3 July, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 07/21/2009
SRI LANKA
IMF to provide a US$ 2.5 billion loan, but government forgets the poor
by Melani Manel Perera
The loan is set to finance post-war reconstruction and cushion the impact of the global economic crisis. However, government policies are negatively impacting broad segments of the population through higher taxes and disincentives to production. Women and small scale economic operators like fishermen are the hardest hit.

Negombo (AsiaNews) – At a time of a global economic crisis the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is set to approve a US$ 2.5 billion loan to Sri Lanka to help rebuild the country and jumpstart its economy after 25 years of civil war between the military and Tamil Tigers.

The deal should be signed next Friday. Initially the IMF should provide US$ 313 million to help Sri Lanka cope with a plunge in foreign currency reserves, capital flight and systemic government deficit.

“This opens huge opportunities for Sri Lanka,” central bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said. “It will also make borrowing costs cheaper and is likely to have a very significant impact on our ratings.”

But many ordinary islanders are less sanguine about it, more concerned that export-driven economic policies will negatively impact domestic production and badly affect the poorest segments of society, especially women and small-scale fishermen.  

Geetha Lakmini Fernando, executive secretary of the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), told AsiaNews that the country needs something more than IMF loans; it needs a different economic policy.

In order to overcome the crisis, fund the war and end the country’s balance of payment deficit, the government “has increased direct taxes on the general public” on items such as “fuel, machinery, and vehicles” as well as basic food items like “rice, sugar and dhal,” she said.

“The decision to issue treasury bills worth 20.2 billion rupees” (about US$ 175 million) and “print more money [. . .] will increase the price of goods” as well as “interest rates and loans”. People living in rural areas will be most affected.

A family that could live on a thousand rupees a week, now will need 1,500 rupees.

The most affected segment of the population will be women who lost their husbands during the war or as a result of the tsunami. About 89,000 household are in fact headed by women, especially in “the north and the east of the country”.

The consequences are visible to all. In “Trincomalee alone the malnutrition rate is 24 per cent among the children under the age of 5,” Fernando said.

The economic crisis and government policy have been especially bad for small businesses and subsistence producers.

“In the past few years fuel prices have gone sky high” and “small fishermen have had to pay prices that have gone up 300 per cent in 2008 compared to 2007,” Fernando explained.

Making matters worse, imports of canned, raw and dry fish are up, and “this badly affects small food producers”.

At the same time, even though small-scale fishermen “contribute more than 65 per cent of total fish catch, the Sri Lankan government is promoting the deep sea fishery rather than traditional fishing,” which is essential for the survival of entire families.

For NAFSO’s executive secretary the existing “liberalised economic system” is leading the country “towards disaster”, not only because “it affects disproportionately the weakest segments of the population” but also because “it undermines its traditions.”


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
10/30/2009 SRI LANKA
Fisher families going hungry in Batticaloa because of illegal fishing and drought
by Melani Manel Perera
11/11/2009 SRI LANKA
Young former refugees receive gift of ten bicycles to go to school
by Melani Manel Perera
09/12/2007 SRI LANKA
Women in the north, the forgotten victims of the civil war
by Melani Manel Perera
04/24/2007 SRI LANKA
Thousands of fishermen demand more rights
by Melani Manel Perera
11/23/2009 SRI LANKA
Small-scale fishermen call on government to stop trampling their rights and the environment
by Melani Manel Perera

Editor's choices
ISLAM - MIDDLE EAST
Al Azhar and Vatican against terrorism. The ambiguity of the international community
by Bernardo CervelleraThe influential Sunni university denounces " heinous" violence of the Islamic state and demands the world defeat this group “through every possible means". Vatican: terrorism is a threat to all humanity. France claims to fight terrorism, but then sells weapons, aircraft, helicopter gunships to Saudi Arabia, which supports Islamic fundamentalism. Kuwait tolerates Salafis who support the Nusra Front and the Islamic state. Turkey against the Kurds; the United States against Iran, Russia and China.
TUNISIA - ISLAM
Tunis, stop terrorism by closing fundamentalist mosquesPresident Essebsi believes unified and global strategy needed to counter terrorism. The attack in Sousse almost simultaneous with those in France, Kuwait, Somalia. Islamic State claims responsibility.
VATICAN – ITALY
Pope in Turin tells young people to be chaste in love, go against the flow and not retire at 20In his last meeting on the first day of his visit to Turin, Francis met young people in Vittorio Square. In a Question and Answer exchange, he talked about love, friendship and loss of trust towards life. "I understand you. How many hypocrites speak of peace and sell weapons. How can one trust? By following Christ, whose act of extreme love, i.e. the Cross, saved humanity." The pontiff also looked at the horrors of the 20th century as evidence of the loss of trust towards world powers. He urged young people “not to retire at 20,” but “live, don’t just exist.”

Dossier

Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.