Sri Lanka yet to receive monetary foreign assistance for the fight against COVID-19

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Sri Lanka is yet to receive any monetary foreign assistance in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic despite signing an agreement with the World Bank, a statement from the finance ministry said on Monday.

“Sri Lanka had inked an agreement with the World Bank for USD 127 million assistance for its operation against coronavirus fight but the money remains yet to be received,” the statement said, quoting a senior bureaucrat of the finance ministry, the portfolio held by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sri Lanka has 718 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 7 deaths, local media reported.

Rajapaksa had convened a meeting of parliamentarians of the last parliament to discuss the COVID-19 situation in view of the government’s rejection of the opposition request to reconvene the dissolved parliament.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declined a request from the opposition parties on May 1 to reconvene the dissolved Parliament, saying they are trying to make a political gain at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country.

Rajapaksa on March 2 dissolved the Parliament, six months ahead of schedule, and called a snap election initially for April 25 which later was changed to June 20.

However, the new date was also left in balance on Saturday as a special meeting of political parties to firm up the date ended inconclusive.

The opposition claims that public expenditure was legally permitted only until April 30 and Parliament must be reconvened to regularise the use of money from the consolidated fund.

On Monday, the main Tamil party Tamil National Alliance was the only opposition political outfit to take part in the new meeting with Rajapaksa.

The TNA said they urged Rajapaksa to reconvene Parliament to deal with constitutional and legal issues that had surfaced.

All major parties other than the TNA had boycotted Rajapaksa’s meeting due to President Rajapaksa’s refusal to reconvene parliament based on a joint request which came from 7 opposition party leaders.

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