SJB blames President’s conduct for IMF aid delay

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) deputy national organiser S.M Marikkar says the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not yet extended its support to Sri Lanka due to the conduct of President Ranil Wickremesinghe. Marikkar noted that it has been nine months since Wickremesinghe’s appointment, and he recalled how the latter initially claimed he would obtain aid from the IMF immediately. “They first said they can obtain support in a month or three months. But it has now been nine months. No creditor has extended us any support. Even if the IMF wants to help us they cannot due to the President’s conduct,” he said. 

The MP said the IMF can still extend aid to Sri Lanka even without assurance from China as it has done so for three countries in the past. “But the IMF and the United States will not support us as we are destroying the democracy in this country,” Marikkar said. The MP made these comments at a press conference held at the opposition leader’s office yesterday. 

Marikkar noted that the United States is urging Sri Lanka to hold Local Government elections without any further delays. The MP said however no aid will be forthcoming if the Government is destroying the democracy in the country. “We will not receive IMF aid even in March” Marikkar predicted and accused the President of attempting to increase reserves by increasing taxes and interest rates. Marikkar said these actions will lead to the collapse of businesses and lead to a decrease in production and exports. “We will lose revenue and see job losses. A brain drain has already commenced,” he said. 

He also noted the President in the midst of all these issues is denying the people their right to franchise. Marikkar said if the President continues his attempts to delay polls the SJB is prepared to go to the international courts of justice and the people’s courts as well. “In the end, the only solution is to oust him,” he said.