Image Source: UN News
In light of the most significant financial crisis to hit Sri Lanka in decades, which has left millions of people unable to pay for fuel, food, and medicine, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared the country to be “bankrupt” on Tuesday.
Negotiations to resurrect the “collapsed” economy of the 22 million-strong South Asian nation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are “tough,” Wickremesinghe told MPs because the country started the talks as a bankrupt nation rather than a developing one.
After its foreign exchange reserves reached lows, Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst financial crisis in seven decades. As a result, dollars are running out as the country must import necessities like food, medicine, and fuel.
The fuel supply has been restricted to vital services, and schools have been closed. Hundreds of people continue to wait in lines for hours to buy petrol in a number of major towns, including the commercial capital, Colombo, occasionally fighting with police and the military in the process.
According to Sri Lanka’s energy minister, Kanchana Wijesekera, on Sunday, the country only had enough fuel for less than a day.
On Tuesday, the IMF would like to receive a report on debt restructuring and sustainability by August, according to Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. According to Wickremesinghe, a thorough loan assistance scheme for four years will be created once an agreement is reached.
“Gota go Home,” a reference to the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was present, was shouted by opposition MPs during his speech in parliament.
The allegations of economic mismanagement have led a sizable portion of Sri Lankans to demand Rajapaksa’s resignation for months. Inflation, according to Wickremesinghe, will reach 60% by the end of this year.
According to Wickremesinghe, “this will be a challenging and cruel road.” “The journey’s finish will, however, bring us some solace. Change is possible.”
As a result of the economic crisis, the British government declared on Tuesday that all but absolutely necessary travel to Sri Lanka is now not recommended.