Track­ing Back

Since Sri Lanka is caught in a mire of fi­nan­cial woes, its plan­ners are in­clined to bring China back into the equa­tion.

Southasia - - CONTENTS - By Ma­lik Muham­mad Ashraf

The coun­try could fit into China’s mod­ern Silk Road scheme.

With the de­feat of Mahinda Ra­japaksa last Jan­uary and the re­cent tri­umph of the United Free­dom Party in the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, Sri Lanka may have be­gun its jour­ney to­wards be­com­ing a more demo­cratic en­tity ded­i­cated to ad­dress­ing the fault lines that have cre­ated fis­sures within so­ci­ety and which were the root-cause of the armed con­flict for over 26 years. But the coun­try’s woes have not ebbed as it is prob­a­bly fac­ing the worst fi­nan­cial cri­sis of its history, which if not sur­mounted in the near fu­ture, could jeop­ar­dize all the po­lit­i­cal gains made in the re­cent past and con­se­quently even un­der­mine the unity and in­tegrity of the coun­try. A re­port of the Cen­tral Bank of Sri Lanka re­veals that the to­tal gov­ern­ment debt in­creased to 7.39 tril­lion ru­pees in 2014, up from 6.79 tril­lion in 2013. The to­tal for­eign debt dur­ing the same pe­riod rose to 3.33 tril­lion ru­pees from 2.96 tril­lion. The Fi­nance Min­is­ter of Sri Lanka has ad­mit­ted that the debt ser­vic­ing of the coun­try was al­most equiv­a­lent to 95.4% of the rev­enues col­lected by the gov­ern­ment.

The gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Sirisena since its in­cep­tion in Jan­uary has been strug­gling to tide over the fi­nan­cial cri­sis. In April, it tried to seek par­lia­men­tary ap­proval for is­sue of trea­sury bills worth 400 bil­lion ru­pees, but this was blocked by the op­po­si­tion

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