Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne said that past successful governments’ policies of borrowing at high interest and spending on unprofitable projects led to the country’s bankruptcy.
“The capital borrowed at high cost and used for projects such as road development that do not give a return on investment is carried out because it paves the way for corruption or else those who give priority to such projects due to their ignorance and lack of understanding of how to develop a country,” the MP said yesterday (29) while speaking at the Committee stage debate of the Ministry of Transport and Highways in Parliament.
“The reality of this becomes clear when compared with advanced developed countries. If the member of parliament of a country comes to the parliament by public transport, it can be said such a country is developed, if the member of parliament comes to the parliament in his luxury vehicle, then it can be perceived that such countries are poor countries,” the MP stressed.
The development of a country can be determined by the development of public transport, said Mr. Eran Wickramaratne.
Mr. Wickramaratne questioned the government whether Rs 354 billion allocated to the Ministry of Transport and Highways as capital expenditure for the year 2024 on projects that do not benefit the country to make the country continue to bankrupt in 2024 too.
Of this, 85% is allocated for highways. Only 15% is allocated for railways and Omni bus public transport. Sri Lanka should be the only country in the world that spends such a vast amount on highways, he noted.
Even though money is allocated in the budget for highway development, at the end these are done by borrowing commercial loans at high interest rate.
The MP citing an example said that a person takes a bank loan for five million rupees rather than the million rupees available to build a house.
“There are many cases where one has to sell not only the half-finished house but also the land one owns when the house is half-built and when the loan is not paid. Today, this country is facing a similar problem. One of the main reasons for the country's bankruptcy is the construction of highways by borrowing money. Now even the court has proved who the people who caused the economic crisis in the country were,” he said.