BY Kiara Warnasuriya
Ape Jana Bala Pakshaya (Our Power of People Party) MP Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera stated yesterday (1) that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not the answer to Sri Lanka’s present crisis, claiming that it has not succeeded in saving a single country over the past few years, and that it will therefore, not succeed in saving Sri Lanka either.
“From 2015 to date, the IMF has not been able to save a single country. The result of dealing with the IMF will be that any independent strategy that is available to Sri Lanka to emerge from this crisis will be blocked.”
The monk observed that one such independent strategy is printing money, and pointed out that the IMF cannot impose any conditions on countries like Myanmar, the Republic of Korea , and Cuba, because they print their own money.
“I am not in favour of a military Government, but Myanmar does not face starvation, addictive drug problems, or the collapse of the State machinery. I am not saying that we need to form a Government like Myanmar, I am only saying that there are countries surviving without the conditions of the IMF.”
Rathana Thera also indicated that the IMF targets countries like Sri Lanka because of its inability to control the US and all countries belonging to Europe excluding England that print their own money.
“Does the IMF give permission to America to print US dollars? What right does America have to maintain the US dollar at such a high rate? The IMF cannot impose any conditions on the use of Euros in Europe, because that authority lies with the European Parliament.”
He also noted that while it was possible for the IMF to limit and impose restrictions on countries like Sri Lanka three decades ago, it is no longer possible to do the same because they do not hold the monopoly power anymore.
“The IMF cannot restrict or control countries like us anymore because they can no longer rely on the support and empowerment of the US and Europe because they are economically struggling. Organisations like the World Health Organisation and other financial institutions are gradually becoming Asian-based, as they are relying on Asian funding.”
The Government of Sri Lanka is currently engaged in debt restructuring negotiations with creditors in hopes of obtaining IMF Board approval for a $ 3.9 billion bailout programme, for which it has only reached a verbal staff-level IMF agreement.