Colombo (News1st): Marking the end of his official visit to Sri Lanka the United Nations’ Independent Expert on the effects of Foreign Debt and Human Rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, convened a press conference in Colombo, yesterday morning (September 11).
His official visit to the country began on the 3rd of September 2018 upon the invitation of the Sri Lankan government. A comprehensive report by Mr. Bohoslavsky on his visit is to be submitted to the UN human rights council in March 2019.
The UN Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights spoke about;
- Debt Repayment
- Governments effort to combat corruption
- Money laundering
- Project Financing
In a detailed report, he said the debt repayment is the countries most important expenditure with its significant amount of borrowing currently allocated for this purpose and these loans have an important impact on debt servicing and they need to be managed with extreme care.
Commenting on the government’s efforts to combat corruption of the country he appreciated the measures adopted.
Juan Pablo Bohoslavskys speaking of Money Laundering stated that based on the principal “know your client being national or international”, banks in Sri Lanka have a duty to report suspicious transactions to the pertinent authorities.
However since taxation is not considered the predicate offense in the country, it cannot be the basis for money laundering, said The UN expert. He urged the government to close this legal gap and request help from the banks to improve tax collection.
Juan Pablo said as of today loan accounts of the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan, Korea, India, and China add up for a total of US dollars 19.3 Billion.
Then speaking regarding the long history of Microcredit in Sri Lanka he said the current system has been instrumental in eradicating poverty of the country. However, the number frequency and seriousness of the lenders’ abuses he has found in the country calls for state action.
He said often women are exposed to psychological and physical violence by the collectors and in some cases were even pressured by the collectors to exchange sexual favors for installments.
“I have also learned of cases of borrowers who have tried to sell their kidneys for money to repay loans”, Bohoslavsky added.