Sri Lanka must have a uniform national policy that does not change with every government, says President Wickremesinghe

Updated: Oct 10 2022 8:42PM

Colombo, Oct 10 (PTI) Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said the country needs a uniform national policy that does not change with every government, as he invited all political parties to commit to this pledge by setting aside their differences to address the economic crisis. Wickremesinghe made these comments during the opening of the first life-saving pharmaceutical manufacturing plant established in the country. The President reiterated that building a robust economic policy and political stability is essential, for which he invited all political parties to join hands to discuss the national policy framework using the "Jathika Sabhawa" (National Council) as a platform, according to news portal "We should all follow one national policy, and engage in daily debates. We made the mistake of changing policies with every change of government. Even when the ministers changed within the government, the policies were changed. So how can you expect the country to prosper? We must have a good economic, social and political framework," the report quoted Wickremesinghe as saying. "Our economic framework depends on the stability of the political framework. If a stable political system cannot be established, the people of the country will suffer," he explained. Wickremesinghe also pointed out that he is working towards establishing a national policy to prepare an export economy using competitive and modern technology. He argued that a foreign exchange deficit cannot be maintained if the country hoped to rebuild its beleaguered economy.

"We need to increase our foreign income. The goods produced for export, the crops grown and the services provided should be increased. We need an export-oriented economy that uses the most competitive technology," he added. Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is going through its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948 which was triggered by a severe paucity of foreign exchange reserves. In mid-April, Sri Lanka declared its international debt default due to the forex crisis.

The country owes USD 51 billion in foreign debt, of which USD 28 billion must be paid by 2027. There have been street protests in Sri Lanka against the government since early April due to its mishandling of the economic crisis. A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas, and other essentials while power cuts and soaring food prices have heaped misery on the people. In September, the IMF announced it will provide Sri Lanka with a loan of about USD 2.9 billion over four years under a preliminary agreement to help the bankrupt island nation tide over its worst economic crisis. PTI VM AKJ VM.