Govt. likely to cut imports by US$500 Mn to $1 Bn: PM

24 September 2018 06:11 pm - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The government may have to curtail imports by US $500 million to US $1 billion because of the current economic circumstances, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today.

The Prime Minister who attended the opening of D.S. Senanayake Gama in Hambantota said Sri Lanka would have to do so by increasing import duty.

“We are discussing various forms of debt management with the Minister of Finance and had a discussion last week as well. What we intend doing is to limit imports by at least US$500 million or by US$1 billion and do so by increasing import duties,” he said. “The industrial production in the US has increased. People there tend to spend more on purchases because of concessions given by President Trump. Interest rates in the USA have been increased lately. This has encouraged the investors to pump more funds into that county. Those who invested in Sri Lankan stock exchange had pulled out US$400 million. It is obvious that any businessman will invest in markets where the returns are high.”

The Prime Minister said this was not a problem started by this government but that the concessions given by the Trump administration and his decision to increase interest rates have created this issue.

"This has affected other countries, the Euro, Malaysian Ringgit, Philippines Peso, Indian Rupee and our rupee had gone down in value. Some countries have increased their interest rates. However Sri Lanka cannot do it because the investors will have to pay a higher rate for their borrowings,” he said. “Sri Lanka’s exports have not increased lately. We have been exporting commodities such as tea and apparels since 1977. Therefore it is essential for Sri Lanka to go in for new exports.”

Referring to the oil price issue, the Prime Minister said the price had gone up as a result of US sanctions on Russia and Iranian oil and pointed out that the oil price issue where Sri Lanka is concerned was two sided -- sanctions and the devaluation of the rupee.

However, he said there was some relief because Saudi Arabia had assured it would release 1.5 million barrels of oil daily into the market within the next six months and that this was a relief because the world market would have otherwise lost the daily supply of 1.1 million barrels of Iranian oil.

In a response to a statement made by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa as to how the government would handle this situation, the Prime Minister said, “I like to ask the former president why his government went for commercial borrowings to invest in nonproductive projects."

He assured the people that this government would not run away from the challenges it was faced with and would resolve them.

“I was handed over an economy which recorded a negative growth. I resolved it. I will resolve the present crisis as well. Therefore I request the people to trust me,” he said. (Yohan Perera in Hambantota)

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  Comments - 17

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  • Unchikun Monday, 24 September 2018 06:17 PM

    Good idea. Start by stopping the import of duty free cars. Reduce the number of ministers, deputy and state ministers. Show by example and the people may agree to what you utter.

    bandara Tuesday, 25 September 2018 03:19 PM

    PM said to himself (he is guilty) : Sri Lanka’s exports have not increased lately.

    Yehiya Monday, 24 September 2018 06:29 PM

    What Ravi said about economy.

    uthumanmushtaq Monday, 24 September 2018 06:35 PM

    You have not kept any promises delivered at the time of big elections and people are not ready to trust you guys anymore.

    Dhaya Monday, 24 September 2018 06:37 PM

    Encourage local production MR. PM

    Chux Monday, 24 September 2018 06:53 PM

    You and all politicians helped Indian economy which has gone up to use 5 bln which is huge import bill for us

    Arnold Monday, 24 September 2018 07:01 PM

    Only outcome the poor and the and the hard working tax payers will suffer more, and the politicians will continue to enjoy life as usual.

    Lord Wolfstein Monday, 24 September 2018 07:13 PM

    At first stop to import luxury cars. The ministers can go by Indian Ambassador cars like the ministers in Indian are using. Limit the official cars to 1 for every official. This will safe you much more than 1 billion Dollars.

    Jaliya Monday, 24 September 2018 07:15 PM

    Now ,all you can do is go to temples and pray. I wish we had remaind under the British rule for a 1000 years. Here in America Sri Lanka is not even talked about.

    observer Monday, 24 September 2018 07:35 PM

    He just woke up !" Likely " is not a good assurance to the country which is in crisis.

    Riza Monday, 24 September 2018 07:37 PM

    You and your Boys have no idea how to handle anything. You have never even been in a bus, no kids and never have known how hard it is to run a family on a fixed income. Economic management is dismal. For example the duty on ultra luxury cars were reduced and there are over 25 Ferrari cars and many other brands like Bentley and Lamborghini. You gave the super rich presents whilst the rest of the 99% of the population is made to suffer. Nearly $1bn of cars and gold were imported this year. Foreign investment is dismal whilst the BOI is run by your corrupt cronies. All the while you sit and give talks. Hand over to Sajith and retire sir. You had your time please go now.

    Premalal Monday, 24 September 2018 08:11 PM

    All the corruption by the previous and this government have finally made way to the viability of the country. Cutting imports, although looks an attractive proposition, the consequences are horrendous. There will be a hit to the GDP. There will be widespread job losses leading to unrest and what little foreign investment we have would dissappear because investors do not like a restrictive economy. If the government is looking for this drastic option, why not cut down on wasteful expenditure? Especially the cabinet.

    asdfg Tuesday, 25 September 2018 02:05 PM

    Dear PMYou great brain in Aisa can't handle such simple issue to get more $ in to SL, like Trump the idiot doing in US?

    ravi sene Tuesday, 25 September 2018 04:44 PM

    US$500 Mn to $1 Bn?? must be vice versa.

    Sunil Tuesday, 25 September 2018 05:11 PM

    How well you resolved the situation is seen by the desperate decline of the Sri Lankan Rupee in recent times. We are paying for mass scale bond scam and the highway robberies committed by your cronies while you looked on approvingly. Now the flood gates of irrigation pilferages are also to be opened wide by your cronies and the people will continue to pay for your sins.

    me Tuesday, 25 September 2018 05:35 PM

    Its all well and good but how many people pay off customs and avoid the tax via DM Android App

    Rodrigo Tuesday, 25 September 2018 08:15 PM

    We are the donkeys that voted for you donkeys


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