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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allegation that the government is selling off its assets is malicious - Finance Minister

Colombo, 09 December, (Asiantribune.com):

In a statement, Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake has alleged that while his government was making meaningful endeavours to convert the infrastructure facilities constructed by the previous government at colossal cost with foreign loans the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa making allegations that, “the government is selling off the national assets”.

Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake has categorically and vehemently rejected those allegations and added it was unbecoming of a person who ruled this country twice to implement such a vicious circle to mislead the people.

The Minister of Finance observed that the previous government put the nation in a debt trap making the country unaffordable to bring any returns on its development. Added, the cost for Hambanthota Port and Mattala Airport initially made as unsolicited proposals were later doubled at the time of implementation. “As a result the government’s revenue gradually deteriorated to an average of 11 % of the GDP.”

The Minister said, “Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during his recent visit to China held successful discussion with Chinese authorities to convert these credits into equity. Accordingly, the Hambanthota Port which failed to bring return on its huge investment will be converted in to a joint venture between the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and China with the equity of over one billion US dollars. This will enable the government to retire a sizeable portion of the loan obtained for the Hambanthota Port. Similarly, Mattala Airpot, Srilankan Airlines and Hambanthota Investment zone will have Public Private Partnership Investment (PPP) without selling off or privatizing any assets of the nation as alleged by former President and his allies which is malicious and misleading. It is pity that even certain trade unions are making the same allegations giving life to the vicious circles of those politicians.”

Minister Ravi Karunanayake pointed out, “After the budget – 2017 was presented in Parliament Mahinda Rajapaksa has unleashed another canard to say that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka is to be privatized. At the time the government has taken the steps to convert the country into a manufacturing economy all stake holders representing all sectors of the economy have hailed the budget as a positive step towards it. The government perceives these acts by former President as malicious and misleading attempts with an ulterior motive to jeopardize the economic development of the country.”

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake further said -

“In- fact the assets of this nation was sold off to foreigners during the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The land of the Army Headquarters at Galle face and a land at Hambanthota were given as a freehold to a foreign company to construct Hotel complex. At that time there was a 100 % levy on land purchased by foreigners. But this was waived off by the previous government at the behest of the then Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

In addition, at the Colombo Port city the then government not only gave the foreign company the portion of reclaimed land as freehold but also excluded it from the Sri Lankan jurisdiction as well. But no sooner this government came into office it took the initiative to retake the land given freehold to China bringing them under the Sri Lankan jurisdiction.

As a result of Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa ruled this country twice while serving as the Minister of Finance as well what we inherited was an inflated GDP growth largely due to high cost infrastructure facilities carried out without prioritizing them to suit the needs of the economy.

This didn’t have any favourable effect on the economic development and the end result was the unprecedented increase on the debt servicing and the deterioration of national revenue making it impossible to cover the recurrent expenditure or the debt servicing.

Under this context how can Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa MP make claim that during his government the country was developed. It must be the reason for ministers of his cabinet to allege that there were economic killers in the government at that time,” thus the Finance Minister concluded his comments.

- Asian Tribune -

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s allegation that the government is selling off its assets is malicious  - Finance Minister
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