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    HomeBreakingSri Lanka will not be bankrupt after next week

    Sri Lanka will not be bankrupt after next week

    Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe says that he hopes that by next week or later, we as a country will be able to get out of bankruptcy and move to the next stage.

    President Ranil Wickramasinghe mentioned this while addressing the 31st All India Partnership Meeting 2024 (AIPM 2024) held at ITC Ratnadipa Hotel, Colombo on the 20th.

    President Ranil Wickremesinghe, speaking at the ceremony, elaborated:

    It’s a great pleasure and a privilege to have you in Sri Lanka, in Colombo, holding this meeting. It shows on one hand the close friendship that our two countries have, and on the other hand, the confidence that you have in Sri Lanka.

    Having now survived two difficult years, I must acknowledge that this was possible because India gave us a loan of $3.5 billion. All that will be repaid. We have already repaid the loan of $200 million that Bangladesh gave us.

    We have just concluded the board of directors meeting of the IMF, which was quite successful and are preparing thereafter to meet with our creditor nations, the Paris Club, India and others, who meet at the official creditors committee next week, and also carrying on discussions with China with the Exim Bank of China.

    Once we conclude the discussions, then we come to the next phase. With this, we are ready to sign the agreements with our official creditors and with the Exim Bank of China. So next week, on Wednesday, we will be meeting with the OCC, and also in the course of next week, we are carrying out discussions with the Exim Bank of China. And I hope by next week, or thereafter, that we will have come out of this phase of bankruptcy and into the next phase as we go ahead.

    Sri Lanka’s return to business signifies a pivotal decision-making phase. The key question is defining what this return entails. Returning to business as usual would mean continuing as an import-dependent economy, leading to on-going borrowing to fund imports and perpetuating a harmful cycle. Having faced this scenario before, the crucial question now is whether we are willing to repeat this path.

    Alternatively, the objective is to gradually shift towards becoming a competitive, export-oriented economy, marking a significant goal. Acknowledging the inherent challenges in this transformation, especially in Sri Lanka’s context, we have adopted a new approach: enacting legislative economic policies to effectively steer this transition.

    We will introduce policies aimed at achieving economic transformation: moving towards a highly competitive, digital, green, and export-oriented economy. These policies will establish benchmarks for foreign investments, export earnings, and reducing multi-dimensional poverty—a first in our region.

    Traditionally, policies in Sri Lanka have been subject to change with each new government. To address this, we have drafted the Economic Transformation Bill, currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny in Parliament and the courts.

    In addition to outlining policies, we are establishing new institutions such as the Economic Commission, which will assume responsibilities from the BOI to drive investment, a dedicated agency for managing investment zones, an International Trade Office to enhance global trade, and a National Productivity Commission to boost productivity. Furthermore, the Institute for Economics and International Trade will serve as a think tank, bringing together economists and experts to shape Sri Lanka’s economic strategies effectively. So this is broadly the route that we intend to take.

    Second is the second eye, which I have taken on today, which are on my agenda, that’s India. When I was in Delhi last week, I discussed with Prime Minister Modi the need to accelerate the joint program that we have decided, agreed on. So the major ones are identified, and Foreign Minister Jaishankar came down today to have a discussion. Now this will show the new path we are taking, and a number of projects, all will be in one parcel.

    It won’t be individual projects. We’ve discussed a fair number of them. First is the grid interconnection between Sri Lanka and India, so that sustainable energy can be transmitted to India, where you all need that very badly. We have the Sampur solar power project, which is a Government to Government (G2G) project, and a three island project, which is where we hope the ground breaking can take place in July.

    So that’s the basis of our energy partnership, and we are looking at developing Polk Straight for wind energy and solar energy, both countries to get together and have a , large farm for solar energy, for renewable energy. It also means that we will have a new economy for the northern province, which was worst affected by the wars.

    In addition to energy, we have also discussed India helping us to expand the Kankasanturai port, which is the major port on the Jaffna Peninsula, and to ensure that more business comes into the port. We are also discussing with India on airport development, on the Palali airport, on the Colombo airport.

    The National Livestock Development Board of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with India’s Amul Dairy Company, has highlighted the program aimed at enhancing liquid milk production in the country. That’s the big project, which virtually the bulk of our, organized dairy industry.

    Additionally, there is a focus on a project to establish a land connectivity between Sri Lanka and India. Extensive discussions have also taken place regarding expediting the Trincomalee Development Project, which encompasses industrial investment zones and tourist areas. Furthermore, plans are underway to construct a multi-product oil pipeline from Nagapatnam to Trincomalee, pending the final observation report. Trincomalee is poised to become a hub for oil refining, with the development of ports and investment zones, transforming Trincomalee Port into a significant hub on the Bay of Bengal.

    Today, the entire East Coast is being opened up for tourism, with additional land earmarked for hotels in Galle and southern areas. Moreover, there are plans to establish more investment zones across the country, alongside expanding our professional training programs. In these endeavours, we are collaborating closely with India.

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