Mangala takes MR to task over foreign debt payment statement

Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday took former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to task for alleging that the foreign debt payments due in 2019 is a result of the doings of the present government.

Minister Samaraweera contradicting Rajapaksa’s claim, pointed out that 77% of the USD 4,285 mn foreign debts which is due in 2019 was debt obtained during the tenure of the Rajapaksa regime.

Minister Samaraweera also observed that 48% of the total foreign debt obtained after 2015 have been used to repay the debts that were borrowed by the Rajapaksa regime.

According to Minister Samaraweera, the loan installment to be paid in 2019 includes US$ 1,000 million which was obtained on January 6, 2014 at 6% interest to be paid within five years and, a US$ 500 million obtained on April 7, 2014 at 5.1% interest to be paid within five years.

“These two loans amounting to US$ 1,500 million that have been been obtained at commercial rates will mature in 2019 and the entire loan should be repaid in bulk with full interest at one stretch,” the minister explained.

“The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime obtained these loans in a hurry in 2014, not for development work but for the election where they lured unsuspected voters thereby distributing cheap items such as Sil Redi, the statement pointed out.

Minister Samaraweera in his special communiqué yesterday stated that “After Independence in 1948, the highest amount of foreign debt has to be paid in 2018.

The total foreign debt to be paid this year is US$ 2,845 million and of which US$ 1,789 million has to be paid for foreign debts which were borrowed before the year 2015. Only an installment of US$ 1,056 is to be paid for the foreign loans borrowed after 2015. Accordingly, 63% debt installments to be paid this year are repayments of debts that had been borrowed during Mr. Rajapaksa’s tenure as finance minister. It was at the level of 75% in 2017.”

Minister Samaraweera also pointed out that US$3,768 million will have to be paid as loan installments and the interest in 2020 and of which 77% or US$2,905 million is the debts that were borrowed before 2015. He also revealed that only US$ 863 million have to be paid for the debt that was borrowed after 2015.

“In 2021, 83% of the foreign debt installments will have to be paid to repay the debt taken before 2015. In addition, even in 2030, 73% of the repayments will go to pay the debts that were obtained during Rajapaksa regime for the waste, fraud and corruption committed by the oligarchies of the Rajapaksas.” Minister Samaraweera in his statement further said.

Minister Samaraweera also stated that the present government has obtained foreign debts of US$ 12 billion during the last three years and, 6 billion out of which was from International donor agencies and under bilateral agreements at concessionary interest rates.

“They have been spent for various projects. These loans were taken neither under commercial basis nor for consumer purposes as Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa attempts to interpret,” he pointed out.

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