Loans not an option, need investments – President

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During a meeting held with Ambassadors of EU countries in Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said loans are not an option and what the country currently needs is new investments.

“Instead of further debt, Sri Lanka needs new investments,” he said adding Sri Lanka would benefit from a debt moratorium given the current situation.

The meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat was centered on rebuilding the economy after the COVID-19 crisis, the President’s Media Division said.

He said the country was able to quickly deploy the public health system to address the health threat caused by the pandemic.

“The Public Health Inspectors with the support of the Police and Security Forces were able to engage in contact tracing accurately. It was not only those who were infected but also the associates of the infected were also quarantined. These measures helped Sri Lanka to successfully combat the virus. The next concern before the country is reviving the economy and the current growth rate is very low and the national debt is high,” he said.

To control this dire situation, the President said certain controls and restrictions on imports were needed.

“However, this does not mean Sri Lanka will be a closed economy,” he said.

At the same time the President stressed the importance of developing domestic industries.

“Most food items can be produced locally. Therefore, we need to modernize this sector. It is also important to introduce organic fertilizer, better quality seeds and implement advanced technology,” he said.

The President directed the EU delegations’ attention to projects such as renewable energy using solar and wind power generation.

The PMD said the EU delegation responded positively to President Gotabaya and discussed at length a number of ways their respective countries abilities to engage with Sri Lanka in these areas.