Lenders should assist developing nations with debt deferment - Premier | Daily News


Lenders should assist developing nations with debt deferment - Premier

In the backdrop of negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic the IMF, World Bank and other lending institutions should come forward to assist developing nations by offering ‘debt deferment’, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

He was speaking on video conferencing at the 33rd annual sessions of the Organisation of Professional Associations (OPA) on the theme, “Bounce Back: Disasters are Opportunities.” The Premier said that this should be done for a period of minimum two years allowing the developing nations to look at economic revival. “The provision of such relief will lead to the stimulation of the respective economies and a faster recovery as well.”

The IMF and the World Bank have predicted a contraction of the global economy by around 3% in 2020, which is a huge setback to the entire world community as the virus has seriously damaged the economies of almost all countries leaving devastating trail of bankruptcies, livelihood losses, evaporation of savings, debt defaults, economic and corporate collapses. He said that at this time of need professionals of the country have a major challenge to spell out and implement strategies that would have a favorable impact on Sri Lanka and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has already asked all authorities to ‘think out of the box’.

Rajapaksa said that supporting SME is the key as they are at the very core of Sri Lanka economy and livelihood of the people. Focusing on the education and health sectors will also yield favorable results.

Sri Lanka must also be ready to pursue opportunities to provide outsourced and online services to more advanced nations and to establish new ventures that use Sri Lanka’s mineral resources effectively.

He said that the Government too was facing many issues with regard to import and export, in enhancing growth activities, stabilising debt burdens, in addressing increasing unemployment and taking steps to revive businesses.

“In addition, we need to support the increased needs of vulnerable people, particularly, children.”

Rajapaksa thanked the Sri Lankan health professionals and the government administration for having responded admirably to defeat the virus and its highly contagious spread. “We must be grateful to all those men and women who battled the virus so bravely and effectively in our country. They have given us the confidence to restart our normal work and engage in our normal activities. What is most vital now is to prevent the economy from weakening, maintain stability and ensure that the country returns to normal as fast as possible.”

“It’s now time for the country to prepare to get to work to receive local and foreign investments in sectors such as infrastructure, information technology and transportation,” he said.

The OPA has a combined membership of over 60,000 and represents 52 member associations representing 32 professions.

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