.
The Minister says, “Therefore we urge the people to defeat such attempts and rally round the Government’s agenda to build a strong economy and a rich country by the year 2025”.
At an event held to commemorate war heroes at the Samuddhatva Jayanthi Dakshinarama Viharaya in Hokandara yesterday (May 19), former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, reacted to Min. Samaraweera’s remarks. He said that in the post-war era, they completely developed the North to achieve reconciliation and all displaced people were resettled.
However, he stated that in order to prevent communal sentiments which had been ingrained in the minds of the youth from coming to the fore again they established a security system there. He added that if they betray the freedom won through the sacrifices of many lives for political needs and for the wishes of various forces or due to a failure to understand it, then they will once again enter such an era.
Former President and Kurunegala District Parliamentarian Mahinda Rajapaksa also stated that he believes that while the people of the country may not know the situation, they are well aware of the political and economic situation of the country. He said that they believe that they must put a stop to this anti-war hero campaign where war heroes are being imprisoned.
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