“Write off loans taken for unproductive development projects” | Daily News

“Write off loans taken for unproductive development projects”

Participants at the Press conference in Colombo. Picture by Wimal Karunatillike
Participants at the Press conference in Colombo. Picture by Wimal Karunatillike

Sri Lanka while looking at debt servicing should more seriously talk to donors in writing off some of the loans that were taken for unproductive development projects.

Several associations which summoned a press conference in Colombo yesterday opined that there are series of protections that were initiated which are not productive and in some cases like the Nilwala River project in the Southern province though the loan was taken almost a decade ago the project did not take off.

Similarly, the Iranian funded Uma Olya project in the Uva province too did not complete in full and also caused huge environmental issues. The Arukkal project in Puttalam created to carry and recycle garbage collected from Colombo too did not materialize to its potential. “in addition we can also put the Lotus Tower Project in Colombo too into this category,” said Chairman, Friends of Earth organization Hemantha Wijetunge.

“Hence we appeal from the government and other pressure groups both locally and internationally to talk to donors and explore the possibility to renegotiate this ‘loan’ and obtain a ‘discount’ or completely waive it off.” He said that appeals of this nature for ‘discounts’ or total ‘write offs’ against loans were made by other countries, donor nations like Norway and even China had heeded to these requests.

Executive Director FIAN Sri Lanka, Thilak Kariyawasam said that they hope to make requests of this nature to embassies of donor nations to explore the positivity of debt reductions. “Program Director Law and Society Trust, Sandun Thudugala that there were lot of corruption in most of these projects and a ‘Peoples Audit’ should be carried out to bring the wrong doers to justice not only to punish them but to recall some of the stolen money from them back to Sri Lanka. “International support too should be sought for a ‘Peoples Audit’ of this nature.

He said that they also contacted several Sri Lankans and other activists overseas and a gathering to support this cause was held in Makati City Manila, on September 7 to express solidarity with the people of debt-burdened Sri Lanka as they continue to suffer from acute fuel and food shortages, and warned that the Philippines and other Asian countries also risk a similar crisis. Simultaneous actions were also held in Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia. “We stand by the Sri Lankan people in the exercise of their rights to free speech and assembly.”

Coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement Lidy Nacpil, on Debt and Development (APMDD) from Manila said that they will gather more support not only to help with the Sri Lanka debt crisis but also address similar financial issues in Pakistan and Philippines.



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