Sri Lanka calls for debt relief, non-aligned emergency lender

July 16, 2009 (LBO) – Developing countries need debt relief to overcome a global economic slump, and a non-aligned emergency bailout fund, Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa has said. “The world is today confronted by a crisis that is essentially the creation of the financial markets of certain developed countries,” President Rajapaksa said in the published text of a speech for the Non Aligned Movement’s summit.

“As a consequence of this financial crisis, our development agenda is challenged; our exports are crippled; our industries are suffering from a lack of confidence; and we face an externally induced liquidity shortfall.”

Economic Slump

The top buyers of Sri Lanka’s exports are the United States and the EU. Sri Lanka’s exports have slumped 18.9 percent in the first five months of 2009. In the first quarter economic growth slowed to 1.5 percent.

Imports also slumped and government revenues also fell in the first quarter.

“The rescue packages currently being implemented seem to focus essentially on helping the economies of developed countries,” Rajapaksa said.

“There cannot be a satisfactory outcome to this crisis unless these packages are