Minister for Economic Reform, Science &
Technology and Deputy Minister for Policy Development and Implementation,
Milinda Moragoda and the Ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands,
Susan Blankhart, have announced the realization of 1 billion Sri Lankan
Rupees (9.9 million Euro) as debt relief from The Netherlands to Sri Lanka.
At the Oslo conference in November 2003, The Netherlands Government pledged Rs. 1 billion (9.9 million Euro) of general budget support to Sri Lanka. This amount corresponds to the bilateral debt service of Sri Lanka in 2002 and 2003. The Netherlands has effectuated this debt relief by wavering Sri Lanka's debt service for 2003 and by refunding the debt service that was already paid by the Sri Lankan government in 2002. Through this debt relief, a considerable amount has become effectively available in support of the Sri Lankan budget, with a view to assist the government in meeting its public expenses. The presentation of this debt relief at the Oslo conference was meant to encourage the Sri Lankan Government to contribute, through the State Budget, to various programs presented on that occasion.
This debt relief comes on top of the Rs. 1.1 billion (10.6 million Euro) per year. The Netherlands grants to programs in the field of environment and rehabilitation, and in the Plantation Welfare Trust.
Recently another Rs. 45 million (US 465,000) has granted to the HALO trust Mine Clearance program in Sri Lanka. Further, the Government of Netherlands extended financial assistance for cultural co-operation activities, mainly in the field of preservation and development of common cultural heritage between Sri Lanka and The Netherlands. The government of The Netherlands hopes to support the peace process with these grants and to deliver substantial peace dividend to the people in Sri Lanka.