Economic situation ‘alarming’, says Sri Lankan opposition leader

“Life doesn’t look too rosy; it looks pretty alarming,” Sajith Premadasa, the Sri Lankan leader of the opposition, said when asked if his country was heading towards bankruptcy

Jun 17, 2021
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Sajith Premadasa Sri Lankan opposition leader

“Life doesn’t look too rosy; it looks pretty alarming,” Sajith Premadasa, the Sri Lankan leader of the opposition, said when asked if his country was heading towards bankruptcy. He further added that he would like not to think so, but the current situation and economic indicators aren’t good. 

The remark came during an interview with Indian news channel WION, where he stressed Sri Lanka needed to take “practical” and “pragmatic” recourse for better economic management. 

Significantly,  Sri Lanka’s public guaranteed debt has increased to over 109 percent of its total Gross Domestic Product, according to a report of the World Bank. In 2020, its economy contracted by 3.3 percent. Over the years, its reliance on loans for sustaining its forex and debt servicing has grown immensely. 

Premadasa, however, avoided directly responding to the question of if his country is sinking into the Chinese debt trap. “We would never ever be keen on being subjugated by any other state or non-state actors. Basically, Sri Lankans don’t like international interference whether it is from a particular political block or from an individual country. ” 

Furthermore, in a veiled attack on the Rajapaksa government’s approach, he said, “There is absolutely no necessity for any administration to go around the world with begging bowls.” 

In the past few months, the island nation had signed credit swap deals for $300 million with Bangladesh, and $1.6 billion with China. 

(SAM)

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