ECONOMYNEXT – President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s 2024 budget is a confession to the economic tragedy successive governments have subjected Sri Lanka to for 75 years, opposition MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said.
The leader of National People’s Power (NPP), Sri Lanka’s leading leftist opposition party, said the appropriation bill for 2024 puts Sri Lanka back on the same failed path of “loans and selling assets”.
“The first chapter of the budget presented by the finance minister was a confession to the economic destruction he and his governments had subjected this country to for a long time, the destruction caused by successive governments for 75 years,” Dissanayake said speaking to journalists after the budget presentation Monday November 13 afternoon.
“He then says we have to move on from that destructive path of 75 years. He argued that the economy was built on loans, money printing and selling assets, for 75 years. But what did he say next?”
The 2024 budget also contained proposals to borrow and sell assets, essentially putting Sri Lanka’s economy back on the same old, failed path, said Dissanayake.
The NPP leader, who also leads the Marxist-Leninist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which controls the NPP, also criticised Wickremesinghe’s proposal to raise the borrowing limit from 3,900 billion rupees to 7,350 billion.
“His budget proposals are an extension of his own confession to the economic tragedy,” said Dissanayake.
“Instead of offering permanent solutions to the deep economic crisis, his economic vision is to push the country and the economy on the same old failed path, as revealed by this budget,” he said.
Main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harsha de Silva in a more measured criticism of the budget had a similar view of the proposal to raise the borrowing limit.
“Where do we get those loans? What will happen to interest rates?” said de Silva.
The Colombo district MP, however, acknowledged that the budget would’ve been a challenging one for President Wickremesinghe and was an attempt to put the economy on the right track.