Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded the Finance Ministry to reveal Sri Lanka’s actual outstanding debt.
Speaking during the second reading debate of Budget 2023, Dissanayake said according to the information they have, the total debt of the country is close to Rs 25 trillion.
“From this Budget, the President has proposed to borrow another Rs 3 trillion next year. In 2021, the total government income was Rs 1.464 trillion. However, to pay pensions and salaries and debt interest the country needed money exceeding this total income. We had to pay Rs 1.048 trillion as debt interest. This is 72 per cent of the total income. How can a country bear this type of burden?” he queried.
“Although both the President and the Central Bank Governor claim that the economy has stabilised to a certain extent, this isn’t entirely true. There was a severe fuel and essential commodity shortage in the first months of the year. Now it seems that the shortages have been resolved to a certain extent. But, what has actually happened is the authorities are using USD 3.2 million which was supposed to be used to pay off debts to import these essential items. We are still in a huge crisis,” he said.
By Methmalie Dissanayake (Ceylon Today)