20 July, 2024

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Will What Happened In Kenya, Happen In Sri Lanka

By Harsha Gunasena

Harsha Gunasena

Ahilan Kadirgamar (hereinafter referred as AK), whose colourful academic credentials i.e., bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, master’s in economics and a doctorate in anthropology would impress anyone,  has written an article titled “Kenya to Sri Lanka: Protests, IMF and High Ambition” to the Daily Mirror published on July 1, 2024.

I have written this reply to Daily Mirror but I thought of sharing this with Colombo Telegraph readers as well.

AK basically criticized the respective IMF programmes in Kenya and Sri Lanka and was in the verge of predicting  that Sri Lanka also will face riots  similar to Kenya.

There were certain misinterpretations in the article of AK and the intention of this article is to address those points.

The demands of the Kenyan movement now for the resignation of their president echoes what we heard here all over Sri Lanka, resulting then in the flight of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.” This  statement by AK is literary correct but the causes  for the two incidents were completely the opposite. The former was associated with the solution and the latter was associated with the problem.

We will examine why the so-called solution had to meet stiff resistance from the people during the latter part of this article. Prior to that there are a few points which should be clarified. AK stated the following in the latter part of his article. ”The political opposition in Colombo waiting for the elections later this year need to wake up. If they cannot come up with an alternative to the IMF path of so-called economic recovery, their political future may end up the same as in Kenya.”

Both the main opposition parties SJB and NPP stated that they would continue with the IMF programme but both of them stated that they would renegotiate the agreement with the IMF. To my knowledge they have not clearly mentioned the areas they would renegotiate with the IMF and to what extent. In response to these claims IMF Sri Lanka Mission Head Peter Breuer responded in a press conference as follows “So, I mean, more broadly speaking, with respect to, you know, proposals, as I said before, we’re willing to listen to different views of how the program objectives can be reached, and these need to be realistic and achievable within the timeframe of the program. So that’s very important.”

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s regime was against asking the help from the IMF which was clearly spelled out by Nalaka Godahewa prior to the elections, and it was clearly carried out by Nivard Cabraal, the political appointee to the Governorship of the Central Bank, who was more vocal than the Minister of Finance, during the crisis. Cabraal stated that he had a home-grown solution to the crisis rather than asking the help from the IMF. Had they asked that help prior to the bankruptcy Sri Lankan public would not have faced such a disastrous situation. What did Cabraal do? He dealt with the Central Banks of India and China and arranged currency swaps. That was the home-grown solution which was not adequate to rescue Sri Lanka.

If the NPP does not have an alternate solution to the IMF, why do not AK and the rest of the similar minded economists put forward an alternate solution and then all of us could debate and if acceptable we all can push the Presidential candidates to accept and adopt it.

I do not agree with the foreign policy of the USA or that of Russia or that of any other powerful country since naturally my perspective is the Sri Lankan perspective. However, there could be certain alignments on those different perspective at different times and such alignments may have led to the so-called high ambition rhetoric referred to by AK.

AK says “That such financialisation is at the root of the current wave of sovereign debt crisis was propelled by commercial borrowings in international capital markets is not a consideration (for Washington or for the IMF)”. Not really. The root of the wave is arrogance and lack of financial literacy at the highest levels of the governments resulted in the negligence of the basics. One cannot blame Wall Street for that.

The statement of AK can be examined further in the Sri Lankan context since there is a link between financialisation and debt crisis. Sri Lanka was upgraded to lower middle-income country in 1997 and as a result Sri Lanka lost access to most concessional financing which means loans with lower interest rates and longer repayment periods. Sri Lanka issued first International Sovereign Bond(ISB) in 2007. Politicians and the top rank government officials are happy with these loans since those loans although come with higher interest rates and shorter repayment periods, equally associates with no conditions. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s  government prevailed  at that time promoted domestic infrastructure and consumption driven growth with the ISBs and China Exim Bank loans. The top Ranks of that government looked down upon the institutional and bilateral loans with low interests and more conditions. That was one reason why the light rail project of Japan was stopped abruptly during the time of Gotabaya Rajapaksa.   

AK also says, “It is futile to pursue the IMF’s path of debt resolution, as the IMF’s interests are aligned with those of the creditors and the West.”No. IMF interests are aligned with the fundamental interests of the borrowing country. If and only if the borrowing country is financially stable the IMF loan and the other loans can be repaid. IMF is not involved in the debt restricting negotiations which would result in writing off a portion of the loans (haircuts) and/or lowering the interest rates and/or prolonging the repayment period. After the restructuring the agreed amount should be paid or else that country  can remain an outcast to global financial transactions and go back to an ala bathala economy.

What happened in Kenya? Willium Ruto became the Kenyan President in 2022 and the IMF support schemes namely Extended Fund Facility(EFF) and Extended Credit Facility(ECF) were requested and approved during the time of previous President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2021. The International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation of post election violence of 2007-08 against both Ruto and Kenyatta. Ruto’s aggression against the recent peaceful demonstrators  was widely condemned.

Kenya like Sri Lanka was facing prolonged twin deficits i.e. budget deficit and current account deficit. IMF is not at fault for having these deficits. As a result of these deficits the debt of Kenya got piled up. Then Kenya requested the assistance of the IMF. Not that IMF voluntarily offered helping Kenya.

In Kenya there is no free health care in comparison to Sri Lanka. Many government hospitals offer free or low-cost medical services. These services often cover essential health care, maternal and child health services, and treatment for certain diseases. There is medical insurance scheme and free community health care programmes organized by NGOs are in operation. University education in Kenya is not free. There are certain concessions in government universities. Kenya is a lower middle-income country but the challenges of poverty and income inequalities remain. In 2019 almost one third of Kenyans (33.6%) were living below the poverty line.

The EFF and ECF programme objective in relation to Fiscal policy was to undertake growth-friendly fiscal consolidation to preserve debt sustainability by bolstering revenue primarily through broadening of the tax base and curtailing overall spending while prioritizing high-impact social and investment expenditure. Primary balance of the government budget which means total income minus total expenditure other than interest payments and loan repayments was negative and the intention was to make it positive by increasing the revenue and reducing the expenditure.

Prior to the grant of the IMF facility Kenya increased the maximum income tax from 25% to 30% and the VAT rate from 14% to 16%. This was a reversal of previous tax cuts. The ratio of Kenyan Income Tax revenue  to VAT revenue was 62:37. In the projections also they maintain the same proportion. This is quite contrary to the Sri Lanka situation.

This may be due to the fact that considering the higher  income inequality and higher poverty rate.

However this consideration was reversed in the Finance Bill 2024 where bread was subject to 16% VAT among several other products  which was previously exempted. In addition to that the government introduced 25% exercise duty on cooking oil and as a result the price of cooking oil was increased by around 80% in the retail market. In respect of imported sugar, the current exercise duty of KES 42.91 per kg was increased to KES 257.55 per kg. In respect of Income Tax there were no drastic changes, but certain tax exemptions were removed. There was no increase of Income Tax rate. The impact of these changes on the national budget would surely change the Income Tax to VAT ratio. Income Tax is paid by those who can afford to pay, and VAT is paid by all the consumers. If VAT is increased on essentials in a country where there is a higher poverty rate, it will eventually lead to social unrest.

A government should be prudent and should know where to collect the taxes and where to cut the expenses in order to strengthen fiscal stability. When things go wrong one cannot blame the IMF or Washington for that. Therefore, one cannot predict that what happened in Kenya will happen in Sri Lanka as well.

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Latest comments

  • 8
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    The writer ends ” Therefore , one can not predict that what happened in Kenya
    will happen in Sri Lanka as well . ” About the situation in Kenya , IMF Boss
    Kristalina Georgieva is reported to have said ” When the IMF gives you
    conditions , you don’t need to pass on the Bulk to the people when you know the
    situation in your country . ” The IMF conditioned the loans on hiking taxes ,
    reducing subsidies and Cutting Government Waste . Now , 47 SOE are to be
    dissolved , the number of Govt advisers halved , non-essential travel by public
    officers suspended And Budgets Removed Fo the Wives of the president and
    Deputy . If the Measures Taken By Kenya is valid for us too and the Loan
    Condition Looks Same to Sri Lanka Then What happened in Kenya Can happen
    anywhere else with poor Revenues . It is predictable . Where do we stand on
    cutting Waste ? Is our Govt not passing the Bulk to the people ? Simply , we have
    a different Culture , So , we are not on the streets . MARA and RW wagon is standing
    ready to deal with any situation with iron fist . Opposition knows it . Unless
    organised , no voluntary protest will rise up and in that sense , Yes , what happened
    in Kenya May Not Happen In Sri Lanka .

    • 7
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      whywhy,

      If Kristalina Georgieva said that the IMF conditions need not pass onto the bulk of the people, it means that a plan to tax the monied-elite is also fine with them. Ranil building up commercial venture in the midst of bankruptcy for future Generation-2048, will only heap even more debt onto Lankan parents and grandparents, and most probably pass onto this future generation as well. Debt will never be paid back.

      NPP and Anura, thus sanctioned by the IMF, will tax the wealthy, spread the wealth, and by 2028, then and only then restart the commercial venture. All will be far more successful that way. Country money will stay in-country, and we won’t have to sell ourselves to India, China, US, Japan et al. to sustain.

      • 2
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        ramona therese fernando

        “it means that a plan to tax the monied-elite is also fine with them”- definitely. Property tax will be coming next year. I do not know why it was delayed.
        “NPP and Anura, thus sanctioned by the IMF, will tax the wealthy, spread the wealth, and by 2028, then and only then restart the commercial venture.” – Let them come up with a plan. How to earn and how to spend. We will discuss it at that point.

        • 3
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          Good Idea. No point Pre-empting Thoughts!!!???

        • 3
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          Harsha Gunasena,

          Ranil will only tax the suffering working class who have high home mortgages. Ancestral homes and millionaire businessmen property won’t be taxed as Ranil is depending on their monies to magically create the commercial venture that usually looks after their solely exclusive lifestyles and untaxable offshore accounts.

          • 2
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            ramona therese fernando

            How do you know? When Ranil increased the upper limit of income tax to 36% NPP and the others objected. They said taxes were too high and wanted to reduce it. They were not specific. They could have said to increase the lower tax limit of 100,000 and widen the tax brackets but they were targeting the upper limit of 36%. If it was reduced the high income groups would be benefited. There was huge protest against income tax increase. I have spoken in favour of tax increase.
            When the VAT was increased and widened there was no big protest. NPP and the others were silent. Common people were affected by this. NPP could not say that the government agreed rate of VAT with IMF was 15% although the government increased it to 18%. I have raised this issue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9Z3P8Qmbgw&t=1s

            NPP was invaded by middle-class professionals who are no different to Viyathmaga and who think that all the evils will be eroded by catching thieves.

            NPP is focusing on to maintain state run ventures. Those should be privatized and the wealth concentrated in the state should go to the private sector in order to have a higher growth.

            • 1
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              Harsha Gunasena,

              Zero taxation on the monied elite IS Ranil’s top policy.

              But I was speaking about capital gains tax of 35% and more on sale of property+ 35% migration tax. Also that the offshore accounts be divulged and taxed. All the other taxes you mention are only skirting around these main taxes. Only a radical change of government can achieve this.

              • 1
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                ramona therese fernando
                maximum income tax rate was increased to 36% from 1.1.2023 under Ranil.
                Capital gains tax was reintroduced from 1.4.2018 under Ranil.
                Property Tax is going to be introduced in 2025 planned under Ranil.
                Therefore monied elite is not zero taxed under Ranil.
                Interest on foreign currency accounts are free from income tax.
                Highest revenue earners of any country are income tax and VAT or GST and not capital gains tax or migration tax.
                If you say income tax and VAT are skirting around the main taxes of capital gains and migration tax, it is not correct.

                • 1
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                  Na….for the Ranilian policies, maximum income tax rate, capital tax, and property tax are not part of the taxation for the monied elite. VAT and GST are sneaky taxes targeting the poor. But if the other taxes on the elite are actually implemented, country will not need these sneaky taxes. Ranil needs the elite offshore accounts, you see, to plan the India merger. Only NPP will actually implement the income, capital, and property taxes for all, with resonable VATs and GSTs….no need of an India merger with them.

      • 2
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        ramona ,

        Fist of all , thanks for your attention . Latest update . Ruto in Kenya
        has dismissed his cabinet and talks with all sectors including the
        protesting youth , is happening . Youth want Ruto to go . It looks
        part of the parliament is set ablaze . And some reports Bandula
        Gunawardana as saying that our people will burn the parliament .
        The talks on Taxing the wealthy has been fashion politics for
        quite some time . Already we got Brain- Drain and by excessively
        taxing the wealthy we can create a Bum – Drain ! Our wealthy
        guys started to evaporate since about 70s to date . Properties they
        had all gone into pieces to make ends meet . How did Dudley
        Senanayaka have only some Rs 460.00 on his bank account at the
        time of his last breath . Every citizen must be made to pay a tax
        by a trust worthy governance . Direct Tax . Nothing else can help
        a country walk forward . And for that , the Rotten Lot has to
        leave the Play Ground for good . Our leaders are Reduced to Beggars
        and Beggars don’t know nothing other than Begging .

        • 2
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          whywhy

          They will have to pay 30% capital-gains taxes before they leave, and another 30% migration tax….top both to 35% because of the country situation. Getting the money from offshore accounts will require radical change of government to facilitate the returns. Only DS probably had RS460 in his bank account. But we ALL know that bank accounts per se do not not show wealth.
          Rest was probably in all kinds of ancestral estates and overseas real estate…..usual deal being a flat or two in London or Paris. Successive PM’s and Prezs had all the aforesaid + continually laundered money of the hardworking-Lankan-Masses on mainstream and alternate overseas networks.

  • 5
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    The last thing Sri Lanka needs is an uprising which will set the country back further. The only solution is a fair and free election.

    • 5
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      Nobody is addicted to uprisings, but when conditions are creared where an uprising is the only visible option what is the way forward?

    • 0
      1

      I frequently wonder, especially after reading the self-proclaimed pundits’ writings in CT, if they had read the first line they just finished before they started the second line. I contend to name Illumination and Observation as “Sadampi Syndrome”. Here is an excellent example of Sadampi Syndrome: ” The last thing Sri Lanka needs is an uprising ” So, is that your contention the about to be break in North East Monsoon will be bringing your fair and Free lunch from IMF Project Chief, Peter Breuer? Renumber American Ambassador Julie Chung asked once, “Are you sitting and waiting for us to do everything for you?”. Now Peter Breuer has done all needed to secure a land piece in the West- China next Generation Atomic war and you get out of your comfy pensioners chair and bring some fire for Peter to smoke his pipe and celebrate his victory on twisting the arms of the hangy-pangy Evil Emperor.
      In March 2015, Evil robbed the Central Bank only to teach a lesson to the IMF refusing to kowtow for it against China. If China’s loan on Hangbangtota “help fund” robberies had been negotiated at Hangbangtota White Elephant Sale time, now the country would not have been forced to go for an atomic war against China.
      While Evil & Nandalala are celebrating that they have successfully cleared the path to welcome the next white elephant.
      https://www.sundaytimes.lk/240707/news/exiting-default-status-next-for-sri-lanka-cb-governor-says-563555.html
      WHERE ARE THE PROTESTERS?

    • 4
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      The very same or equivalent Idiosyncratic Representatives would be elected!!??

  • 15
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    Some bedtime reading for Ranil and the rest of the crooks who handed this project to Adani ………. https://time.com/6250052/adani-hindenburg-fraud/

    Ranil is born into privilege and never done a real job in his entire life ……. for him, it’s just a game and a big joke: not for the citizens, for them, it’s a matter of life and death ….. and re-colonization ……


    Once again ….. let me reiterate what I’ve said before ……. it was Prabakaran who saved Lanka from India …….. not Fonseka, Mahinda, Ranil, JR …… or any of the other cowardly frauds parading as war-heroes: they wouldn’t have dared to fight India.

    Prabakaran’s great act of patriotism is not acceptable because he is a Tamil.

    While Dayan Jayathilake who was in cahoots with Perumal (or some guy) and a minister of the breakaway government …… was later a “patriotic” ambassador to several countries …….. simply because he is a Sinhalese. ……. That’s how this game is played.

    The truth is not Sinhalese or Tamil: it’s simply the truth.

    Learn to face it.

    • 7
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      Nimal,
      Nothing else is close to the TRUTH than this!!!???

  • 1
    1

    IMF Sri Lanka Mission Head Peter Breuer responded in a press conference as follows: “So, I mean, more broadly speaking, with respect to, you know, proposals, as I said before, ………..”
    I beg your pardon, Sir!

    • 0
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      Captain Morgan
      Take it easy. These things happen. He said what he had to say.

  • 9
    2

    “Therefore, one cannot predict that what happened in Kenya will happen in Sri Lanka as well.”
    Did we predict Gota will be removed by people in Mid 2022?
    There are number of favourable factors for predicting that Sri Lanka will become worse than Kenya. It is true you can’t blame IMF or West or China Or India but Sri Lanka politics is capable to bring worse than Kenya.
    1. You cannot bring peace or political stability by Military Power only.
    2. You are in favour of Corruption because you are depend on Corruptors.
    3. Migration of skilled people from the country.
    5. You cannot find any solution to the problems as long as you are the servant of Fundamentalism and corruptors.

  • 7
    2

    The NPP will phase out the dependent relationship we had with the IMF, having requested help on around 38 different occasions so far. This is because no country that had a dependency with the IMF and WB became developed countries (both the IMF and WB are not in the least compassionate entities whose mission is to help but mere extensions of US global hegemony). This is one of the main reasons why a fundamental change in attitudes, national governance and political structure are critically needed. The game that seasoned rascals and their criminal cabals played for many decades must come to an end this year.

    • 3
      2

      Lasantha Pethiyagoda
      Sri Lanka has gone to the IMF in 16 times previously. In many occasions Sri Lanka has withdrawn from the respective programmes in order to accommodate populist thinking. For instance India went to the IMF seven times but after 1991 in which year they have carried out economic reforms they did not go to the IMF. Now India is a great economy. If we can do the reforms this time we may mot have to go to the IMF once again.

      • 2
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        Monetary, Fiscal and Administrative Discipline Essential!!?? If NOT DOOMED!!???

      • 1
        1

        Mr G,
        .
        Sri Lanka has visited the IMF for the 17th time. This occured though reluctancy. However each of their previous sessions was not successful. After being unsuccessful, our people are used to put the blame on the IMF authorities.
        Earlier they failed to execute 16 times. I think any country that has withstood such dire recommendations would have been able to hold its head high. India, Thailand and many other countries moved in a positive direction after such strong recommendations. That is why our people should not follow negative examples and follow positive examples.
        I think our people should learn from South Korea. They have worked for a cup of porridge. And so it was after Germany, defeated in their world wars, had to rise from the scratch. Hard work and discipline for a short period of time will pave the way for a better future with sustainable economic gains.
        People should be trained to be productive as every citizen of Sri Lanka has to pay their dues. This is a learning process. I believe our people still have a lot to learn from the “South East Asian Countries” who work much harder than the average South Asian who rule the world poverty. They only criticize and do not think they should do their own part.

        • 1
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          leelagemalli

          I agree with you.

        • 0
          0

          I may be wrong but from what little I’ve read ……. I gather very harsh penalties were imposed on Germany after the first WW.

          “The Treaty of Versailles is one of the most controversial armistice treaties in history. The treaty’s so-called “war guilt” clause forced Germany and other Central Powers to take all the blame for World War I. This meant a loss of territories, reduction in military forces, and reparation payments to Allied powers.”

          This imposed unbearable burdens on the German economy and the people ……. the primary cause for the rise of Hitler.

          The Allies recognized their folly and changed tact …….. helped after the second WW …… with the MP.

          • 0
            0

            cont

            “How successful was the Marshall Plan?

            In the end, a total of $13.6 billion (equivalent to $88 billion in 1997 money) was appropriated to the plan. The Marshall Plan was a success. By 1950, the participating countries had returned to, or exceeded, their prewar production levels.”

            “In his book, The Marshall Plan: Fifty Years After, Martin Schain noted three countries were granted over half of the over $12 billion earmarked for the Marshall Plan: Great Britain received approximately 26% France received 18% West Germany received 11%” …….. “That a Europe more prosperous than ever would emerge from this apocalypse astonished the world. Most economies shattered by war returned to pre-war levels of output within five years.”

            You learned gents would know if the motives/aims of “help” provided by IMF ……. is different from the help provided by programs like the Marshal Plan.

            Another reason for Germany’s and Japan’s rapid recovery and economic boom ……. was that they had very little expenditure on national security ……. US and the Allies provided Germany’s ……. and US provided Japan’s ………

        • 3
          0

          How did Malaysia recover after the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997 ……. by rejecting the terms and “help” of the IMF …….. does anyone know?

          Food for thought ………

          • 0
            0

            Good, timely and pithy punch.

    • 3
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      LP,
      “(1) …….Both the IMF and WB are not in the least compassionate entities whose mission is to help but mere extensions of US global hegemony.
      (2) This is one of the main reasons why a fundamental change in attitudes, national governance and political structure are critically needed.”
      My take is,
      (a) Too much (unlimited or beyond reason) SYMPATHY AND COMPASSIONATENESS, which evidently is what, brought about this grief!!?? How could “MORE OF IT” resolve the state of affairs!!?? If you caught FLU or Cold due Bad weather, because of exposing to such, could be cured by MORE of it!?
      (b) There needs to be, fundamental change in attitudes, national governance and political structure are critically needed, which I fully agree with you!!! Essentially, to ensure, that politicians stop acting like Grand Daddies to one and all – ‘Appachche’, and/or caretaker of everyone’s, illness and provide a COMMON medicine, which is ineffective!!?? Specific remedy must be implements to drive-out the MALADY!!?? Otherwise, there is no other way we can come-out of this grave situation!!!??? DEEP ingrained issues and Problems, need, require Radical Solutions – None other way would it Remedy!!!???

    • 6
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      LP
      Politicians can make such promises.
      Can you afford false pledges?

  • 3
    2

    The author is missing the essence of AKs comment.
    It is abut the plight of two countries caught by their b***s by the IMF. How they did is a detail.

    • 7
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      SJ
      The IMF is saying to increase the income and reduce the expenditure. This is common sense. What is wrong with this? They are not here to suggest the ways to accelerate our growth and improve the exports.

      • 4
        1

        Harsha,
        Yes IMF is saying to increase the income and reduce the expenditure but you don’t need IMF to tell this. It is a simple economics. Revenue – Expenditure = + is positive, – is negative.
        Then why should they put the nasty conditions to the loan?

        • 0
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          Ajith
          What are those nasty conditions. All these are available in IMF websitehttps://www.imf.org/en/Countries/LKA

      • 5
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        Harsha,
        Absolutely nothing wrong in that concept!!!???
        Except, Except, (repeat for emphasis) such action wouldn’t Garner Votes!!!??? Make Politicians “Unelectable Quantity”!!?? That is Difficult!!!?? Like, Trump telling Governors to find 11,000+ votes after voting and counting!!??? That may be resorted to, by our very Intelligent, Nay Cunning Political elite, to overcome the Impasse and gain seats in Parliament!!?? Political INFLUECE!!??

        • 1
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          Mahila
          Yes such actions would not garner votes. Voters can decide now whether they want to go towards another bankruptcy or whether they want to go out of it.

      • 2
        6

        What expenditure and what income decide to whom it makes sense.
        The IMF has been nowhere to help anyone but imperialism

        • 0
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          SJ
          Could you be specific please. IMF does not say what expenditure to reduce and what income to increase. It is up to the government. Why don’t you visit the IMF website and let us know what proposals help imperialism? Does Aswesuma help imperialism?

          • 2
            1

            You should know better about IMF prescriptions.
            Have you no idea of their conditions and whom they are deigned to hurt?
            Governments have little say when they get stupid enough to rely on the mercy of the IMF.
            IMF is interested in two things : (1) making sure thar we pay all loans with interest and (2) making sure that we will keep paying.

            • 2
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              SJ
              You are just uttering dogmas.
              You say IMF is interested in making sure that we pay all loans with interest continuously.
              Role of IMF is to support the government to negotiate with the lenders to agree on loan balance which could be repaid over a period of time and to support the government to arrange its internal position for that. This role is not directed at safeguarding the creditors. If we do not wish to pay the creditors we could have done it when we defaulted. Sumanasiri Liyanage suggested it. Declare that we will be not paying the loans and become a pariah state. Then we can be an isolated state and no letters of credits even.
              Even then we have to spend out of our income only which is promoted by the IMF now.
              If you think that any lender would help us to default the pervious lenders, and if not it is imperialism, it is not correct

  • 5
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    Dear Lasantha
    I have not read the article fully. However, I am penning a few lines
    I know a little about IMF and WB politics and little about its policies.
    The late PM of Singapore Lee Kuwan summed it in few words ” we know better about our needs better than any of you, so please do not preach your gospel on third world economies” words to these effects.
    Yes, RW jumping into bed with IMF in a hurry is expected but not the best option. But again beggars can’t be choosers. Did he have a choice? May be selling more of our destiny to the Chinese. I am no expert on this either
    More later
    Ratnam Nadarajah

    • 7
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      Ratnam Nadarajah
      You better read the article and then comment.
      Yes. Lee knew better than anyone else about his country and he was not subject to cheap populist economics. We do not know about our country and that was why we are bankrupt today caused by a populist President.

      • 4
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        What for the telling???
        6.9+ Million ‘Integrated, Thoughtful and Erudite’, “Minds and souls”, at the ready to SALVAGE, under the Command of celebrated Lt. Colonel!!!??? Sadly, it was destined not to path to achieve fruition and reality, instead Starvation, Sickness and Deprivation!!??

      • 6
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        Harsha,
        We Sri Lankans have been living beyond our means!!!??? Every politician who matters promises the entirety of all Comforts and Luxury, which were never budgeted!!???
        If in the budget, it was costed by the Kussiamma’s, and therefore under-costed or erroneous, and beyond means of SL economy!!??
        Primary objective of Budget was not to balance, Income and expenditure, but WHAT WOULD BUY THE VOTES!!???
        So none else to blame – not even politicians, but we ourselves, the VOTERS only solely responsible for MESS, None others for the Myopic, PURBLIND state of affairs, this country is undergoing!!!???
        What a Shame 74 years ago, we had surplus under colonials, and Tragic paradigm change under the control of the Civilians of this proud Nation!!???
        Probably, the outcome would have been better, if the government lent it’s EARS to the Maha Sangha and the Erudite Doctrinaire Monks as our Kings of Yore, may be outcome would have been different! Hey what then would be the outcome, if ½ Dozen, Mercedes-Benz V8’s was assigned to EACH temple, than PRESENT 1 or less than 1, per Temple average, we have NOW!!??
        NO FREE LUNCH EVER!!??

        • 2
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          Mahila, I read all your comments. You’re are absolutely right. People may have difficulty digesting but what you say are real facts.

    • 2
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      RN
      Chinas buying us out is no good, but does the selling out to the US and India bother you in the least?

  • 2
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    Dear Lasantha
    I have not read the article fully. However, I am penning a few lines
    I know a little about IMF and WB politics and little about its policies.
    The late PM of Singapore Lee Kuwan summed it in few words ” we know better about our needs better than any of you, so please do not preach your gospel on third world economies” words to these effects.
    Yes, RW jumping into bed with IMF in a hurry is expected but not the best option. But again, beggars can’t be choosers. Did he have a choice? May be selling more of our destiny to the Chinese. I am no expert on this either
    More later
    Ratnam Nadarajah

  • 5
    1

    I do not know why Kenya had to get from IMF/WB/International creditors. But certainly not due to minorities bashing as in the so called Buddhist Country. It is time for a CHANGE for SL. A change that is should come this year.Sooner the BETTER so that we could see the crooked in jails and not in Prison Hospitals. It is big NO for RW/ RAJAPAKSAS/ PREMADASA/D.PERERA etc

  • 5
    1

    Could someone tell me WHY are they taking long time toput forward a brand new CONSTITUTION for our country. This should GUARANTEE the minorities RIGHTS / a secular country/ allow only uncorrupted educated to become Parliamentarians/ Judiciary above the Parliament etc

    • 7
      1

      Hi Naman,
      Perhaps, it is because of Lack of Intention and will – ab Initio!!??

    • 0
      5

      @Naman – This would only be possible if we implemented martial law to enforce knowledgeable administrators to govern the country. However, corruption is deeply ingrained in our society; it is neither feasible nor democratic to eliminate it through such means. To give you a recent example, as I understand it, a group of doctors and temporary medical administrator doctor is at odds over organized corruption at Chavakachcheri Base Hospital. This shows that even educated professionals are not free from corruption. No system will change this, except alleviating poverty and ensuring everyone is in the middle-income bracket, so no one resorts to corruption to increase their wealth.

      • 4
        1

        What a splendid way – Day Dream!!!???

      • 1
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        “To give you a recent example, as I understand it, a group of doctors and temporary medical administrator doctor is at odds over organized corruption at Chavakachcheri Base Hospital. This shows that even educated professionals are not free from corruption. “
        Corruption is not limited to South or Sinhalese Politicians or Sinhalese officers, it is widespread from Top to bottom. We don’t need martial law or educated administrators but we only need a few people like that doctor to bring the facts in front of people. The doctors bravery made the public to stand along with the doctor. But I am sure that the current system will not allow to hear the voice again. Aragalya protest with public support made the President to run away the President but it couldn’t bring back the system change or reduced the corruption.

        • 0
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          @Ajith -That’s exactly my point: there is no difference when it comes to corruption. The Aragalya participants and supporters are now being targeted and put behind bars one by one on fabricated lawsuits. The same goes for the doctors trying to do the right thing. Therefore, the public outcry is an impulsive reaction for the time being, but it doesn’t bring any meaningful change. The wealth controlled by the *R family has never been scrutinized to date. RW used Aragalya to achieve the impossible: to become President. The same will happen with NPP and its leader in the future. Nothing is possible through democratic means. Even Singapore achieved its status through underlying power dynamics, with Lee Kuan Yew and PAP consecutively gaining power by practicing flawed democracy (read for yourself what happened to opposition parties and their leaders). GR didn’t run away because of the people but because he sensed he had lost support from the military for unknown reasons.

    • 3
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      Naman,
      All the conditions you require in the new Constitution would involve a System Change but 90 percent of those in power do not want that. This is the reason why they are dragging their heels in drafting a new Constitution. Oh yes, that includes the almighty Leader!

  • 2
    3

    SL borrowed billions of Dollars and built roads, which are empty most of the time and cannot recover funds from the motorists even to pay the interest on the loans. If they invested that borrowed money in a fertiliser project to feed the farmers as SL is an agricultural country, that would have saved billions of dollars for the country.
    Also they would have opened govt land to open solar farms feeding electricity to the grid, saving billions on oil imports. They would have given this to the private sector with incentives to implement. Every citizen would have benefited. Instead of talking about IMF and what happened in Kenya which is BS.

    • 5
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      Raviw,
      “…….invested that borrowed money in a fertiliser project to feed the farmers as SL is an agricultural country that would have saved billions of dollars for the country
      ………..opened government land to open solar farms feeding electricity to the grid”
      How any of above could happen??? Day Dream!!???
      The people involved are inside the Walauwe in Weeraketiya and their vision is impaired in all but the way to get all aggrandisement to their Vault!!! I’m not personally aware of the Height of the Boundary Fence but being a very Conservative Family of the DEEP South, would expect, to be at least 6 ft. High!!???
      Nevertheless, it’s futile to complain now, because “Too Late”, because the funds have gone to Uganda to Stave-Off possible RIOTS, in old “IDI AMIN” country and save the progeny of Africans and Cafe Ceylon in Kampala!!?? At least it makes sure; Our COLONIAL Past is UPHELD for posterity in a different CONTINENT!!?? That in itself is great Patriotic Nationalist feat unmatched ever!!!???
      They cover themselves with a ‘Colour’, within Sri Lanka and different shade, Hue when overseas! They are Past Masters, “fooling Locals, who follow them with blind divinity!!!?? USD 39 Billion!!??
      Whither Sri Lanka!!???

  • 1
    5

    Dear Harsha,
    .
    Are you familiar with Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake’s writings and work? Her position on IMF and Sri Lanka’s crisis?
    .
    Here’s an example of her writings if you are unaware of: https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/imf-sri-lankas-resource-curse-privatization-of-the-central-bank/
    .
    What are your views? Bretton Woods was I believe the stepping stone to the current global economic doctrine dominated by the US and their tentacles like the IMF.
    .
    It looks like there’s some truth to the claim that this crisis is ‘manufactured’.
    .
    Anyways, just for the record there’s an alternative to the current IMF led path. Based on a development plan/trajectory presented to the World Bank Group, based on which investment may come through the IBRD – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, fir an accelersted development programme to be implemented in Sri Lanka.
    .
    But R&R ( Ranil Rakapaksa) clan, who belongs to the Supreme Govigama caste, of who the current government is formed, and their Govigama henchmen seem to stand on its way and have become the biggest hindrance.
    .
    TBC

    • 1
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      Continued…
      .
      They are suffering from a severe case of casteism. Since this presentatin has been made by a non-Govigama caste person and funds to realisation of which therefore may channelled to a good extent through non- govigama caste individuals, these jokers are dying of envy and hatred. In their efforts to sabotahe this they have made Sri Lanka essentially lawless.
      .
      Their endeavours are coordinated on the ground by an individual called Sugath Hewapathirana, locally operating Govigama Mafia man, with his family, are working night and day to sabotage this initiative or to try and grab it for themselves.
      .
      There are few individuals that comment here too who support this crony criminal lot. One is a white collar criminal (financial crimes) commenting under the pseudonym “old codger”, another is someone called “Nathan”.
      .
      They are also backed by the Tamils, the church, particularly evangelicals, Indian intelligence service and their international allies in the western world, and Tamil diaspora that scattered around the world, primarily in Europe.
      .
      In addition there are others who have align themselves with these criminal forces. Like Sarath Fonseka and Patali Champika Ranawaka of SJB.
      .
      These funds may not be there for too long for us to make use of, the activities of these selfish greedy and criminal element may drive the potential imvestors and investment away. We already have lost several important investments/projects.
      .
      R

    • 5
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      “But R&R ( Ranil Rakapaksa) clan, who belongs to the Supreme Govigama”
      The Rajapaksas are Karawes like you. Don’t look up and spit.

      • 1
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        Sorry oc
        Rajapaksa is not a K spelling.
        Are they not cattle herders?

    • 3
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      Dear ruchire,
      I am writting to you cos you seem to be the only person who see the reality in the country. You are right. Of course, if we asked, we could got plenty loans from Soviet Union instead of goddammit IMF. Why our leaders cannot follow successful Mathini??
      After all, in mathini time we have lot of local manufacturing, even if all cloth is same colour, it is our cloth, no?
      And, talking about yr enemies the Goigama mafia, yes they are very danger people. They are saying we kara buggers smelling of fish but they smelling buffalo shit, of course.
      U are right, Sarath Fonseka, Champika , church, Indians are all anti national.
      Old Codger, Nathan also anti national. Be careful of that Lester, he isnt you friend.
      I heard this codger fellow is adviser to US, Indian, and Chinese embassy.

      • 1
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        notohypocrisy – Thank you for your comment. I have no friends in this country, definitely not among Sri Lankans, whatever their cast, creed, or class. But I have found a new meaning in the saying “I have no friends, I have family”. Not sure if you are a movie buff, if not, it’s from one of the Fast & Furious movies. Though it’s a quote from Vin Diesel, Jason Statham is still my hero, and I tend to believe is a bigger deal. Thanks for the heads up though. Hope you have a great weekend ahead.

        • 1
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          Mr. Ruchirs,
          I am sorry to know you have no friends. At least I sure yr family are yr friends. Xcuse me for saying, but maybe you Mr. Ruchirs must be more friendly, no? Only then you make friends 🙂🙂
          I am good Sinhala Buddist (I think). Like you, I don’t hate people’s. Only goigamayas I am not liking. Yes, Mr. Sinhalaman is good but little nutty, no?

    • 1
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      Ruchira
      No. I have not read her articles. Thanks for informing. She has written several articles. Seems to be interesting.
      Since you have mentioned about caste please read the following if you have time.
      https://www.ft.lk/columns/India–I-bow-down-to-thee-with-profound-respect/4-654255

      • 3
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        Harsha,
        Very interesting, but it will be very unpalatable to those who try to conceal the reality in this country.

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