Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa claimed his government “has not received a single dollar from the World Bank and other organisations”, despite hundreds of millions of dollars being pledged internationally for Colombo amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Rajapaksa made the comments during a meeting with officials of the Sri Lankan film industry and cinema owners at Temple Trees.
According to Colombo Gazette and AdaDerana when questioned about his government’s financial support to the film industry during the current unstable economic climate, Rajapaksa said that “the global economy and the local economy has collapsed”.
“Sri Lanka has not received a single dollar from the World Bank and other organisations,” he claimed.
Rajapaksa’s comments come despite the World Bank approving a $126.8 million dollar relief package in April 2020 as part of the Sri Lanka COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project.
The fast track package included a $35 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and $93.6 million in credit from the International Development Association for developing countries.
Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, the outgoing World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka is yet to make a statement regarding Rajapaksa’s comment.
Recent months have seen a host of international donors, including the United States and the European Union, pledge hundreds of millions of dollars to Sri Lanka. The island’s economy has been faltering for months, with the coronavirus pandemic worsening the financial outlook.