Will Ranil’s game plan succeed with India and China?
Basil’s new theory to stop the presidential race!
Would an electricity rate hike in cooking be the final straw for the government?
Sri Lanka has not been able to meet certain targets given by the IMF. Therefore, we are working to postpone the second instalment of the loan given by the financial fund. Also, it is difficult to say about a period when the second instalment will be given…’
This is the special material that Mr Peter Brewer, the International Monetary Fund’s Senior Operations head in Sri Lanka, mentioned in the special press conference held last Wednesday. Although Peter Brewer announced this at the press conference held at the Central Bank premises on Wednesday 27th September, the ‘Mawrata’ ‘inside politics’ column revealed the information of such a risk to the country for the first time through the ‘Mawrata’ newspaper printed on September 3rd. That was at a time when no media or politician in Sri Lanka had any idea about such information on the second instalment of the financial fund. We revealed that extraordinary information to the country not by accident or by chance, but on the basis of the specific and reliable information that we had received.
Sep 3 was the first mention.
Will the premium be delayed?
However, a question that has been raised by many people is why the current government is working to create such problems again and again when there are many recent examples of breaking governments by doing business with China in this way. Many people say that the President has taken such a decision because the President is hoping to get a big relief from China during the President’s visit to China next October. But the dangerous situation is that if Sri Lanka is unable to successfully complete the debt restructuring activities in October based on these problems, there is a risk that the International Monetary Fund will not withdraw from its agreement and postpone the second instalment to Sri Lanka. If the financial fund decides to delay the second instalment to Sri Lanka, it will definitely be a strong attack on Sri Lanka’s economy. Because the reason is to send a message to the world that Sri Lanka cannot succeed in these activities.
‘Inside Politics Sept 03
what was told on Sept 10
While the president was holding talks with the International Monetary Fund in America, it was seen that the International Monetary Fund was participating in its first review discussions in Sri Lanka these days. Economic and political analysts are currently expressing two opinions based on the facts that have emerged in these discussions, and one opinion says that since Sri Lanka has not yet fulfilled some of the main conditions, the second instalment of the financial fund, amounting to 333 million dollars, will be delayed. The second opinion is that even if the conditions are not fulfilled, the financial fund will grant this instalment and suspend the third instalment.
‘Inside politics’ 10 September
The latest thing said
Why do we say these things?
We are reporting this information through the ‘Inside Politics ‘ column for no other reason than because no media in Sri Lanka is talking about this bitter truth. Because of that, the people of Sri Lanka do not know any of this information. The people of Sri Lanka also think that all the problems are over now due to the fact that the Sri Lankan media reports that there is no problem in Sri Lanka. But we are reporting this information because it is the media’s responsibility to point out the real situation and risk in advance.
The financial fund is also in a mixup
Based on this situation, the International Monetary Fund is also facing a difficult situation regarding Sri Lanka. On the one hand, Sri Lanka has still fulfilled very little of the terms promised to the International Monetary Fund. Therefore, they are also hesitant about giving the second part of the loan instalment. But looking at the situation in Sri Lanka, if the second instalment is not released, the situation cannot be prevented from turning worse. Therefore, some people say that there may even be a situation of postponing the second instalment. And some are of the opinion that it will be the last time of loan instalment exemption.
Signed without knowing the situation?
On the other hand, there has been some talk about whether the Financial Fund signed agreements with Sri Lanka without knowing about the current situation in the international community. In the face of such a situation, if the financial fund takes steps to suspend its premium exemption, the risk of declaring Sri Lanka a bankrupt country is very high. In this way, the world is not without countries that have declared their country bankrupt more than once. To avoid that situation, their government should first complete the foreign debt restructuring work and build financial stability. Loan instalments and interest should be paid properly. As mentioned earlier, we are reporting these things because there are still some people who think that the country will become a paradise because they are fooled by the beautiful stories of politicians and because the people of the country should be aware of the real situation.
September 24 th Inside Politics
The government was in a receiving position
However, the International Monetary Fund did not take this decision because of the chaos, but after carefully investigating the situation that had been developing in Sri Lanka for the past few months. In the first instance, after issuing loans to Sri Lanka, the Financial Fund met with representatives of opposition political parties, civil organizations and professionals and gave many positive comments to the media. High-ranking representatives of the government also spoke to the media with a lot of ease and confidence in the past and said that the second instalment will definitely be given to Sri Lanka by the financial fund. Not only the ministers but also the Governor of the Central Bank had once mentioned that Sri Lanka would get the second instalment of the financial fund.
We showed the truth
But by pointing out the real situation that has been emerging in the political field since the day President Ranil Wickramasinghe assumed office, we said that under the current situation, a situation has emerged where no country in the world will support Sri Lanka. We pointed out that the country cannot be saved from bankruptcy by dealing only with the financial fund, and for that, a good deal should be made with powerful international countries. ‘Inside Politics’ column once reported the meeting the IMF held with opposition Leader and leader of Samagi Jana Balawegaya Sajith Premadas, and opposition MP G. L . Pieris and team.
There we spoke about how the current government has decided to postpone the local government elections, about how anti-democratic and restricting the freedom and rights of the people are being brought to the parliament, about how the country is involved in corrupt transactions while the country is bankrupt. Sajith and the team pointed out to the representatives. At that time, Peter Brewer, the representative of the Financial Fund, held a press conference and said that Sri Lanka needs serious economic reforms, and to carry out those reforms, a government with a mandate must be formed. Because of Peter Brewer’s speech that there should be a ‘government with a mandate’, Brewer became a popular figure among the people of this country at that time.
Many people say that the International Monetary Fund will provide some support to protect the voting rights of the people and to protect the human rights of the people. But what happened was quite different. The government was in a position to suppress people’s rights by bringing repressive acts such as the Anti-Terrorism Act, the Broadcasting Authority Act, and the Security of Online Systems Act. During the questioning in that regard, the financial fund was of the opinion that it had no mandate to question in that regard.
In addition to this, a recent opinion poll conducted by Verity Research Group, an independent opinion polling agency in Sri Lanka, revealed that the trust of the people of Sri Lanka in the financial fund has been completely broken. In that survey, 28% of people had supported the program of the financial fund, but 45% had declared that the program of the financial fund was a failure.
This year, the Financial Fund came to Sri Lanka for its first review in the midst of such an atmosphere. During this visit, the Financial Fund had planned to hold discussions with the President, with professionals and with the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawega. Here, the most special discussion took place with the Samagi Jana Balawega led by Sajith. In this meeting, as usual, the financial fund gave its side of the story, but the representatives of the opposition led by Sajith were well prepared and came to the discussion. There, Sajith first questioned the current status of the foreign debt restructuring program. In response, Brewer said that despite a number of problems, the discussions are still moving forward. Brewer pointed out to the opposition leader that he believes that some agreement will be reached in the future.
However, after that Sajith asked the question that the financial fund was also suddenly bewildered. Taking a strong stand, Sajith said that the agreement made by the government with the financial fund is not favourable to the people of the country and that he will definitely take steps to change this agreement under a SJB government that will come to power in the future. With this strong statement of Sajith, which came out as no one expected, Brewer and other officials of the financial fund were immediately petrified. But Brewer, who did not show that, asked with a slight smile what clauses in the agreement should be changed. Sajith directly said that the domestic debt restructuring is completely unfair and the first clause to be changed is that.
‘Under the domestic debt restructuring, a great injustice was done to the people of this country. The government did not touch the rich people who invested in bonds there, nor the banks of this country. What the government did was to touch the ordinary people’s money that is deposited in E.P.F., E.T.F funds. It caused great injustice to the common people. We will not allow that injustice to happen under our government and put more weight on the rich. We will definitely work to change that section…’ When Sajith said this, the officials of the financial fund were stunned and said that the proposal did not come from the financial fund’s side, but from the government’s side. The financial fund said that the restructuring of foreign debt is only a basic requirement. In reply to that, Sajith again said that he is currently re-studying several other clauses in this agreement, and discussions will be started to change them in the future.
Then Professor G.L. started where Sajith left off. Mr G.L. Peiris pointed out to the representatives of the financial fund that the government is preparing to repress the people by bringing many strict repressive decrees by showing the loan amount given by the financial fund to the country.
The government is using the loan premium given by you and is carrying out many anti-democratic activities. Now the local government elections have been completely messed up. We don’t even know the date of that election. The Treasury directly intervened in the election process. Next, the government plans to bring the Broadcasting Authority Act, the Anti-Terrorism Act, and the Security of Online Systems Act and carry out a large-scale crackdown on the people. Do not say that you have no mandate to talk about them. You should think about the people of this country…’ said G.L. He also took steps to put a long explanation in front of the representatives of the financial fund from the human rights side.
Moreover, Sajith and his team pointed out the facts to the representatives of the financial fund about the many serious frauds and corruptions that have occurred within the government within the period up to now after the first loan instalment of the financial fund was given to the government. According to the information we have, it is said that even the representatives of the financial fund were surprised by this information revealed by Sajith and his team. The news further said that this meeting was very helpful for the financial fund to think again about the agreement reached with the government.
After this meeting, the representatives of the financial fund took steps to meet the union representatives and the president. After those meetings, Brewer, who joined the news conference at the Central Bank premises, clearly said that due to the non-fulfilment of the targets, the second instalment of the loan would be postponed and a deadline could not be specified. Accordingly, it should be mentioned that the information that we uncovered through this belt for almost a month has now been 100% confirmed. Through this, the impact on the country’s economy will be seen in the future.
Will the agreement change?
However, one journalist asked Brewer a special question. As the leader of the opposition said publicly, the agreement of the financial fund can be changed again. Brewer replied that there is a possibility to negotiate and change the agreement if necessary. Brewer also mentioned that it will take some time.
The Hamilton question
But the serious situation here is not the only one. As previously revealed by us in an ‘Inside Politics’ column, the decision of the case filed by Hamilton Reserve Bank of America regarding non-payment of bonds is scheduled to be given next month. The judgment of this case was supposed to be given last month, but the US attorney general’s department intervened and notified the court to postpone it by one month as it could have a severe impact on Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the relevant decision is to be given within the next few days and if there is a decision that is unfavourable to Sri Lanka, the government will have to face another serious international crisis.
Paris society is silent
Meanwhile, the restructuring of foreign debt is also in a crisis situation. The Paris Society, which initially expressed its support for Sri Lanka, is currently on a silent mood. In a special disclosure on this column last week, we said that during the American visit, the President met the head of the Financial Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, and pleaded with her to announce the debt restructuring program of the Paris Society as soon as possible. But till today, no response has been received from Georgia or the Paris club.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg news service revealed last week that other creditors are ready to reach a deal on debt restructuring without China’s participation. The news agency had reported that the matter will be discussed during the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meeting to be held in Morocco next month. But there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the extent to which these negotiations will be successful without China, Sri Lanka’s main creditor. Also, with the decision announced by the Financial Fund on Wednesday, it has been learned that the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which have provided small amounts of loans to Sri Lanka so far, are also at risk of suspending further loans. Needless to say, if that happens, the situation will become more serious.
Will Ranil’s China Give?
Under the emerging crisis and controversy, the people of the country are looking forward to the next visit of the President to China. Because in the face of the financial crisis, China is the only country left to get some credit. Accordingly, many people think that the President’s visit to China in the middle of this month will be filled with Chinese financial aid. That it will be possible to get out of China. Having brought correct information to the readers so far, we are ready to bring information about the situation in China through the ‘inside politics’ column. As we mentioned before, in the foreign debt restructuring program, China was from the beginning in the position that it was not ready to come to the same platform as other countries and carry out those activities. In the beginning, India, Japan, America and the Paris Club participated in the talks on foreign debt restructuring, but China made a representative of its country participate as an observer. Also, presenting a condition in the debt restructuring program, they said that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, first show the debt related to Sri Lanka should be shown.
Concession is given by China
However, as Sri Lanka’s largest creditor, China had taken steps to provide a big relief to Sri Lanka during the time of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. It is because China has been given a grace period of one year for the payment of loans and instalments during the Corona period. The grace period was supposed to end last December. But according to the request of Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe who came to power after Gotabhaya, China had taken steps to extend that period by another year, that is, until this December. If China does not extend that period again, Sri Lanka will have to start paying China’s loans and interest instalments from next January.
Accordingly, this time we are ready to reveal special information according to the information we have. In other words, during this visit to China, the President asked Sri Lanka to provide a debt restructuring program, but the information we have says that China is ready to inform that China will not be able to do anything until the end of the grace period given to Sri Lanka. China is ready to wait until the end of the concession period to start new negotiations. According to that, China is preparing to continue the program of giving small aid that has been implemented in Sri Lanka so far, not to give a huge amount of money as the government is expecting. So far, the information disclosures we made through the ‘inside politics’ column have been confirmed 100%, so the readers can check the truth and falsity of this information we are revealing in a few days.
The ship’s position
Meanwhile, the controversy that China’s Xi Yang 6 ship has raised in the international community is not so small. When it was reported that such a Chinese research ship was going to come to Sri Lanka, not only India but also countries like America, Japan, etc. had expressed their opposition to it. Before the President started his visit to America, certain institutions in Sri Lanka had also given permission for this Chinese ship to enter Sri Lanka. When India inquired from the strongmen of the government, they also informed us that we needed India as well as China. They had taken steps to inform that Sri Lanka was not subordinated to any country. Not only India but also powerful countries, when they inquired about the Chinese ship, the representatives of the government had given the same answer. In addition to this, we have previously reported on this channel that the President sent a wrong signal to America by visiting Cuba, which is considered to be an anti-American country, before going to the United States.
We also reported that a serious controversy arose when the president made a pro-Chinese statement criticizing the ‘Aukus’, which has been formed jointly by countries such as the United States, Britain, and Australia. Also, we have recorded here how the President made a great effort to have a face-to-face discussion with Joe Biden before going to America, but at first, it got a good response and finally, it was cancelled.
After revealing all that information, we reported special information last week and we also reported that the government requested China to somehow postpone the arrival of the Chinese ship to Sri Lanka in October until November. Last week, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Mr. Ali Sabri confirmed this and told the Indian media that the Chinese ship has not yet been given permission to come to Sri Lanka. Although the Indian media gave a lot of publicity to Sabri’s statement, the Indian media reported the next day that the Chinese ship had entered the Indian Ocean and had started moving towards Sri Lanka.
Coming from India
According to the information we have, India has decided to send a high-level delegation to Sri Lanka immediately after the President’s visit to China. It has been learned that the Indian delegation has planned to hold discussions with the President and the top officials of the government, where they have planned to take a strong stand regarding the entry of Chinese spy ships into Sri Lanka through the Indian Ocean. As the President is going to visit China in the middle of this month, India has decided to take a soft policy in this regard and to take strict measures immediately after the President’s visit to China is over, the ‘Inside politics’ column learns. We also learn that India will come to this discussion after making some tough decisions regarding the security of India and the security of the region.
West got alarmed
Meanwhile, a big controversy has arisen not only within the country but also internationally, based on the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Online Security Act, which the government is going to present to the Parliament. Although no one has paid much attention to this situation, it has gone so far that the major Western countries have called the major lawyers of Sri Lanka to discuss the matter. It is also reported that Western embassies are planning to conduct a full study of these two bills.
Accordingly, from the facts that the legal experts have pointed out, both these bills have been recognized by the Western embassies as two repressive bills that are against international laws and ethics and restrict the rights of the people. If we examine the Anti-Terrorism Act, the international community, the United Nations Human Rights Commission and the European Commission have pointed out to Sri Lanka for some time that the Anti-Terrorism Act should be amended.
By showing that the government is fulfilling that request, it has now created another crisis in front of the international community by bringing the Anti-Terrorism Act, which includes even more serious clauses, instead of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. At present the country’s economy has collapsed and the International Monetary Fund has announced that it will postpone its second instalment indefinitely, the danger that Sri Lanka is facing by bringing such crisis bills is not insignificant.
GSP is in danger
Accordingly, today we are reporting in this column that if the government passes these bills, the GSP granted to Sri Lanka by the European Commission will be cancelled. Plus the possibility of ending the concession is very high. The ‘Inside Politics’ column has come to know that a round of discussions in this regard has also started in the European Commission.
When Foreign Minister Ali Sabri went to the United States to attend the United Nations General Assembly, he met the Deputy Secretary of State of the United States, Mrs. Victoria Nuland, despite such a background. According to the information we have, in this meeting, Nuland informed Ali Sabri that these bills should be amended.
In addition to all this, 12 parties and opposition senators representing the senate have sent a special letter to US Secretary of State Mr Anthony Blinken, igniting another political bomb against Sri Lanka. The fact that this letter was sent while the President was visiting the United States is a very special occurrence. Although the letter was not published at that time, the American authorities have taken steps to publish the letter this time. It is stated that the United States should pressure those accused of human rights violations committed by the government to be brought before The Hague Court in the Netherlands.
Basil’s new game
We had reported in this column that when there was such a crisis situation regarding Sri Lanka in the international community before the President left for America, he met Mr. Basil Rajapaksa, who is considered to be the mastermind of Pohottuwa. It was seen that not only us but also other media had more or less reported the information that was said to have been discussed there. However, this time we are ready to make an extraordinary revelation through the ‘State Secrets’ channel and present it to the readers because no media has reported this encounter.
Basil had attended this meeting not empty-handed, but with the results of a highly confidential opinion poll he had received a few days before. The poll indicated the results that the parties would get in the upcoming presidential and general elections. Placing the results of the polls in front of the President at the beginning of the discussion, Basil said that the results expected to be obtained in the next presidential election or general election have been revealed through this poll.
Results of the poll
‘This is a poll we did. The results of the polls we did were all right. They are not wrong. Next year is an election year. Presidential elections should be held. But what kind of result will come if the presidential election is held indicated in this opinion poll? Accordingly, you cannot win. The candidate we put up has no chance of winning. If that happens, there will be a fight between other candidates. On the other hand, according to these results, if there is a general election, no one will be able to get a majority…. Basil told the President that some parties will get more seats. In that case, Basil pointed out to the President that in order to form a government, the UNP and Pohottuwa would have to play some political games in the parliament.
However, the best part of the discussion between the two came after that. That is with Basil points out to the President what should be done to avoid this disadvantageous situation. There, Basil presented a new political theory to the President.
Generally, Basil is not considered as someone who plays political games for ‘just’, but as a prankster who plays timely political games. According to Basil’s calculations, it has been found that there is no chance of producing a president from the bud for at least the next 10 to 15 years, so it is said that Basil’s plan is to take a strong seat in the opposition in the parliament. Basil’s plan was the background for presenting the latest political theory to the President.
Accordingly, Basil’s proposal was that the abolition of the executive presidential system was the best option at this time. Basil had pointed out to the President that since some cases have already been decided regarding the abolition of the office of the Executive President, it is easy to abolish it through a referendum, and then the people can be asked whether the executive system is necessary or not. After that, Basil explained to the President that it is possible to go to a parliamentary system led by the Prime Minister.
Accordingly, Basil’s game is very clear. Basil knows that if a resolution is brought to abolish the executive system, neither the Samagi Jana Balavegaya nor the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna will be able to oppose it. Basil also knows that the UNP and Pohottuwa can compete together or individually in the next general election and play a game within the parliament. Many people are of the opinion that this should be the reason why Basil waited for three days to meet the President and set off this political bomb.
Will Ranil like it?
However, there is no information about whether the President liked it or not, but during our investigations, we found out that there was no great objection from the President. If he is not capable of contesting the presidential election and winning it, if Pohottuwa is also unable to win it, it is absolutely impossible to think that the president will make up his mind to hold a presidential election and hand over the presidency to opposition leader Sajith Premadasa or JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.
From that point of view, the President will also think that the proposal brought by Basil is the best option. We are saying this based on the information we have that there have been many discussions in this regard within the government. However, we believe that an open dialogue on this topic will begin with the parties related to the government in the coming days.
But the president is also a well-tempered person in the political arena, so the president is not one to hit the balls thrown by Basil. Therefore, we have to be patient for a few more days to see how the president will attack this ball thrown by Basil.
It was under this background that Basil called the Pohottuwa councillors and constituency organizers to the Battaramulla head office on Friday last week. At that time, it was reported that there was a discussion between the President and Basil, so it was seen that a large number of MPs as well as seat organizers participated in it. Basil started the discussion and advised the group to take steps to strengthen the party at the village level as there is a possibility of several votes coming in the future.
The MPs then asked Basil what happened during the discussion with the President as the media had reported that he had discussed ministerial posts. Basil said that he did not talk to the president about ministerial posts.
No talks about ministries
‘No, I did not speak a word about the ministries with the President. Although he is the president, the government is ours. At the beginning, we sent a list of ministers to the President. It is his business to do it or not. From now on, I will not speak a single word to him about it. The stories in the media that they talked about ministers are false… Basil said that he also discussed ‘sramurdhi’ and the budget with the President.
‘Also, I informed the President to continue running the Samurdhi campaign without curtailing it. Also, I said that the next budget should give maximum relief to the people…’ Basil informed the MPs.
Only the President of Kazakhstan
The President, who returned to the island last weekend after completing his Cuban and American visits, left for Germany on Tuesday to participate in the ‘Berlin Global Dialogue’ conference held there. However, during the President’s visits to Cuba and the United States, many heads of state were able to shake hands and talk, but at this conference, the President met only the President of Kazakhstan, Mr. Kasim Jomat Mokayev, as a head of state. That is because Qasim was the only head of state who participated in that conference. Apart from this, the President also held talks with the Prime Minister of Albania, Mr. Edi Rama, and the German Chancellor, Mr. Olaf Scholes.
In the past, the government had taken steps to raise the electricity bill on two occasions, saying that it was making losses, amid strong opposition from the opposition and the people. In order to reduce that objection, the government’s answer at that time was that the board’s loss could be compensated due to the increase, and there was no need to increase the bill again. But the problem was that before 2 months had passed, there was a discussion within the government to raise the electricity bill again.
In the Cabinet meeting chaired by the President last Monday, the minister in charge of the subject Mr. Kanchana Wijesekera brought that idea to the fore and said that the electricity bill should be raised again. Kanchana said that the board has incurred a loss of 30 billion rupees due to the non-production of hydroelectricity and the fact that the water that was supposed to be used for the production of electricity had to be released to agriculture.
Sole opposer Nalin
However, when Kanchana said this, all the ministers kept their mouths shut without saying a word, but unexpectedly, only one minister expressed his opinion against it. It is none other than Trade Minister Nalin Fernando. Nalin said that if the electricity bill is raised twice if it is decided to raise it again, it cannot be avoided that there will be a big public protest against it.
“Earlier, we increased the electricity bill twice. At that time we said that we would not increase the electricity bill again because people are facing a hard time this time around. If the electricity bill is increased again, people will not be able to do anything. All the ministers listened to what Nalin was saying, ‘Businesses will be disrupted…’ but they did not try to comment in favour of Nalin. Accordingly, the government sent the proposal to increase the electricity bill to the Public Utilities Commission through the Electricity Board.
Although this was not officially announced until last Thursday, information about such an incident was reported to the opposition by Wednesday. According to this, SJB Media Spokesperson Mr. S.M. Marikkar was the first to reveal this to the country, stating that the government intends to raise the electricity bill. There, several electricity customers displayed their bills and told the media that if their bills were raised again, they would take to the streets in protest.