Mangala calls Mahinda to a public debate on debt status

Oct 04, 2019 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to enter into a public debate on the true status of the national debt.

Samaraweera addressing media on Thursday assured the island’s economy is now stable because of sound fiscal policies introduced over the past few years by his government.

“We don’t have to settle any loans until October next year. This was because of prudent and systematic fiscal management of the Government.”

The challenge was made after the minister Samaraweera accused Mahinda Rajapaksa, also the former Finance Minister, over mismanagement of the economy and practices.

Minister Samaraweera pointed out that much of the current Government’s borrowings were to repay the loans obtained at high interest rates during the Rajapaksa era.

“The repayment of loans obtained for the Hambantota Port and airport and the expressways began in 2015,” he said.

“We have been servicing those debts annually, where colossal amounts were borrowed by the previous regime.”

He went on to says and accused that the outstanding payments for projects had accumulated for years during the previous regime.

“After we took office, the Government paid 140 billion rupees in 2015 and 2016.”

The Government has already repaid all loan installments and interests due in 2019, which adds up to US 4,200 million dollars, which was the highest ever debt repayment in the country’s history, he added.