Written by Zulfick Farzan
09 Mar, 2022 | 12:44 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Several Parliamentarians from the Samagi Jana Balavegaya, Sri Lanka’s main opposition faction, visited the Central Bank on Wednesday (9) to meet with Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal.
“Our meeting was strictly professional and not political,” said Dr. Harsha De Silva who attended the meeting, adding that the main focus was highlighting the suffering of the people in the present day.
The Central Bank officials believe that the issue is short-term, and had no intention of moving towards the International Monetary Fund or other agencies to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt, said the MP.
“The Central Bank officials are of the view that the issues will be short-lived and can be solved by obtaining more loans from China and other lending countries,” he added.
Dr. Harsha De Silva noted that $ 500 Mn due to India for January had been pushed back to March, however, another $ 400 Mn that accumulated in January and February, were to be settled this week.
“We clearly understood that the Central Bank does not have money, even though they did not spell it out to us,” said Dr. Harsha De Silva, adding that when questioned about Sri Lanka’s $ 1.5 Bn in reserves, the Central Bank officials had admitted that it what was in the reserves was the Yuan facility.
“If India has not postponed the payment of the accumulated $ 900 Mn, Sri Lanka would have gone bankrupt,” he pointed out while thanking India for its consideration to postpone the settlement.
The Samagi Jana Balavegaya Parliamentarian said the Central Bank had greatly reduced printing money by Rs. 500 Bn, but they only could cut it down by Rs. 70 Bn.
According to the SJB MP, the Central Bank had devalued the rupee to Rs. 230/- per dollar with the intention of Foreign Exchange coming through official channels, rather than the Hawala and Undial methods, which are not recognized in Sri Lanka.
However, the Central Bank was not able to clarify the migrant worker’s remittance incentive announced by the Cabinet of Minister.
The Central Bank has not decision to go international on restructuring the debt, however, the decision lies with Minister Basil Rajapaksa, according to the officials, said the MP.
At the same time SJB MP Kabir Hashim, who accompanied Dr. Harsha De Silva with fellow MP Eran Wickramaratne, said it was obvious that the Central Bank was only applying temporary solutions and has not progressed towards having a permanent solution.
MP Eran Wickramaratne warned that if the present process of managing the economy continues, the situation in the country would become worse than it is.
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