President outlines his track record since assuming office in 2022

<p><img src="" alt="Featured Image"></p><p><!-- wp:html --><p>President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday, making a statement, that he had assumed leadership of the country without any conditions, despite being a sole Member of Parliament from his party.</p>
<p>The President said he expected to conclude all negotiations with external creditors by the middle of this year, and that the ultimate goal of debt restructuring was to reduce the total amount of debt to 95% of the GDP by 2032.</p>
<p>Furthermore, he mentioned that during the first three months of the year, the exchange rate of the US dollar had been brought down to below Rs. 300 and the foreign reserves raised to a value of more than USD 5 billion.</p>
<p>He said a salary increment for government employees could be considered only next year based on the economic growth of 2024 and state income since the current revenue was not sufficient.The President emphasised that achieving a consensus was not solely the responsibility of public representatives in Parliament, and the onus was also on religious leaders, trade unions, professionals, the business community, non-governmental organizations, various opinion leaders, individuals with social influence, and every citizen.</p>
<p>"We anticipate economic growth of at least 3% this year, a forecast supported by multiple domestic and international financial institutions. Inflation has significantly decreased to 1.5%. Additionally, the primary account balance, previously in deficit for several years, turned into a surplus of 0.6% of GDP in 2023.</p>
<p>For the first time in many decades, a surplus in the current account of the balance of payments was achieved in 2023. Furthermore, interest rates decreased substantially, reaching levels as low as 10-13%.</p>
<p>Through a series of reforms, we established financial discipline within the country. Another crucial reform for economic stability was restructuring our debt.</p>
<p>This was a significant consideration for finalising the IMF agreements in September 2022. By December 2022, the total debt as a percentage of GDP had reached 128%, a concerning level. Hence, we devised a debt restructuring program, which was structured into three primary phases.</p>
<p>Over the past couple of years, our government has diligently endeavoured to bring relief to our citizens through the outcomes of our economic recovery initiative. We arranged to directly grant substantial sums of money to economically disadvantaged groups in our country under the "Aswasuma" programme and other relief initiatives. Moreover, allowances granted to kidney patients, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities have been increased by 50%.</p>
<p>Under this programme, economically disadvantaged groups receive more than three times the existing Samurdhi subsidy. In 2024, a total of Rs. 205 billion will be spent for these relief programmes. Relief programs in Sri Lanka trace their origins back to the Second World War. Since then, there has not been such a significant allocation of funds to aid the impoverished.</p>
<p>Over the course of the 2022 Yala season, 2022/23 Maha season, 2023 Yala season and 2023/24 Maha season, our agricultural practices have yielded successful harvests.</p>
<p>The government has contemplated providing a portion of the crops to the impoverished free of charge.</p>
<p>It is imperative to exceed mere economic stabilization and recovery efforts and transition our economy onto a sustainable path. Implementing a formal and swift programme to achieve this transformation is essential.</p><!-- /wp:html --></p><p>[Category: <a href="" rel="category tag">Uncategorized</a>]</p><p><strong>Tags:</strong> </p>

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