By Yohan Perera
Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday urged the government to reveal the true situation of the national economy.
“The issue today is about the future of Sri Lankan people and not merely statistics. Therefore, we request the government to come out with a report on the current status of the economy. Silence will not help the nation to come out of the present situation. As per the Fiscal Responsibility Act, it is the duty of the government to compile a report. The government last came out with a report on the economic situation on March 23 which is now outdated.
“CNN recently came up with a list of countries that are unable to settle their debts. These included countries like Argentina, Lebanon and Ecuador. According to global indicators, Sri Lanka too could fall into this category. Last month, Fitch ratings put Sri Lanka into “s-minus” based on debt settlement. Morgan Stanley Ratings is expected to push Sri Lanka into a minus status too. The ‘Economist’ magazine named Sri Lanka as a nation with highest economic tensions in South Asia. Sri Lanka’s debt services were 87 percent of the GDP in 2019. It is expected to increase up to 93 percent by end 2020 and hit 100 percent in 2021. Sri Lanka’s total debt services are expected to be USD 3 billion this year and will go up to USD 10 billion in 2023. It is imperative that Sri Lanka looks for short-term export earnings. Import concessions should be given to manufacturing industries,” he said.
On a different note, he said the Maligawatta stampede indicated the severity of Sri Lanka’s economic downturn.