By Ajith Siriwardana
The Government was forced to sell state property such as ports and air ports to come out of the debt crisis the country is facing for which Cabinet approval had been granted to sell the Eastern Jetty of the Colombo Harbour on Monday, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) said.
JVP politburo member Sunil Hadunnetti told a news conference that the government had to obtain more loans to repay the existing loans.
“The government has faced a crisis in obtaining foreign loans as credit rating agencies have downgraded Sri Lanka. The government has lost all channels of obtaining loans internationally to repay the dollar loans. This has resulted in other countries to intervene and force the government to sell state resources at a bargain,” he said.
Mr. Hadunnetti said that decline in foreign reserves, negative economic growth rate, decline in foreign exchange earning through tourism industry and migrant workers had aggravated the debt crisis.
He said ports and air ports of the country was important as Sri Lanka was a trade and maritime hub in the Indian Ocean and added that Sri Lanka was criticised internationally for its deal with China selling the Hambantlota Port.
“However, the government is planning to sell the Eastern Jetty of the Colombo Port disregarding its pledge to the people that it would not to sell any of the state resources. Government is trying to justify the selling of the jetty claiming that the revenue of the Ports Authority is not sufficient to develop the port. The governments that had ruled the country so far should take the responsibility for bringing about such a situation not the employees of the port,” he said.
- He said it was earlier proposed to develop the port through a Public Private Partnership with a joint venture with India and Japan