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Tuesday April 16th, 2024

Sri Lanka voters need awareness to prevent another economic crisis: Legislator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka voters need awareness to elect politicians who tell the truth to the public and prevent another economic crisis like in 2022, Parliament MP Wajira Abeywardana said.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe-led center-right United National Party (UNP) was brought down to an unprecedented one seat in the 225-member parliament during 2020 general elections after it put forward the needs for economic reforms.

However, the Sri Lankan voters gave a strong mandate to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) which promised a raft of subsidies and tax concessions. However, the party failed with wrong economic policies.

The SLPP faced public wrath when the economic crisis unfolded in 2022 and later its top leaders including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa were forced to resign in the face of strong mass protests.

“We told the truth and got defeated. We told the reality, then we lost. The last defeat resulted in with just one MP post,” Abeywardana told reporters in Colombo when asked what made his party to think that the people would elect Wickremesinghe again after rejecting him in multiple elections.

“The reason why he was later became as the president was because he told the truth and reality,” Abeywardana, a close ally of President Wickremesinghe and

“People never accepted the truth, but they did when they fell to the worst level (due to the economic crisis), When we sent him (Wickremesinghe) to the parliament, he told the same truth in the parliament.”

“Finally the truth won.”

Once became the president, Wickremesinghe has put the country in a recovery path with the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, people have complained of high taxes and cost of living.

President Wickremesinghe will contest in the upcoming presidency under a common coalition, his allies have said. However, political analysts say, he would face a challenging task in convincing the voters given other political parties still giving false promises.

“We have to educate the people and make them aware about things nobody can deliver. People should be made understand that these people are promising what they can’t do and fairy tales. Because the same false promises have been repeated for the last 75 years,” he said.

“Specially, the new generation see the world. That young generation has changed. There is a deficiency in voter education and we have to carry on it to make them aware.” (Colombo/March 27/2024)

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IMF urged Sri Lanka to preserve “hard earned gains” after economic crisis: State FinMin

ECONOMYNEXT – The International Monetary Fund has urged Sri Lanka to preserve the hard earned gains after an unprecedented economic crisis under the global lender’s programme, State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe said.

The Sri Lankan delegation led by Shehan Semasinghe met Kenji Okamura, the Deputy Managjng Director of the IMF on the first day of the IMF and  World Bank Spring meeting.

“Mr. Okamura commended the Sri Lankan authorities on strong programme implementation and excellent reform progress. He emphasised the need to preserve the hard earned gains Sri Lanka has experienced since the beginning of the IMF programme and continue strong ownership,” the State Minister said in his X (Twitter) platform.

He said the Sri Lankan delegation including Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe and Secretary to the Treasury Mahinda Siriwardana explained the recent socio-economic developments to Okamura.

He also affirmed the IMF top official on the authorities’ commitment to ensuring continuity and consistency of macroeconomic policies and reforms undertaken under the programme. (Colombo/April 16/2024)

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Sri Lanka State FinMin meets BCIU in US; discusses post-crisis investment prospects 

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s State Finance Minister Shehan Semasinghe met Business Council for International Understanding( BCIU) in Washington on the sideline of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings late on Monday and discussed investment prospects in the island nation which is gradually recovering from an unprecedented economic crisis.
“Our discussion centered on the potential that Sri Lanka offers for international investors. Explored various sectors, including education, tourism, renewable energy, agriculture and technology, where strategic investments can drive sustainable economic growth and development,” Semasinghe said in his X (Twitter) platform. 
“We reviewed the current macro-economic landscape of Sri Lanka, including recent reforms that have transformed to results. Glad to concluded the forum by marking constructive dialogue and a shared commitment to support the economic development of Sri Lanka.” 
“We thank participants, stakeholders holders and global partners for the significant interest shown in unlocking the full potential of the Sri Lankan economy and fostering greater international understanding and cooperation.” (Colombo/April 16/2024) 
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India allows Sri Lanka to import 10,000MT of onions

ECONOMYNEXT – India has relaxed an export ban allowing 10,000 metric tonnes of onions to be shipped to Sri Lanka, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“The exemption for Sri Lanka reiterated India’s Neighbourhood First policy, adding to the Sinhala and Tamil New Year festivities here,” the statement said.

Onion prices went up in Sri Lanka after India and Pakistan banned exports.

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade has issued a notice allowing National Co-operative Exports Limited to ship 10,000 MT of onions.

The UAE has also been allowed to import 10,000MT of onions on top of 24,400MT already permitted.

A large Indian and South Asian expat community lives in the UAE. (Colombo/Apr15/2024)

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