We lack capable envoys – Dr. De Silva

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Main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya yesterday (13) lamented that the country does not have professional envoys who can reach out to friendly nations for aid and other support on behalf of Sri Lanka during these trying times.

Speaking during an event in Colombo, MP Dr. Harsha De Silva claimed that this embarrassing scenario came to light when Maldivian Speaker and former President, Mohamed Nasheed was being tasked by the Government to coordinate and  secure foreign aid to Sri Lanka.

“The visions and decisions of Presidents who ran the country since the mid-1990s has led the country into its current predicament. Countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam progressed with the support of the international community; Sri Lanka is in isolation at present due to inward looking policies. Even Middle Eastern countries are unwilling to support Sri Lanka at present,” he added.

Dr. De Silva revealed that leaders of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have not been forthcoming in extending their support even during the current crisis because they do not know who the stake holders are in Sri Lanka’s Government.

MP de Silva also said the Government will struggle to deal with the current issues until the end of this year.

“Sri Lanka will have to wait until the end of this year to obtain a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In order to get money, the IMF board has to approve the loan agreement. It takes a lot of work to do that. That means changes have to be made in fiscal management. Simply put, government revenue has to be increased. We have to reduce the cost. We have to think about subsidies. Above all, we have to move towards a positive programme that restructures those debts”.

Furthermore, Silva said that a group of IMF staff would be in Sri Lanka tomorrow (15) for talks and that they would sign an IMF staff agreement in a month or two. He noted, however, that it was not possible to withdraw money from the agreement.

By Nabiya Vaffoor