Written by Staff Writer
17 Jan, 2019 | 9:20 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – President Maithripala Sirisena meeting with his Philippine counterpart yesterday (January 16) commended Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s exemplary effort to eradicate drugs and crime from the country.
The President had further noted that the drug menace is rampant in Sri Lanka and they would consider following the steps taken by the Philippines to control this hazard. The President had also extended an invitation for both the Philippine President and the first lady to undertake a state visit making it at an equally historic event as it would be the first ever state visit undertaken by a Philippine leader.
President Rodrigo Duterte said that this particular state visit is a significant one as it marks the 58th anniversary of the two countries diplomatic relations. He further noted that they look forward to a future of broadening and deepening the bilateral ties in trade and investment, defense and security, agriculture, tourism, education, culture and people to people exchanges. The Philippines president further added that the agreements they had signed today is an indication of the resolution made to reinvigorate bilateral ties.
President Maithripala Sirisena also made his first visit to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters today and met with its President Takehiko Nakao. Three loan agreements totaling USD 455 million for projects in higher education and transport as well as a technical assistance loan in the urban sector were signed during the meeting.
USD 300 million will be used to finance construction of an elevated toll highway to link Colombo’s international port with the country’s expressway network. The agreements also include USD 145 million for a project to support the development of science and technology faculties in four universities and a USD 10 million technical assistance loan to finance the establishment of a facility that will help improve the design and implementation of urban projects in Sri Lanka.
Which is better am ADB loan or the IMF tranche?
The loan of USD 455 million agreed by the Asian Development Bank is being granted on a concessionary scheme. However, the Minister of Finance is in Washington DC attempting to obtain a tranche of USD 500 million from the IMF External Fund Facility, which is issued under a series of conditions.
The opposition alleged that some of these conditions are introducing reforms to the Inland Revenue Act as well as the Exchange Control Act and implementing changes to the Samurdhi funds and the Pensions scheme as well.
At a time when attempts are being made to secure USD 500 million from IMF at high interest and very strict conditions, the President during his tour of the Philippines has been successful in securing USD 455 million from the ADB at a concessionary rate.
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