Parliamentarians debate COVID-19 economic impact

Parliamentarians debate COVID-19 economic impact

Parliamentarians debate COVID-19 economic impact

Written by Staff Writer

22 Aug, 2020 | 9:30 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Government and opposition parliamentarians debated on economic impact of COVID-19 to the country on Friday.

“During the first half of this year, the government has obtained loans to the tune of 1220 billion rupees by printing money,” opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.

He pointed out that this situation can prompt a spike in inflation that can affect foreign borrowings and economic growth.

“International monetary bodies have predicted that economic growth this year would decline to minus 6 percent,” Premadasa claimed.

He observed that the government does not have a plan to attract investors who are moving out of China, that was the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, government lawmaker Professor Ranjith Bandara said that the opposition leader has misled Parliament by bringing out inaccurate statistics.

“If the country records an economic growth of minus 6 percent as claimed by him, we won’t be able to prevent Sri Lanka from sinking in the Indian ocean,” he said.

Meanwhile, state minister Dr. Nalaka Godahewa has said the government had spent most of the 990 billion US dollars worth loans obtained this year, to repay outstanding dues of the previous government.

“681 billion rupees out of the 900 billion was used for loan repayments. 194 billion rupees were used to settle the outstanding dues of the previous government,” Godahewa said.

Dr. Harsha De Silva, an opposition lawmaker of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, said the previous government had to obtain loans to settle outstanding dues of its preceding government.

“…when loans are obtained, it is the successive government that has to repay them,” he said.

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