Bandula claims it is over Rs. 1000 Bn
Confusion reigns on the percentage by which Sri Lanka’s external debt services have increased due to the devaluation of the rupee. State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne claimed that it has increased to Rs 600 billion while Opposition MP Bandula Gunawardene claimed it has increased by Rs 1000 billion.
Mr. Wickramaratne who was responding to an oral question raised by Dr. Gunawardene himself on Tuesday in parliament, said country’s external debt services has been increased by Rs 626,439 billion due to the devaluation of the rupee during the last few years.
However, Dr. Gunawardene raised the issue in the House today that the figure which State Minister Wickramaratne came up with on Tuesday was far from being accurate. “The statement made by Mr. Wickramaratne that external debt services have increased by Rs 600 billion is far from being accurate as it had increased by at least Rs 1000 billion,” the MP said.
The MP said the external debt had increased by Rs 285 billion in 2015, by Rs 157 million in 2016 and by Rs 225 billion in 2017. It would have increased by at least Rs 300 billion last year. “In such circumstances the figure claimed by the State Minister cannot be accepted.
It is better if the State Minister makes a statement on it,” Dr. Gunawardene said. Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri who was at the chair said State Minister Wickramaratne will be informed of the matter. (Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana)