Won’t allow country to collapse: President 



Delivering a special statement in Parliament a short while ago on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF), President Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would not allow the country to collapse even if he has to face difficulties. 

He said that at a time when the country was in chaos in July last year, no one was willing to accept responsibility and he was requested to take over. “I had no power in Parliament, no Members of Parliament from my Party to call my own. However, my strength was my conviction that I was capable of rebuilding the country,” he said. 

The receipt of the IMF Facility is a step towards building a better future for the youth and uplifting the country. The credit facility amounts to approximately USD 3 billion over 4 years, with the first tranche of USD 333 million will be received. 

Additionally, the country is expecting about USD 7 billion dollars more in rapid credit support from other parties, President Wickremesinghe said. 

He said that some people consider the IMF EFF as just another loan, while others claim that the total debt of the country cannot be paid off with the amount received. He noted that these statements show either ignorance or a willingness to betray the country for political gain 

President Wickremesinghe told Parliament that the IMF EFF will restore Sri Lanka’s international recognition, ensure the country is not bankrupt and help banks regain international recognition. This will create opportunities for low-interest credit, restore foreign investors’ confidence and lay the foundation for a strong new economy.

The President said that amidst numerous hardships, bearing all kinds of pressure, and undergoing suffering with equanimity, the people of this country remained calm and patient. Their commitment was a great strength in achieving the IMF Facility. Therefore, he extended his gratitude to the people of the country

“We are now starting a new journey. We have to introduce many economic reforms throughout the process. The foundation for our success will be through this path. Some of these reforms have already been proposed and implemented through the interim budget of 2022 and the budget for 2023. We will introduce numerous other reforms,” he said in his special statement.

He also said the government aims to reduce the primary deficit to 2.3% of GDP by 2025 and increase revenue to 14% of GDP by 2026. “The standard corporate income tax rate has been raised to 30%, and sectoral tax holidays have been eliminated. The PAYE tax rate has been raised from 12% to 15%, and the tax exemption limit has been reduced from Rs. 300 million to Rs. 80 million,” he said.

The President also stated that he had previously requested the support of the opposition in rebuilding the economy, but did not receive it. He had made similar requests during the opening of Parliament and Budget debates, but to no avail. Despite his efforts, the opposition refused to extend their support citing various reasons, the President’s Media Division said.

The President acknowledged that the current situation is difficult, but assured that the sacrifices made now will lead to benefits in the near future. He emphasizes the importance of working together towards the goal of building a better future for the younger generation by setting aside past criticisms.


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