May 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera today extended an invitation to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa to a television debate on the country's debt burden.
The Minister at a media briefing held at the Finance Ministry auditorium today, asked Mr. Rajapaksa to refrain from reading from statements written by others and challenged the former government's finance minister for a public debate.
Minister Samaraweera said the overwhelming majority of the country's debt was obtained during the Rajapaksa administration.
He stressed that Rajapaksa and his followers are continuing to follow the "Goebbels' Theory" - a big lie - and deceive the public.
Earlier, in a statement on social media, the Finance Minister said after Independence in 1948, the highest amount of foreign debt has to be paid in 2018 and 63 percent of that debt was to pay off the loans obtained by the previous government for wasteful projects and reelection campaign of the former president.
The Minister further said that the prices of essential commodities in relation to the prices of food items in the Rajapaksa government in 2014 remained unchanged.
Responding to a question by a journalist, Minister Samaraweera said not only he is afraid of the former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, but also the general public and journalists are afraid of him.
The Minister said he was again reminded of the white van culture and the attacks on journalists carried out while Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was the Defense Secretary. Therefore, the people and he, himself are afraid of the former Defense Secretary, he said.