Sri Lanka PM educates Weerawansa on currency swaps

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka did not mortgage ports and airports to India to get a 400 million dollar currency swap from the Reserve Bank of India, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told an ally of opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Wimal Weerawansa, a Rajapaksa ally questioned whether the China Bay in Trincomalee, Kankasanthurai Port in Jaffna, Mattala Airport and the East Terminal in Colombo Port has been mortgaged to India to for central bank to get a 400 million dollar currency swap from India.

"The currency swap is given under a SAARC (South Asia Association for Regional Corporation) facility," Prime Minister Wickremesighe said.

"It was also there during your time. A currency swap agreement does not involve mortgaging assets.

"You are asking these questions because you are jealous that we got 400 million dollars."

Wickremesinghe said during the 51 days that Mahinda Rajapaksa was appointed as Prime Minister, Sri Lanka lost a billion US dollars in forex reserves, the rupee fell and the country was hit by a credit downgrade.

Sri Lanka has earlier announced plans to get an India firm to invest in a consortium in the East Container Terminal in Colombo Port but President Maithripala Sirisena had reportedly objected to it.

Wickremesinghe was also keen to get Japan and India to be involved in developing Trincomalee port as part of efforts to jump start maritime activity in the Bay of Bengal. (Colombo/Jan08/2018)






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