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JO urges Speaker to probe PM’s ‘secret loan claim’ ‘Foreigners will be reluctant to invest here’
Published Date: 22/11/2017 (Wednesday)

The Joint Opposition (JO) yesterday said it had handed over a letter to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, asking him to launch an investigation into Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim that the former government had obtained ‘secret loans,’ and keep Parliament informed.

Addressing a press conference at the parliament complex, JO MP Bandula Gunawardena said that 12 MPs had signed the letter."Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe on Nov 20 at the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the Treasury Bond scams, said the former government had obtained secret loans. He said several foreigners were coming after him and his government asking for repayment. We consider this a grave problem because after this claim, there is a possibility of international investors hesitating to invest in Sri Lanka."

The Finance Ministry presented the reports on the state debt to the parliament according to the Public Finance Management Act. Besides the ministry presented annual reports on the state debt annually. Furthermore, the Central Bank also published reports from time to time, Gunawardena said. But, none of those reports had revealed that the former government obtained secret loans.

"But, the PM keeps saying that Sri Lanka has drawn secret loans and his government has had to repay them. We obtained loans from international institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank. These institutions will not accept the claim that Sri Lanka has obtained loans secretly. The veracity of the reports we have provided them will be questioned. This is not good for the country."

Gunawardena said that according to the article 148 of the Constitution, Parliament responsible for public finance. "Parliament has the right to know about these ‘secret loans’ if there are any. Therefore, the JO requests the Speaker to carry out an investigation and inform the house of its findings."

UPFA MP Ranjith de Zoysa also addressed the press.

Source: The Island

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