The new bridge that was opened by the premier.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who created a world record through unfettered borrowings, should tell the country how he proposes to make his claim to reduce taxes by 20% a reality, if he is returned to power.
During the Rajapaksa era, Sri Lanka’s debt burden zoomed to Rs. 7,391 billion, which meant a ‘record’ of pushing up the country’s borrowings three-fold, he noted. “Now the people have to repay this enormous debt”.
The premier was addressing a meeting after opening the new Ranwala, Aswatte bridge on Friday.
In 2005, when Sri Lanka celebrated her 58th year of independence, the country’s debt was Rs. 222 billion. After that Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected to power. In 2015, when the Yahapalanaya government came to power, the debt burden had zoomed to Rs. 7,391 billion.
“This ‘record’ belongs to Mahinda Rajapaksa. Without any debate, I give the former President his due place for creating this ‘record’. During his tenure, Sri Lanka’s debt shot up by a stupendous Rs. 4,164 billion. When we were elected to power, there was no money in the government even to pay a bill”, Wickremesinghe said.
“As a government, there was no money in the coffer to service the loans taken in the 2013-14 period. This was the pathetic state of the country at the time we took over. Due to the policies we put into place, we are now in a position to repay the debts”, the Prime Minister said.