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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Opposition leader to re-negotiate IMF loan to Sri Lanka if elected to power
Wed, Mar 17, 2010, 06:06 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 17, Colombo: Sri Lanka opposition and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe said if elected to power he would re-negotiate the US$ 2.6 billion stand-by arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that the funding agency had already agree to such a move.

"I have already spoken to the IMF and they have agreed," he said.

Wickremasinghe told the media that he would formulate a separate deal if elected to power at the April 8 general election.

He noted that financial agreements should be formulated in a manner beneficial to the country. "There is no point in looking at cutting without growing," he quipped.

Wickremasinghe noted that the country's total debt has increased against the country's revenue.

"Our annual revenue is only Rs.705 billion and the debt and interest payment is Rs.825 billion," he said.

Speaking of how he planned to address the country's economic issues in accordance to the policy statement released by the UNP yesterday (16), Wickremasinghe said that he would push for a one to two year debt moratorium for the country from friendly nations that have given concessionary loans, stop the repayment of foreign commercial borrowings that are illegal and increase new revenue generating methods through cracking down on corruption.

He added that steps would also be taken to take over the troubled assets from banks to restructure the system.

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