Sri Lanka newspaper poll shows support for IMF, EU stance

Mar 14, 2010 (LBO) – A decision by the International Monetary Fund to suspend its program to Sri Lanka and a European Union decision to lift trade benefits have found wide support in a newspaper poll. A poll by the business news section of The Sunday Times, an influential weekly, found that 74 percent of respondent said the IMF was justified in suspending its program after the government failed to meet spending limits.

Twelve percent disagreed and 14 percent were undecided.

“There is no purpose in doling out funds without a proper fiscal policy,” the newspaper quoted one of its respondents as saying.

“It is similar to mismanaging a company showing no signs of improvement but requesting funds from its shareholders to keep the directors happy.”

The EU has announced that its Generalised System of Preferences plus concessions – which gives tax free entry to Sri Lankan goods – will end later in 2010 over lack of implementation of civil and political rights covenants signed by Sri Lanka.

Sixty percent of respondents said the EU move was justified, 36 percent said it was not, while four percent were undecided.

“Shameful blackmail,” the newspaper quoted a respondent who