SL getting USD 2 billion from UK, US: PM

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Sri Lanka is to receive a sum of US 2 billion from UK and USA, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said yesterday.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said this at the opening of the new lubricant blending plant in Muthurajawala which is a joint venture between Hyrax Oil Malaysia and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC).

“By 2014 Sri Lanka was not in a position to borrow any more. No one liked to lend us funds. This government had a difficult time. Now the economy is being developed. We can receive money now and have the capacity to pay back. Last month we wanted $ 2 billion. today we asked for that amount from London and New York. Some told us not to go there as Sri Lanka will not be able to borrow after the Easter Sunday bombings. Many will be stunned to find out as to how much trust counties have placed on Sri Lanka after the bombings of April 21. We thank all these countries who have come forward to help us. We have been able to get this as we managed to rebuild the economy,” the Prime Minister said.

“Everyone suffered. However, we put in funds to develop schools and for other social empowerment programmes. We gave free insurance to school children, for housing and to construct the highways in Hambantota and Kandy. Youth and others in this country do not expect to live on traditional agriculture and fisheries industry but are waiting to go for modernization of agriculture. It is the right of the industrialists. It is essential for a speedy programme to modernize the economy. We need technology based industries. We need investors to do it. We need foreign investors. They were scared to come to Sri Lanka. I met a group of investors. They said the April 21 bombing is not an issue. For them, the main issue was the Revival of Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilized Assets (Repeal) Bill. They questioned as to why they should invest when there are laws in Sri Lanka where the government could acquire their businesses. This is why the revival of Underperforming Enterprises or Underutilized Assets (Repeal) Bill. Investors are coming now. We will undertake a speedy industrial process,” he added.

“There is no use in engaging in politics and criticizing anyone but one must pull the country though. There is no issue in getting criticized after doing the right thing,” he added

Welcoming the Managing Director Hyrax Oil Sdn Dato Hezimah Zaidiner to Sri Lanka he said her grandfather was from Galle. “He went and invested in Malaysia. Now the granddaughter has returned to invest here in Sri Lanka. I told her that main Muslims in Galle had a house in Galle Fort. She can put a claim for one of those. You might end up owning a luxury boutique hotel. It was a pleasant surprise to find out she was from Sri Lanka. Thank you for this venture for the faith you have on us.,” the Prime Minister said.