By Jamila Najmuddin
Sri Lanka is not prepared to be sold in order to regain the GSP plus facility from the European Union and will maintain its policy stand instead of giving in to any unfair demands, Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Daily Mirror online.
In an interview with the website this evening the Governor also noted that the country will not be hurt by the loss of the GSP Plus concession from the EU as all the remedial measures have been taken to maintain the economy minus the trade concession.
“I agree that for us the GSP+ concession being removed is a risk. However on October 29th last year we informed the entire country on how we would deal with the loss of the GSP+ and how we have prepared ourselves. We have reiterated that position today,” Cabraal said.
When questioned on how the country has prepared itself with the loss of the benefits, Cabraal said that for the past one year, the exchange rate of the country had been adjusted, interest rates lowered and inflation reduced. He added that companies had also adjusted themselves accordingly as they too were aware of the risk of losing the trade benefits by the EU.
“We have adjusted our exchange rate in such away that the people can continue the enjoy the same amount of money that they had. Also at the time that this whole debate was spoken of our interest rate was something like 19%. Today it is down to 11% or 12%. Therefore there has been a major reduction. Our inflation at that time was also much higher than what it was today,” Cabraal said.
Meanwhile when questioned if the government would give in to a human rights probe by the EU in order to regain the GSP+ benefits, Cabraal said that the government would not give in to certain demands by the EU in order to safeguard the sovereignty of the nation.
“If the government was giving in, to certain things, they would have given in by now. There were so many times that they wanted certain things to be done which the government was not in a position to do because they did not want to barter the sovereignty of the nation. So that position remains. Some other governments would have even sold their country to get the 7% concession. But that is not the way this government has worked. This government has taken a certain policy stand and the people have stood by it. If we take the Presidential Election, there was one candidate who said he will win under any circumstances. But the people did not vote for that candidate. The people wanted the candidate who said he will not barter the sovereignty of this nation. That’s the responsibility the President has taken to safeguard the people of this country,” Cabraal said. (Daily Mirror online)