Loan repayments in 2022: US$ 1.46B owed to State banks – SJB
By Nabiya Vaffoor
SJB claimed that the Government owes US$ 1.46 billion in loan repayments to State-owned banks in 2022.
In a Media briefing yesterday, Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva cautioned that failure to make such payments would result in a black mark against the entire local banking system.
He asserted that 99 per cent of the US$ 2.3 billion in Sri Lanka Development Bonds were purchased by a private bank and a State bank, and that Sri Lanka will be required to make bond payments totalling US$ 60 million on 6 November, US$ 23 million on 9 November, US$ 15 million on 17 November, and another US$ 15 million on 19 November in 2022.
According to the MP, Sri Lanka owes a total of US$ 1.46 billion in loan repayments over the next 12 months, and he claims the USD figures are the savings of Lankan expatriates who have worked hard for their country.
If the current trend continues, MP Harsha de Silva predicts that the current economic crisis will turn into a socio-political issue.
“A US dollar is being sold in the black market for Rs 242, which is significantly higher than the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s selling rate,” he said.
De Silva went on to say that the Government has a responsibility to regulate the public’s cost of living within an administrative framework, and that the Government must take preventative action before riots erupt.
“The Government must thus intervene and limit prices of vital commodities rather than putting the burden on the population. They cannot raise taxes by 48.5 per cent after they have already exacerbated the problem,” he further said.
“The Government is to blame for the current economic crisis, and the US Dollar issue was caused by artificially restricting prices. Unnecessary Gazette Notifications also resulted in shortages of gas, rice, sugar, and wheat flour,” he added.
Meanwhile, in response to the decision to raise the price of a loaf of bread effective yesterday midnight, there have been calls for the Administration to resign if they are unable to govern, he said, arguing that they cannot allow this scenario to continue.