Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warns that there is a serious risk that a government will not have any funds to pay pensions in another ten to fifteen years.
Responding to a question during the Derana 360° programme, he said that currently the government expenditure is divided between paying away debt and paying wages and that and that it would not be possible to pay pensions by 2030-35.
He urged that consideration needs to be given to that matter as well, when decision are being taken.
In response to a question as to whether the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is the only solution to the country’s financial woes, the UNP MP said that they are all ready to listen to any other solution if there is any.
“Tell me any other country we can receive money from?”
“Give us any better solution. If there is a better place, please do go there. But that is not happening,” he stressed..
With regard to the $200 million currency swap agreement with Bangladesh, he said that is only a short term solution and likened it to “borrowing Rs. 100-200 in an emergency to pay for the three-wheeler when going home”.
“You have to pay that back when you get to work the next day.” He said it is not a long-term loan like what Japan or China gives.
Wickremesinghe said, “no matter who you ask loans from, be it the US or China, they will also say to go to the IMF and get their certificate and come and that they will help however they can.”
“But we are not going there. If there is any other solution, tell us. That’s all we are asking.”
He said Sri Lanka is cash strapped now and questioned as to what will happen if the price of the oil climbed up to USD 100 per barrel, next year.
“How will we survive? I’m a bit scared. I am hoping that it does not come to that, but in the next first quarter if the global economy grows further because there is no more covid, the oil price will increase,” he cautioned.
The former PM said he too is in support of a homegrown solution if there is any such, but questioned whether it can be done.
“I’m also ready, we will hold a good Thovila at the central bank.” – ada derana