Intervention by Hon. Ajith Nivard Cabraal,
State Minister for Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms
Event: Financing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond: Meeting of the Ministers of Finance
Sri Lanka has been a remarkable “success story” in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. We have been able to contain the spread of the virus with very few deaths and minimum community spread. However, the measures taken to contain the spread, together with the adverse global economic conditions have unfortunately taken a sizable toll on the country’s fiscal and external well-being and health. As result, Sri Lanka, like several other middle income economies with sizable debt and heavy reliance on tourism and exports, have faced some formidable challenges. At the same time, it is also known that, although the fall-out of the pandemic affected all emerging and developing nations as well, the international financial institutions prioritized financial support for the lower income economies only. This policy forced many countries like Sri Lanka to rely on their own strengths to overcome the economic ramifications of this global crisis, although it has been quite stressful on our economies. It has also reduced our ability to provide further much-needed relief to our people who have been affected by this global debacle.
Even amidst these difficulties, we have courageously adopted relief measures to ease the burden on domestic businesses and individuals. We have granted debt moratoria, tax relief and concessional life-lines. We have provided cash grants to millions of affected persons to help them to face the challenges caused by this global pandemic.