Written by Amani Nilar
05 Jul, 2022 | 1:16 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st); Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today (05) challenged NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake to take up the position of the Prime Minister if he can present a better and a viable plan for the current economic crisis.
Several Opposition MPs engaged in a protest today (05), by chanting slogans against the President, which led to a heated situation in the Parliament, which ended up with the Speaker adjourning Parliament proceedings for a period of 10 minutes.
In his speech, the Prime Minister elaborated on the current state of the economy and progress made during talks with the IMF.
Pointing out that Sri Lanka is currently participating in IMF discussions as a bankrupt nation, the Prime Minister said that the nation has to face more complicated situations than previous negotiations.
He said that once a staff-level agreement is reached, it will be submitted to the IMF Board of Directors for approval, however, due to the state of bankruptcy of Sri Lanka, the Government will also have to submit a plan on debt sustainability to them separately.
The Prime Minister also elaborated on the next step, stating that it is to submit the plan on debt restructuring and sustainability, which is being prepared by financial and legal experts Lazard and Clifford Chance to IMF by August, which will be followed by the report being submitted to the IMF Board of Directors for approval.
After approval for this plan is provided, a comprehensive loan assistance program will be prepared for a period of 4 years. “We are now on that path,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also emphasized that a country whose economic growth has fallen to negative six or seven to a positive economic growth rate in six months is an process which had never happened in any country in the world.
However, the Prime Minister said that he cannot rule out NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s opinion that it had not happened so far, and that it would be great if he has a plan to restore the country within six months.
“With such a plan, we will be able to restore the economy in a short period of time. Not only that, it also sets a good precedent for the world. That is why I am asking MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake to submit this plan to the President. If you don’t want to go to the President, present it to this Parliament. Let us discuss it in this Parliament. If that plan is better and more effective than the plan we are implementing now, we will implement it. Such a plan would be brilliant enough to win the Nobel Prize in Economics. So if there is such a plan, I am ready to resign and let him take up this position. I am ready to give up my position and support that program,” the Prime Minister said.
PM Wickremesinghe also mentioned that the positions which he holds are not new to him, and pointed out that at a time when the country has become anarchic and no one has taken responsibility, he did not accept the position of the Prime Minster out of desire for the portfolio.
The Prime Minister reiterated that he is ready to resign if MP Anura Dissanayake’s plan is proven effective.
He mentioned that perhaps the entire Government should resign and should appoint MP Dissanayake as the Prime Minister, amidst much chaos of Opposition MPs chanting and protests.
However, the Prime Minister also said that primarily, the country should try to implement the IMF program with the current President, and it needs to be presented first.
He also said that there is no need for any protest at all, and the matter can even be debated on Thursday and Friday.
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