President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (26) told the country that any unpopular decisions will have to be taken for Sri Lanka to overcome the global economic challenges and to keep the country on the path to prosperity.
Addressing the 24th Presidential Export Awards ceremony at the BMICH, Colombo, the President said that the people will criticize such decisions, but the country would reap the benefits in the near future.
Therefore, I urge the citizenry to recognize such decisions because we have little other choices in our present situation, the President requested.
“Our development programmes were therefore largely sustained through funding provided by multilateral donors, other countries, and through debt raised in international financial markets.
This has resulted in the country being in an adverse debt repayment position today.
Sri Lanka owes over 4 billion US dollars in external debt repayments in 2021 and 2022, including sovereign bonds repayments of 1 billion dollars and 1.5 billion dollars respectively.
We must also pay nearly 1.3 billion dollars in interest costs alone in 2022, with the proportion of commercial debt to concessionary funding having increased greatly in past decades,” he pointed out.
Speaking further, the President said that The economic consequences of on-going issues such as global energy prices and supply chain issues will continue to impact Sri Lanka in the months to come.
However, he noted that several policy interventions, however, such as the restrictions on certain imports in place since last year, have had beneficial consequences.
“It is in this context that the Government’s policy of encouraging a more environmentally-friendly and health-conscious organic agriculture in Sri Lanka needs to be seen.As consumers around the world become more sensitive to the impacts of climate change, there will be increasing opportunities for export of organic, green, agricultural products,” he said.