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Government rejects IMF dictat

by Anura Maitipe

The government has refused to accept USD 389 million offered by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for policy reforms, Ports and Aviation Minister Mangala Samaraweera told at a news conference held at Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) last week.

He added that the Government has refused funds offered by the IMF for policy reforms the pre-condition of which fund was that government should agree to abolish the pensions scheme, privatise water resources, Inland Revenue Department, Customs Department, People's Bank and Excise Department. In addition send over 300,000 State employees on compulsory retirement, the Minister added.

The UNP government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe had agreed to these conditions. These are the funds that Ranil Wickremesinghe refers to at election rallies. In the event of his victory, he will place these State institutions and water resources on the IMF platter and make 300,000 employees jobless, he warned.

Minister Samaraweera also refuted charges levelled against the Government by the UNP Presidential candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe that the government had not used funds allocated by the Tokyo Donor Conference.

He added that government has entered into US$ 4.5 billion worth of agreements with foreign funding agencies. In addition to this the government has already prepared a long-term plan to utilise promised US aid.

Minister Samaraweera also rejected charges levelled against the Government by the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe of the non-growth of the economy under the UPFA government.

He said that under the UNP regimes economic disparity had widened. Now we have filled this gap upto a certain extent. In 1994 per capita stood at Rs. 600 now it has grown upto Rs. 1,200. In 1994 the GDP stood at 12 percent now it has increased up to 18 per cent. In 1994 export earnings stood at Rs. 1.2 billion now it has grown upto Rs. 5.8 billion and foreign remittances in 1994 were Rs. 600 million and now it has grown upto Rs. 1.5 billion. In 1994 unemployment stood at 12 percent now it has been reduced to 8 per cent.

Once he was a Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader of this country but still the UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe seems not conversant with State affairs.

Therefore his suitability to be the President of this country is in question, the voters will give him a negative answer in the forthcoming Presidential Election, he warned.

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