By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): President Ranil Wickremesinghe is set to visit Singapore and Japan this week with the aim of further making attempts to continue strengthening the country’s foreign relations. He is scheduled to leave the country today Monday 22.
During the visits, the President is expected to meet the Prime Ministers of Singapore and Japan, along with other relevant ministers in Japan.
According to foreign ministry sources Japan, which played an integral role in securing International Monetary Fund (IMF) support for Sri Lanka, will be personally paying a tribute to Japanese administration by the President while extending an invitation for the Japanese Government to once again re-engage with the country’s economy through new investments.
Several projects, including the Light Rail Transit (LRT) project – which faced much controversy following the Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) administration unilaterally cancelling it – are expected to be on the agenda of discussions.
President Wickremesinghe will be addressing the Nikkei Forum, where he will be outlining his visions for the future of Asia in the changing landscape of global geopolitics.
Meanwhile, the Government is moving forward with work related to the debt restructuring programme while the IMF has stated that it expects Sri Lanka to complete the process by the first review of the IMF’s US $ 3 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme, which is scheduled for September-October.
India, Japan and France have announced a common platform for discussion among creditors to address the debt restructuring programme of Sri Lanka, which is grappling with one of its worst economic crisis.
The representatives of the three creditor countries, including finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, held a press briefing on the margins of the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington recently.
They discussed the debt situation of Sri Lanka, Ghana, Zambia and Ethiopia. Resolutions should happen on time as it’s a time-consuming affair, even after IMF assurances,” Sitharaman said after the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting at Washington.
She emphasised that collaboration among creditors was important to ensure transparency and equality in the debt restructuring discussions.
Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki described the launch as a historical development. “To be able to launch this negotiation process gathering, such a broad-based group of creditors, is a historical outcome,” he told reporters at the news conference.
At present, about 80 enterprises with Japanese investment are in operation under the purview of the BOI (section 17 and Section 16 of the BOI Law).
They have made their investment in the fields such as manufacturing semiconductors, printed circuit boards, safety sensors, ceramic items, cement, apparel, building and repairing ships, fabrication and installation of integrated buildings, power sector, tourism sector, infrastructure and logistics.
Currently, they have invested about US$ 399 million (Cumulative 2020), providing about 12,000 employment opportunities for the Sri Lankan community.