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US$ 8 Bn relief achieved through debt restructuring – President

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President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the country has saved US$ 8 billion in total over the past two years due to debt restructuring. Speaking at a ceremony held at the North Western Provincial Council auditorium in Kurunegala yesterday to present deeds to 463 recipients under Urumaya national programme, the President said that the country has four year plan to repay the loans, offering reduced burdens and interest cuts that will yield US$ 5 billion in savings.

“Now, our country has emerged from bankruptcy. We are currently in negotiations with private creditors. As a result, US$ 3 billion has been withdrawn. In total, US$ 8 billion has been allocated for our use, the President said. The President said that the country has been granted US$ 2 billion under relaxed terms and this does not account for funds expected from China or assistance from India. “Additionally, we have been granted US$ 2 billion under relaxed terms This does not account for funds expected from China or assistance from India. As a result, we have saved USD 8 billion over the past two years.”

“Before assuming office, during President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, India provided US$ 3.5 billion on favourable loan terms.Bangladesh also contributed US$ 200 million.Despite economic challenges, we managed to repay US$ 200 million”, he added.

The President emphasized that true socialism lies in granting free land rights to the people, dismissing mere talk about socialism.

He highlighted that his government, credited with rescuing the country from bankruptcy, is actively addressing public issues.He pointed out that an additional 200,000 individuals will benefit from the “Urumaya” freehold land title initiative.

Addressing the gathering, he noted that he assumed leadership during a period of governmental uncertainty. He emphasized that the nation is now recovering from economic turmoil due to effective economic management. He highlighted plans for inclusive development in Kurunegala district as part of advancing the country’s new economy.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further elaborated; In the Kurunegala district, our farmers, who are vital to our rice supply, have lacked rightful ownership of their lands for too long. Today, hundreds of thousands of people across our country face the challenge of living without legal rights to their homes. We launched the “Urumaya” programme to ensure they receive the rights they deserve.

When I took office, it was a time of great uncertainty.Leaders were scarce, but I stepped up to lead. We formed a government by uniting different parties, and together, we’ve made significant strides in addressing the people’s concerns.

When our country’s economy collapsed, many lost hope. Today, I must express my gratitude to the residents of this area. Despite facing personal challenges akin to a house on fire, they prioritized community welfare and worked tirelessly to provide relief. Now, our country has emerged from bankruptcy. We have a four-year plan to repay our loans, offering reduced burdens and interest cuts that will yield USD 5 billion in savings.

We are currently in negotiations with private contractors. As a result, approximately USD 3 billion has been withdrawn. In total, USD 8 billion has been allocated for our use. Additionally, we have been granted USD 2 billion under relaxed terms. This does not account for funds expected from China or assistance from India. As a result, we have saved USD 8 billion over the past two years.

Before assuming office, during President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s tenure, India provided USD 3.5 billion on favourable loan terms. Bangladesh also contributed USD 200 million. Despite economic challenges, we managed to repay USD 200 million.

I’ve had to make tough decisions to rebuild our economy. Raising VAT wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to stabilize our economy. Some leaders urged people to protest and even burn houses, urging them not to support the government. Farmers were told to come to Colombo, but without fuel and fertilizers, they couldn’t come. We provided essential fuel and fertilizers to support them. Eventually, they were asked to come to Colombo without planting crops.

Thanks to the harvest in 2022-2023, the country’s production increased, and tourism thrived. As a result, we’ve achieved an USD 8 billion relief and paved the way to debt relief. When the economy collapses, it affects ordinary people the most. When it recovers, its benefits reach another segment. We launched the “Urumaya” freehold land deeds program to benefit ordinary people. Today, these individuals have full ownership rights to the land they’ve lived on for generations. This is indeed a government’s record.

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