Slow decision making worsening crisis – Wickremesinghe

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Highlighting the importance of speedy decision to overcome the present situation in the county, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the delays in making decisions are increasing the burden on the people as prices and tariffs escalate.

According to Wickremesinghe, the Government must create a framework where debt repayments are affordable soon or the current economic situation would further worsen.

The current economic crisis was longtime in the making, he said. “All these issues have been tied into a knot for some time. The Government must decide whether to untie it or cut it. Taking time will make it difficult to untie or cut the knot. The end result is that the next few months will be even more difficult for the people.”

Pointing out that there were complex issues within the current crisis, he said that dollar shortage, reduced state revenue and increased Government expenditure coupled with unbearable debt had weighed on the economy for a considerable period of time. According to him, the unbearable debt burden was mainly created by State-Owned-Enterprises such as the Ceylon Electricity Board to name one of them.

Minister for Power and Energy last week pointed out that the Ceylon Electricity Board included a loss of Rs 79 billion during 2020/2021 and is slated to incur a loss of Rs 100 billion this year as its charges far below the unit cost from consumers.

The average cost per unit is Rs 53 and the Ceylon Electricity Board only charges an average Rs 17 per unit from the consumers.

The Ceylon Electricity Board has requested to increase tariffs as the prices of fuel and coal have increased in the global market as well as the Sri Lankan rupee devaluating against the US dollar. (MA)