PM queries Rs 1.5B Indian credit line


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said, Parliament must find out why the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) entered into a Rs 1.5 billion credit line agreement from India, without negotiating further with China.

In an exclusive interview with NDTV, Wickremesinghe questioned why the CBSL signed the credit line from India, particularly when it lacked three months reserves.

The PM pointed out that one of the main rules when signing a credit line was that it cannot be utilised unless there are three months of reserves.

“At the time of signing, we did not have three months reserves. The question is, why did we sign it? Why didn’t we negotiate further with China and ask them to do away with it? And if we could not, we should not have signed. This Rs 1.5 billion was showing as part of our reserves, and all of a sudden, a country which had zero reserves was showing about Rs 2 billion in reserves. Of that Rs 2 billion, I think 1.9 billion cannot be utilised. So, whether it was just to add on to the reserves, I do not know. Parliament must find out why the Central Bank entered into this agreement,” he asked.

When asked whether in his capacity as Premier, he would find out, he replied in the negative and said it would be Parliament that should carry out the probe. Meanwhile, he said the Chinese Government will be consulted as to the possibilities of amending the agreement.

Responding as to whether Sri Lanka was counting on more help from India till the IMF monies come, Wickremesinghe said they were counting on help from India and that it was a major country that would help Sri Lanka. “There are others, but India has done most of the work for us,” he said.