A letter written by Sri Lankan parliamentarian and former education minister Vijayadas Rajapaksa to Chinese President Xi Jinping has been made public. Rajapaksa, an MP from Sri Lanka’s Podujana Peramuna party Party, has sent a letter to President Xi Jinping through Kai Zhenhong, the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka.
Rajapaksa said in a 45-point letter that Sri Lanka is in a “debt trap” of China. Rajapaksa said in point 15, ‘The assistance you have provided, directly or indirectly, has come in the form of a loan. That too has come in the form of a loan at a commercial interest rate of up to 8 percent.
He said projects other than the NOROCHCHOLAI POWER PLANT were wasteful investments. “Projects other than the NOROCHCHOLAI POWER PLANT are like digging water in the sand and seem intended to put Sri Lanka in debt,” he said. He also accused China of trying to take control of Sri Lanka’s economy to become a world power.
He also said that China had paid a billion in investments without any tenders and environmental impact assessments. MP Rajapaksa also alleged that China was trying to capture the geopolitical territory of the region due to its presence at the Hambantota port. It is said that even small countries like Sri Lanka are influenced by countries like India, America and Europe. He also said that the US wants an agreement like MCC and SOFA and India wants to use the Colombo East Port terminal to establish its dominance in Sri Lanka.
MP Rajapaksa’s letter
What is the status of Sri Lanka due to the economic crisis
Sri Lanka’s debt has grown while its foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to less than a decade. The army has been asked to provide emergency supplies after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared an economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Rice, sugar and other commodities have been sold at the prices fixed by the government but there is little hope of easing the suffering of the people.
The World Bank estimates that since the outbreak of Kovid-19 in Sri Lanka, more than half a million people have come below the poverty line. After five years of anti-poverty efforts, Sri Lanka has been able to raise the standard of living of so many citizens. According to local media reports, Sri Lanka’s inflation rate has reached an all-time high of 11.1 percent in November.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, at least 200,000 people lost their jobs after the tourism sector, which contributes 10 percent of the country’s GDP, came to a standstill.
The biggest problem for Sri Lanka’s economy is the burden of foreign debt. China alone owes $5 billion. Last year, Sri Lanka borrowed an additional $1 billion from China as the economic crisis deepened. Over the next 12 months, the Sri Lankan government and the private sector will have to pay off $7.3 billion in domestic and foreign debt. There are also $50 million government bonds due in January. But as of last November, Sri Lanka had only $1.6 billion in foreign exchange reserves.