ECONOMYNEXT – Ahead of an address to the nation by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Friday (June 25) evening, Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has said he expects to hear solutions to six main issues in the televised speech.
Premadasa said in a statement Friday afternoon that he anticipates solutions from the president to the fuel price hike, the fertiliser issue, the problems faced by fisherfolk in the wake of the X-Press Pearl disaster, shortcomings in online education, a shortage in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the health sector as well as a drop in PCR testing, and financial assistance to Sri Lankans who have lost their livelihoods due to the epidemic.
People from all walks of life are suffering as a result of the sudden increase in fuel prices, Premadasa said.
“In his speech, we expect the president to spell out the steps he will take to restore fuel prices to what they were before the recent increase,” he said.
Farmers in Sri Lanka are undergoing severe hardships because of the overnight change in the government’s fertiliser policy, said the opposition leader.
“We expect the president to promise farmers free fertiliser this season and upcoming seasons through a well-planned programme and to methodically the change Sri Lanka’s fertiliser policy,” he said.
Premadasa also wants President Rajapaksa to promise relief to fisherfolk affected by the X-Press Pearl disaster, one of the worst ecological disasters in Sri Lanka’s history, and a sustainable programme to conserve and protect the ecosystems damaged in the disaster.
Though it may already be too late, Premadasa said the president must also offer a quick solution to the issue of online education faced by students as schools continue to remain closed amid the COVID-19 epidemic.
Calling for a continued supply of PPEs and other equipment to the health sector and for other state sector workers, Premadasa said the president must also look at increasing PCR testing in the country.
“The president, in his speech, should also tell the people about steps taken to provide financial support to those who have lost their livelihoods due to COVID-19,” said Premadasa.
“No one can be satisfied with as little as Rs 5,000,” he added.