AGL 5.41 Decreased By ▼ -0.09 (-1.64%)
ANL 8.71 Increased By ▲ 0.02 (0.23%)
AVN 76.16 Increased By ▲ 0.32 (0.42%)
BOP 5.17 Decreased By ▼ -0.01 (-0.19%)
CNERGY 4.47 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.89%)
EFERT 81.21 Increased By ▲ 0.12 (0.15%)
EPCL 49.17 Decreased By ▼ -0.83 (-1.66%)
FCCL 12.69 Increased By ▲ 0.16 (1.28%)
FFL 5.59 Increased By ▲ 0.07 (1.27%)
FLYNG 6.98 Increased By ▲ 0.03 (0.43%)
FNEL 4.63 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-0.43%)
GGGL 8.59 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.12%)
GGL 14.06 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-1.33%)
HUMNL 5.49 Decreased By ▼ -0.10 (-1.79%)
KEL 2.60 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (2.36%)
LOTCHEM 27.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.23 (-0.82%)
MLCF 23.56 Decreased By ▼ -0.14 (-0.59%)
OGDC 71.45 Decreased By ▼ -0.19 (-0.27%)
PAEL 15.23 Increased By ▲ 0.14 (0.93%)
PIBTL 4.90 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.2%)
PRL 15.75 Decreased By ▼ -0.06 (-0.38%)
SILK 1.05 Decreased By ▼ -0.02 (-1.87%)
TELE 9.00 Increased By ▲ 0.06 (0.67%)
TPL 7.16 Increased By ▲ 0.13 (1.85%)
TPLP 19.14 Increased By ▲ 0.83 (4.53%)
TREET 20.99 Decreased By ▼ -0.04 (-0.19%)
TRG 136.92 Increased By ▲ 2.37 (1.76%)
UNITY 16.74 Increased By ▲ 0.11 (0.66%)
WAVES 9.10 Decreased By ▼ -0.22 (-2.36%)
WTL 1.37 Increased By ▲ 0.01 (0.74%)
BR100 4,155 Increased By 0.1 (0%)
BR30 15,335 Increased By 46.6 (0.3%)
KSE100 41,540 Decreased By -72.7 (-0.17%)
KSE30 15,365 Increased By 5 (0.03%)
Follow us

COLOMBO: Three political parties that recently withdrew from Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition have proposed forming an interim government with a new prime minister replacing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s older brother, they said on Monday.

Facing an economic crisis and dragged down by debt, the island nation of 22 million people is running short of power, fuel, food and medicines due to a lack of foreign exchange for imports. It has reached out to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and countries such as India and China for urgent financial help.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa called for patience and announced the reinstatement of a critical fertiliser subsidy for farmers.

“The president and I are spending every moment to formulate solutions on how to get Sri Lanka out of this current crisis,” he said in a televised address, as protesters camped outside the president’s office for the third consecutive day.

President Rajapaksa dissolved his cabinet last week and called for a unity government to help tackle the crisis, as 41 lawmakers walked out of the ruling coalition to become independents in the 225-seat parliament. The government has said it retains a majority in the house.

Three parties represented by 16 of the lawmakers told reporters that they had met the president and the prime minister and that more talks were scheduled for Tuesday.

Sri Lanka’s prime minister calls for patience as protests continue

“The main proposal is to have an all-party committee to make key decisions and the appointment of a new prime minister and a limited Cabinet,” said Udaya Gammanpila, chief of the Jathika Hela Urumaya party.

“We want this before a new election. We have to reverse shortages and stabilise the economy.”

Sri Lanka’s next parliamentary election is not due until 2025.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), with 14 lawmakers, said the independents would speak with other political parties to come to a consensus, as the government prepares to hold loan discussions with the IMF next week.

“Talks with the IMF will need a stable government capable of implementing clear policies,” SLFP General-Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera said. “This is necessary to repair the economy and bring relief to the people.”

Fertiliser Subsidy

In his address, the prime minister said the government would reintroduce a critical fertiliser subsidy to assist farmers who have been hit by crop losses after a ban on chemical fertilisers last year.

“This is not the time to move farmers to total organic fertilisers,” he said.

Sri Lanka typically allocates about 36 billion Sri Lankan rupees ($114 million) for fertiliser subsidies, according to the agriculture ministry, which supports over 2 million farmers.

Sri Lanka’s embattled leader faces biggest street protest

The government suspended the fertiliser subsidy last year in an attempt to shift Sri Lanka’s agriculture completely to organic farming, which drew heavy criticism from farmer unions, opposition politicians and academics.

Sri Lankans holding street demonstrations for more than a month have focused their anger on the Rajapaksa dynasty. The president has already dropped his brother Basil Rajapksa as the finance minister, while his nephew quit as the sports minister last week along with other members of the cabinet.

“We are working to resolve power cuts and shortages of fuel, cooking gas and medicines as much as possible in the next few days,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

The government is now looking for external assistance of about $3 billion over the next six months to help restore supplies of essential items. It is also seeking to restructure international sovereign debt and seek a moratorium on payments.

J.P. Morgan analysts estimate Sri Lanka’s gross debt servicing would amount to $7 billion this year, with a current account deficit of around $3 billion. The country held $1.9 billion in foreign reserves at the end of March.


Comments are closed.

Sri Lankan parties seek interim govt with new PM as IMF talks loom

Perishables worth $5.5mn stuck at Karachi port 'owing to dollar shortage'

FIR registered in Arshad Sharif’s murder on Supreme Court’s order

Fight against terrorism to continue till establishment of enduring peace, stability: Gen Asim Munir

Rupee remains under pressure, settles at 224.11 against US dollar

Sanaullah urges PTI leaders to use parliament for discussion on next general elections

Morocco dump Spain out on penalties to reach historic World Cup quarters

Unity Foods to invest nearly Rs2bn in Sunridge Foods subsidiary

CDA decides to de-seal Centaurus Mall

Ukraine slams India for buying Russian oil

Oil prices fall on economic fears, dollar strength