Remember the 2002 ceasefire agreement?
It is Ranil’s most significant victory in his political career. By that time, Prabhakaran had attacked Katunayake airport and had stopped ships from arriving at Colombo port, which had a negative impact on the country’s economy. Prabhakaran was on the verge of winning the Eelam.
Ranil became Prime Minister in 2002 and agreed to a cease-fire with Prabhakaran. The world’s media descended on Sri Lanka on the day of the cease-fire agreement. The Ranil-Prabha ceasefire agreement was the top story in the world. Sri Lankans drank victory wine, declaring the war to be over. Prabhakaran emerged from the jungle and gave a press conference. Ranil lifted the ban on the LTTE.
People did not say a word against it. Ranil started peace talks. Representatives of the government and the LTTE began to travel around the world. Ranil held conferences like Oslo Aid Conference, Washington Aid Conference and Tokyo Aid Conference. In those conferences, powerful countries of the world promised to give billions of dollars in aid to Sri Lanka. But on one condition. That is, Ranil and Prabhakaran must agree to a peace treaty. In other words, the North-East should be under a federal governence.
Ranil was trapped at this occation. In Oslo, the leader of the government delegation G.L. Pires and the LTTE leader of delegation Balasingham, agreed to a federal rule, but Prabhakaran’s closest ally Pottu Amman, the intelligence chief, opposed the federal proposal. Prabhakaranda too was in Pottu Amman’s position. Government representatives and LTTE agreed to an interim government and subsequently to go for a federal system.
By now, due to the economic theory adopted by Ranil to enrich the economy which Chandrika’s government had made negative, the country’s economy had shrunk and business had fallen to zero. The price of goods had increased. The fallen opposition, Chandrika’s United People’s Freedom Alliance and JVP, had taken to the streets against the ceasefire agreement and the interim-control unit.
‘The war stopped. Peace dawn. What did we get? Now there is money no war expenses..’ \
This is what people spoke.
The people have not gained anything from the ceasefire. But Prabhakaran got in plenty…’
This is what opposition injected in to the disillusioned people. This vaccine worked well. Ranil could not form an interim control unit with Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran left the peace negotiation table. Aids due from conferences were lost. Chandrika marked time and shook Ranil’s government and dashed on the ground.
Ranil’s truce was a joke like IMF joke. Not second to anything. Ranil went to the ceasefire without a road map to drag the negotiations and become the president with votes of the north. Before that, he was afraid that he would lose Sinhala Buddhist votes if he went to a federal or inter-governance unit with Prabhakaran.
Therefore, he wanted to drag the peace talks until the 2005 presidential election. The then President Chandrika and Prabhakaran understood this well and cut off the way to this from Ranil. Ranil became president in a deal with the Rajapaksas. Signed an agreement with IMF and received the first loan instalment and showed the world as he won the world. Ranil’s party members lit firecrackers all over the country saying that now Sri Lanka is out of bankruptcy.
The 2002 ceasefire agreement was backed by the international community to resolve the issue in the north with a federal-like governing unit. At the time of signing the ceasefire agreement, Ranil did not think how difficult it would be. Ranil wanted to become the president, temporarily stop the war and make the economy negative or positive and win the Tamil votes and go to the presidential election.
Ranil signed the IMF agreement. He did not think about what could be done with the given conditions. He agreed to all the terms, and shouted at the public ‘there folks I got IMF now all’s now make me president by popular vote.
Ranil himself understood the seriousness of the ceasefire agreement he signed only after a few months. The seriousness of the IMF agreement Ranil signed he is going to realise only when the restructure of domestic and foreign debts begins.
It has been a year since Ranil became Prime Minister and Finance Minister in last May. For this year, Ranil as Finance Minister has borrowed 6,853 billion dollars for the three months from December to March 2023. That means that Sri Lanka’s debt has increased from 40.12 billion dollars to 46.89 billion dollars in these three months alone.
‘So this is what Ajit Nivard Cabral did…? ‘Former central bank governor Ajith Nivard also controlled the dollar and borrowed from local and foreign sources. The only difference is that Ajith Niwad did not tax the people. Did not go to IMF
This government despite reaching to IMF for help, taxed people and controlled the dollar but increased the debt pile by $6 billion.
Sri Lanka went bankrupt because of the loss of dollars and lack of foreign assets. But there is no plan to find dollars yet. Garment industries built by Premadasa to earn dollars are closing down. JR developed tourism industry to find Dollars but it heading to crumble. It will be a wonder if the country does not go bankrupt again after taking loans after loan without a plan to revive them.
Reaching to IMF an obtaining 333 million dollars and paying half of it to India for debt settlement what the government has gained in return…..?
Ranil and the government stated that after the IMF’s first loan instalment was approved and collected, as well as the lighting of firecrackers, Sri Lanka could receive $7 billion from other banks. The President’s office issued the following media statement.
Statement issued by president’s office after the approval of IMF relief.
‘The International Monetary Fund announced that the Executive Committee of the International Monetary Fund approved Sri Lanka’s program under the Extended Credit Facility. This program will enable Sri Lanka to receive financial facilities of up to US$ 7 billion from the International Monetary Fund, International Financial Institutions and other Multilateral Organizations….’
This announcement was made by the Presidential Secretariat three months ago. Last May 29, the Asian Development Bank approved $350 million. According to reports, the World Bank will approve 700 million dollars for Sri Lanka on June 19. According to Reuters, the amount will be approved in October following the completion of Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring. According to the Reuters journalist who broke the news, he learned from an anonymous source that 700 million dollars would be approved for Sri Lanka. That means it’s just a rumour. Even if that is correct, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank are each contributing $1 billion and $50 million, respectively..
‘Then the 7 billion dollars they said they would give…?’
No one has talked about it yet. Now, unable to restructure domestic debt, the government is stuck in a quandary. There is still no plan to restructure not only domestic debt, but foreign debt as well.
The Ministry of Finance should give the debt restructuring plan. I am waiting for that plan…’
The Governor of the Central Bank said recently.
This shows that the IMF loan was taken to win the presidential election, not to recover the country. Having said, ‘now I can do anything’. After signing the 2002 ceasefire agreement, they waited with clenched teeth like this.