PM briefs Parliament on economy, agrees to debate

RanilPrime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe today briefed Parliament on the state of the economy in the country and agreed to a debate on the issue.

The opposition called for the debate saying the country was facing a serious economic crisis.

The Prime Minister agreed to the debate on dates to be decided on following discussions with the party leaders.

He said that the new Government is in the process of strengthening the economy of the country and paying off huge debt.

The Prime Minister said that the assistance of the International Monitory Fund has been sought to conduct a Forensic Audit to get a clear picture of Government debt.

Wickremesinghe said that the Government is being forces to pay huge debt in the face of a global economic meltdown.

He also said that some key State institutions, including Srilankan airlines and the state petroleum corporation, were operating at a loss as a result of the actions of the former Government.

The Prime Minister said that despite world fuel prices dropping the Government was unable to pass the benefits to local consumers as the state petroleum corporation is running at a loss.

He said that to face the debt crisis the Government cannot fall into more debt and instead must invite more foreign investments.

Wickremesinghe also announced tax amendments during his speech including an increase of VAT of upto 15 percent.

He also said that the Government is working on trade deals with India, China, the US and other countries in order to help boost the local economy.

The Prime Minister said that he will be visiting China soon for talks following talks already held in China recently between two Government Ministers and the Chinese Government. (Colombo Gazette)

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