The main opposition SJB warns that Sri Lanka might lose concessions from foreign nations and multilateral bodies due to government’s attempts at suppressing the people. Addressing a press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo on Thursday, Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kirielle said: “Investors would not come to a country that does not adhere to the rule of law.”
“Government representatives are traveling from one country to another asking for aid. No one has offered significant amounts of aid so far. The president has been in power for a year now, and we have only received assistance aimed at alleviating the suffering of people, like medical grants. The IMF has given us around 300 million dollars, and India has provided four billion dollars worth of credit. China has given us medical aid and dry rations. This is it,” he said.
Kirielle also alleged that the government has not engaged constructively with China. There is also doubt whether the Paris Club would move on its own without Chinese guarantees of debt restructuring.
“We need to work with China to work out a debt restructuring deal. However, even if we come to a debt restructuring agreement with our donors, it is unlikely that foreign investors will come without stability and the country adhering to the rule of law,” he said.
The SJB MP said the government might be able to find buyers for profit-making state assets and state monopolies.
“It is a stretch of imagination to call these people investors. Someone buying an already profit-making enterprise is not an investor. An investor is someone who would pump money into the country and build productive assets here. He is someone who will create jobs here and transfer technology and knowledge. We have had very little of these in recent years,” he said.
Kirielle added that Sri Lanka risks losing the GSP plus concessions due to the breakdown of the rule of law.
“What has the government done to convince the EU that we are adhering to internationally accepted practices? The government has to establish the rule of law first before it tries to push unpopular reforms on the people,” he said.