SL needs 25 years to repay debt – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Sri Lanka will need 25 years to repay the money borrowed from creditors locally and internationally.

He said the Sri Lankan Government has already started discussions with the IMF and reached a staff-level agreement, adding that they also have to talk to India, China, and Japan and to the private creditors.

“It is not a secret that we are broke as a country.

We have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps,” he said.

President Wickremesinghe, who visited the United Kingdom to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, took part in a meeting organised by the Sri Lankan High Commission.

The President also commented on winning future challenges as a Commonwealth country under the leadership of the new King of Britain.

He said, he wants the Commonwealth to be strong, to go ahead, and the UK has been a friend and ally for a long time. “We have been under the rule of UK and we have been an independent country having relations with UK. It goes back a long time. There are times we have agreed with the UK and there are times we have disagreed with the UK. So, those are bonds that we have, whether it is labour or conservative or coalition and we want to maintain those relations. Many of us may not be there, but let us be the people who contributed to it. It also calls for looking at the political activity, and how we accommodate the views of a lot of the younger generations,” he said.

Speaking further, he also commented that if you want democracy you must have rule and order, and rule of law. He said no one can determine whose houses are to be burnt and whose offices are to be taken over. “That is not democracy. What is democracy is acting according to the rule of law. Back in March and April this year, the youth of this country and many others agitated and we have included their views in the Oversight Committees of Parliament. Nineteen committees will have provisions for five youth members each. No other country has done that. They can write an addendum to any report that is sent by the committee. We have to reach out to them. That is not enough, we have to reshape society looking at the future and what they want, not what we want. We have got to look at different ways to engage people,” he said.

The President also said former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Victor Ivan are engaged in another non-government work of having Jana Sabhas in every Grama Niladhari Division.