Rupee depreciation not the end of the world: FM

Published : 12:01 am  September 29, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Minister tells Royal College students

 

Responding to a question posed by one of the students of Royal College, Colombo, Finance and Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said the depreciation of the rupee was not the end of the world.  

The Minister came out with this reply at a special briefing held at Royal College with the participation of students. The Minister and State Minister Eran Wickramaratne were attending an Exhibition on Innovation and the launch of the Royal College’s television channel.  


Instead of delivering a speech, the minister decided to sit for a briefing and invited the students to ask him questions with the intention of getting their opinion and views about how the country should go ahead.  


Responding to a question on depreciation of rupee, Minister Samaraweera said since the beginning of this year, US dollar has becoming stronger and the US interest rate has been increased. Using US dollars from Sri Lanka’s foreign reserve to control the depreciation of rupee was not a wise move, he said.  


“We need our savings because we need to pay Rs.1.9 trillion as loans this year. In the next two years, we will have to pay Rs.4.2 trillion. Our priority is to pay debts on time than the depreciation of rupee. Otherwise we will end up like Greece,” he said.  


“This is not the end of the world. The previous government released Rs.4.1 billion into the market to control the depreciation but it still depreciated by 14%. Ours is only 8% at the moment. Putting money into the market is not the solution. We should somehow manage savings and prevent spending on unnecessary things. MPs, Ministers should stop importing fancy cars. We may have to reduce importing bottles of wine and cheese and stick to local produce for a while. The economy is not going to crash. In a way this is a good point for us to expedite programme to make Sri Lanka an export-oriented economy. The situation will get better, but I can’t tell when would it be,” he said.  
Meanwhile, responding to other questions he said our education system itself stifled in creativity and innovative thinking.  


“Our system is not created for it. Students are like slaves and no room for creativity. Thinking outside the box is not allowed. Also, if someone is saying that private universities should not be there, they are petty minded and ungrateful beings. They have got an opportunity but it doesn’t give them the right to prevent others’ opportunities out of jealousy. We will take some action,” he said.    

The Minister came out with this reply at a special briefing held at Royal College with the participation of students. The Minister and State Minister Eran Wickramaratne were attending an Exhibition on Innovation and the launch of the Royal College’s television channel.  


Instead of delivering a speech, the minister decided to sit for a briefing and invited the students to ask him questions with the intention of getting their opinion and views about how the country should go ahead.  


Responding to a question on depreciation of rupee, Minister Samaraweera said since the beginning of this year, US dollar has becoming stronger and the US interest rate has been increased. Using US dollars from Sri Lanka’s foreign reserve to control the depreciation of rupee was not a wise move, he said.  


“We need our savings because we need to pay Rs.1.9 trillion as loans this year. In the next two years, we will have to pay Rs.4.2 trillion. Our priority is to pay debts on time than the depreciation of rupee. Otherwise we will end up like Greece,” he said.  


“This is not the end of the world. The previous government released Rs.4.1 billion into the market to control the depreciation but it still depreciated by 14%. Ours is only 8% at the moment. Putting money into the market is not the solution. We should somehow manage savings and prevent spending on unnecessary things. MPs, Ministers should stop importing fancy cars. We may have to reduce importing bottles of wine and cheese and stick to local produce for a while. The economy is not going to crash. In a way this is a good point for us to expedite programme to make Sri Lanka an export-oriented economy. The situation will get better, but I can’t tell when would it be,” he said.  
Meanwhile, responding to other questions he said our education system itself stifled in creativity and innovative thinking.  


“Our system is not created for it. Students are like slaves and no room for creativity. Thinking outside the box is not allowed. Also, if someone is saying that private universities should not be there, they are petty minded and ungrateful beings. They have got an opportunity but it doesn’t give them the right to prevent others’ opportunities out of jealousy. We will take some action,” he said.    

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