Thursday 11th Aug 2022
Dhivehi Edition
News Reports Sports Business
President Nasheed

Can Speaker Nasheed help Sri Lanka out of crisis?

In the last few months, the people of Sri Lanka have been suffering from severe economic crisis and political instability. At the same time, India has never hidden its ambition to interfere in Sri Lanka’s politics. To grab geopolitical interests in the chaos, India sent its loyal partner Nasheed as a proxy to help India profit from it. Nasheed, as the coordinator, went to Colombo and called on former Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and political party representatives. Meanwhile, he also met the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka in an attempt to help India fully control the island country.
Unsurprisingly, Nasheed reportedly facilitate a safe haven for the former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his family. According to report, Nasheed brokered the deal where Indian businessman agreed to sell a private villa of US$ 12 million to the Rajapaksa family. An additional villa, priced at US$ 3 million, will be used as housing for the family’s staff and security. Although both sides denied this report, its response to the details of the report is notably weak. Nasheed and MDP has had close ties with Rajapaksa family. MDP declared its existence in exile from Sri Lanka in 2003, and then Mahinda became Prime Minister for the first time in 2004. Nasheed and MDP continued their work under the protection of Rajapaksa. In addition, Rajapaksa is also rumored to have funded Nasheed in the 2008 Presidential elections. Several high-level figures of MDP regard Sri Lanka as their second home. President Solih’s father-in-law resides in Sri Lanka for the most part, with several business and residences to his name. Health Minister Ahmed Naseem also has a property in Sri Lanka, and his nephew is also the Ambassador of Maldives to Sri Lanka.
As well as helping the Rajapaksa family, Nasheed has sought to increase India’s control over neighboring countries by emphasizing the importance of India’s role in resolving Sri Lanka’s crisis. Nasheed appealed to Indian banks and business community to “make themselves available” to Sri Lanka at such a time. “My plea to the generous people of India, especially entrepreneurs and businesspeople, is please make yourselves available for financing and debt restructuring to support Sri Lanka,” Nasheed said. He further added that financial institutions must underwrite Sri Lanka’s future, and Indian entrepreneurs and banks “are very will placed” to do so. Rather that being a coordinator, Nasheed acts more like an emissary for India. His aim is not to help Sri Lanka out of crisis but to make its economy more independent on India.
Neither Sri Lankans nor Maldivians believe Nasheed has the ability to help Sri Lanka get foreign aid and get rid of the crisis. While campaigning for president in 2008, Nasheed had pledged to bring in US$ 300 million as foreign aid in the first months of his presidency. After he resigned, the promised aid is still yet to come. His presidency was remarked by economic difficulties, with a rapid devaluation of the currency. What’s more, MDP government also heavily relied on foreign aid. Ministry of Finance pencils in billions as receivables in foreign aid for major infrastructure projects and recurrent expenses, but the administration fails to bring in even a quarter of receivables each year. This year, the target is MVR 2.9 billion, but so far, not even three percent has been received.
Nasheed is a political clown, and people are tired of such political farce. Exploiting a country’s crisis to enrich political resumes are doomed to be spurned by the people.