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Sajith: Rating downgrade will make borrowing more expensive

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Cabraal: Opposition deriving perverse pleasure at the expense of people

By Saman Indrajith

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa in a special statement to Parliament yesterday, said the country was in the midst of a severe financial crisis.

“Moody’s Investors Service recently downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign credit rating by two notches, stating that our country would be hard-pressed to secure funding to service its huge foreign debt. On Sept 28, Moody’s downgraded Sri Lanka from “B2” (high credit risk) to “CAA1″ (very high credit risk). Now we are in the company of countries such as Angola, Mali, Barbados, Gabon and Iraq. This down grading would have a severe blow for the economy which needs to borrow around four billion US dollars from 2020 to 2025. As at August, our foreign reserves were at 7.4 billion US dollars. In that context, the Government repaid a billion US dollars due on international sovereign bond (ISB). That is not a move favourable for the country’s economy,” he said. 

 Premadasa said that the need of the hour was urgent economic reforms through collective efforts.

The Opposition leader said that the downgrading of Sri Lanka by Moody’s, which, he said, would make borrowing in the international market more expensive and harder to obtain for Sri Lanka.

He said owing to the downgrade interest rates Sri Lanka would have to pay for Bonds and loans would go up and it would be very hard for us to raise money to settle loans.

Responding to Opposition Leader Premadasa, State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal said: “When this issue was raised, my mind went back to 2007. We were trying to raise funds by issuing bonds. The then Opposition leader and his supporters did their utmost to prevent us raising funds. They surrounded HSBC and threatened not to buy the bonds which they would not honour under a future government of theirs. Later, when I travelled overseas to bring foreign investors, I saw each of them had a copy of a document sent from here telling them not to give funds to us. That was the time we were in a critical situation as a fierce war was raging. We somehow managed to win on both war and economic fronts. It seems that the Opposition is deriving perverse pleasure as the expense of people. that we are confronting challenges. They may be dreaming of that we will fail to manage the economy. Trust me we will deny the Opposition that pleasure. We shall prevail!”

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COPE meets online for first time in its history

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by Saman Indrajith

The Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) created a history by meeting online for the first time ever on Thursday.

The COPE had Secretaries of three Ministries joining in with its committee meeting through online (ZOOM) becoming the second parliamentary committee holding an online meeting in the country.

Thursday evening’s COPE meeting chaired by its chairman Prof. Charitha Herath connected online with Secretary to the Ministry of Health (Dr) H. S. Munasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Industries W. A. Chulananda Perera and, Secretary to the Ministry of Public Services, Provincial Councils and Local Government J. J. Ratnasiri via zoom technology.

The Environmental Audit Report on water pollution of the Kelani River was brought before the committee and the meeting held between the Chairman Prof. Herath, Ministers and Members of Parliament and secretaries and other officials continued without any technical hitches.

Secretary General of Parliament Dhammika Dasanayake said that facilities have been provided to hold meetings and discussions using online technology in two committee rooms in Parliament.

He said that Parliamentary officials had been working relentlessly for months to install the requisite technological tools and that the efforts have borne fruit and future Parliamentary meetings could be held online as a result.

The Committee on High Posts under the chairmanship of Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena also held a discussion with the new Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Kenya, who was living in Kampala, using online technology recently.

 

 

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Legatum Prosperity Index highlights SL’s development of education and healthcare sectors

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During the past decade

One of the key highlights of this year’s Legatum Prosperity Index was the improvement in Sri Lanka’s education and healthcare sectors over the past decade. These improvements were key to increase in prosperity within Sri Lanka, it was noted.

The London-based think-tank Legatum Institute launched the 14th Legatum Prosperity Index on November 17 2020.

The event commenced with the welcome address by the Chair of the Legatum Institute, Alan McCormick. 

Addressing the audience, the Chief Executive Officer of the Legatum Institute, The Baroness Stroud said that according to the Legatum Index, the global prosperity was at its highest level ever with 147 countries seeing their prosperity rise over the last decade.

Speaking at the launch, the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the UK, Saroja Sirisena said that the end of the terrorist conflict in 2009 and the ensuing peace dividend, led Sri Lanka to achieve steady progress within the last decade.

She highlighted that the universal free education and healthcare policies of the country over seven decades are the pillars on which prosperity is built.

Director of Policy of the Legatum Institute, Dr. Stephen Brien explained to the audience as to how the Legatum Index is used to measure prosperity across the world.

The event was also addressed by the Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in Africa, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Biologist and Writer, Matt Ridley and Ambassador of Georgia in the UK Sophie Katsarava.

Legatum Prosperity Index is a global index that analyses the performance of 167 nations across 65 policy-focused elements, measured by almost 300 country level indicators and it is the only global index that measures national prosperity based on institutional, economic and social wellbeing.

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Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India with Sapna Mehra

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The Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC), High Commission of India, Colombo, will be holding an online cookery demonstration on ‘Snack Time: Quick Snacks and Party Recipes from North India’ on December 5 at 11.00 am on its FACEBOOK page https://www.facebook.com/ICCRSriLanka.

This festival season, the Cultural Centre will present a virtual cookery demonstration by Sapna Mehra. Cooking has been a passionate hobby of Sapna since her childhood days. Growing up in a large family of 17 members, she was very keen on bringing variety to the dining table, and that’s when her cooking journey began, preparing simple wraps, and snacks.

She now specializes in cooking dishes from a variety of cuisines. Originally from Bangalore, she has lived in many cities across India and Sri Lanka, and at present resides in Delhi.

She has a Postgraduate degree in Marketing and has over 12 years work experience in the professional field.

All are cordially invited to attend. For more details, contact the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre on telephone No: 2684698 or Email: iccrcolombo2@gmail.com

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