Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa requests debt moratorium

Sri Lankan police commandos prepare to spray disinfectants in a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, March 27, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems

Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa is requesting that international financial organizations provide debt moratorium or debt deferment facilities to developing nations such as Sri Lanka, which are adversely affected due to the new coronavirus.

Rajapaksa made the request on Wednesday during a telephone discussion with the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Rajapaksa requested Ghebreyesus to speak with the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, president of the World Bank, president of the Asian Development Bank and leaders of the leading bilateral lending nations “to provide debt moratorium or debt re-profiling facilities for vulnerable developing countries like Sri Lanka whose economies depend on tourism, exports, remittances and foreign investment in debt and equity markets.”

Ghebreyesus said on Twitter that he discussed with Rajapaksa the health and economic impacts COVID-19 can have on Sri Lanka and the whole region.

“I thanked him for mobilizing the whole-of-government in the fight against the coronavirus.” he added.

Sri Lanka has imposed a curfew since March 20, locking down the whole country and banning nonessential travel. Police are strictly enforcing the law and have arrested thousands who have violated the curfew regulations.

Two people have so far died due to COVID-19 while there are 142 positive cases.

The coronavirus has dealt a severe blow to the country’s lucrative tourism and garment industries.

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