President Wickremesinghe Tells Parliament that Sri Lanka will Receive Assistance from IMF; “I met Georgieva(IMF Managing Director) and discussed this with her, and she promised to assist us, so do not worry about it.” Says Ranil

BY Kiara Warnasuriya

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, addressing Parliament yesterday (10), assured that Sri Lanka would receive assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), claiming that he was promised the same by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

“I met Georgieva and discussed this with her, and she promised to assist us, so do not worry about it.”

The President further stated that discussions with China and India regarding their support to Sri Lanka are yet to take place. “I requested both the countries to finalise this before the end of December.”

The President attended the COP27 Conference on Climate Change earlier this week accompanied by Environmental Minister Naseer Ahamed, Presidential Advisor on Climate Change Ruwan Wijewardene and Presidential International Advisor on Climate Change, Maldivian Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

In his statement, President Wickremesinghe praised former President and incumbent MP Maithripala Sirisena, who participated in the COP Conference in 2015 and subsequently took steps to limit the construction of renewable power generation stations in the country.
According to the President, no progressive measures proposed in COP26 had been taken since the Conference in Glasgow, Scotland in 2021.

A proposal had been made to achieve net-zero carbon dioxide emissions globally and to limit global warming to 1.5 oC by 2050; however, no progress has been made since, he noted, adding that the same target was brought up by the Group of Twenty (G20) and other developed countries. He also revealed that many leaders did not attend the whole conference and had instead made statements on the sidelines of various events that took place instead of at the main conference.

“On the second day, only we were left, and on the European side, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was there, taking part in the initiatives that the Global Shield had initiated, for which we must be thankful. I and some of the others had to condemn and criticize the stand that had been taken by the G20 countries, the G7 and the developed economies. We cannot go on like this. There are serious issues that the world faces.”

The President further explained that according to the UN Secretary General, the global situation in the next 20-30 years will become much more serious. Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had also expressed concerns about the melting of the Himalayas, which will affect Pakistan. President Wickremesinghe claimed that collective studies show that this will affect Nepal, India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar, and that even Sri Lanka risks losing its western coast.
“That is the threat that all of us are facing. But, there is no major response on this by the developed countries,” said the President, revealing that after discussions, their only solution would be to aim for a COP28 Conference.

“We have to be ready to discuss it with like-minded countries, and I am sure that both of our Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Environment can do that.”

President Wickremesinghe also raised the issue of food security, claiming that Sri Lanka has been through a problematic time but will not have to face such a major issue next year.

“But Africa is pretty bad as 20-30 million people will be affected. There will be a large number of deaths in the Horn of Africa. There is no aid or assistance. It was not discussed,” stated the President, emphasising that the terms of support given to Ukraine must be given to Africa as well.

“Now, in addition to the fact that some of them can’t grow food and others can’t get fertilizer to grow food, they don’t have the money, so we have to help them. Ukraine is fighting a war with Russia. These people are fighting a war for survival.”

Meanwhile, Chief Opposition Whip and Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Lakshman Kiriella queried as to how the Budget can be discussed without the IMF staff-level agreement being presented in Parliament.
“When the President was on the Opposition side previously, he too asked when the IMF agreement was going to be presented. He also went to the all-party conference and argued with then-Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa asking him to present this agreement.”

Kiriella requested the President to present the IMF agreement, without which the Opposition cannot extend the support they are willing to give.

“How can we discuss the Budget without the IMF agreement? What are the taxes? What are the special levies?” questioned Kiriella yesterday.

Courtesy:The Morning