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“This program will help Sri Lanka face the worst financial crisis since independence,” media minister Naraka Godahewa told reporters in Colombo. The government has also approved issuing a five-year visa to foreigners who are spending at least $ 75,000 to buy an island home.
A serious shortage of food, fuel and medicine caused widespread protests, and thousands of people camp outside President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s seaside office to demand his resignation. Sri Lankan officials arrived in Washington last week to negotiate a relief package with the International Monetary Fund.
On Tuesday, the Sri Lankan government said it would not support the restructuring of existing loans in the island nation on the verge of bankruptcy, after which it said it would take another loan from Beijing to repay some of its debt to Chinese banks. He said he was considering it, UNIB / AP reports. Sri Lanka has an external debt of approximately $ 7 billion this year and will need to repay $ 25 billion over the next five years.
A serious foreign exchange shortage means that the country lacks the funds to buy imported goods, leading to a shortage of food, fuel and other necessities. The economic crisis has triggered weeks of national protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Government spokesman Nalaka Godahewa said Beijing was reluctant to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt because it did not want to set that precedent. He told reporters that the Treasury Department would then publish details of its negotiations with China.
Earlier this month, the government announced a suspension of repayment of foreign loans pending negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on a loan restructuring plan.
Sri Lanka’s debt problem is partly due to the fact that the country has built infrastructure such as ports, airports and road networks using Chinese loans, but these projects do not bring money.
Rajapaksa has asked Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who visited Sri Lanka in January, to restructure these loans.
Central Bank figures show that China’s existing loans to Sri Lanka total about $3.38 billion, excluding loans to state-owned enterprises, calculated separately and considered is significantly.
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