Bestweb 2018
Bestweb 2018

Government hypocrisy and the Central Expressway

Government hypocrisy and the Central Expressway

By Ramesh Irugalbandara

17 May, 2018 | 1:13 am

Colombo (News 1st) – Former Chairman of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, Chandra Jayaratne who appeared on Pethikada on Wednesday questioned whether the Government has identified its priorities in investing funds obtained as loans from other countries.

 

Comparing the Central Expressway to the lotus tower project initiated by the previous administration, Jayaratne claimed that the Government is deceiving the people adding that they undertake such massive projects to feed their own ego.

Jayaratne claims that if the Government manages it’s expenses and regulates it’s income in a proper way there would no longer be a need to increase taxes on the general public.

A heated exchange also took place at the Cabinet Media briefing on Wednesday (May 16th) when questions were raised with regard to the US$ 1bn loan which was approved by the Chinese Exim bank for phase 1 of the central expressway. Incidentally, this is the same loan which the Prime Minister’s office described as a ‘good news.

A journalist raised a question regarding a previous statement made by the Min. Senaratne, where he claimed that development projects could not be launched due to loans which were taken under the previous administration. The minister doubled down on his statement and added that back then most of the loans were commercial loans. When questioned about the funding for phase 3 of a central expressway project the minister maintained that the funding was through a soft loan. However in reality, the 3rd phase of the central expressway will be funded through a commercial loan from the Tokyo Mitsubishi bank, this loan also comes with an additional insurance fee of over 10%, an arrangement fee as well as an annual fee all of which will have to be eventually borne by the taxpayers of this country.

When questioned about the rising debt burden of the country through projects such as this, Minister Senaratne simply brushed off the question stating that even the United States of America is in debt to China.

Click here to watch the video of the statements made by the Minister.