No end in sight for the economic crisis in Sri Lanka: the opposition

Sri Lanka’s current currency crisis and related economic problems will not end anytime soon, the main opposition party said on Wednesday.

Harsha de Silva, main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) spokesperson for economic affairs, said it “looks like the crisis is going to drag on. (It’s a) Huge failure of governance”.

He said he and his economics team had met with senior Central Bank officials to discuss the crisis.

Criticizing the Central Bank’s handling of the crisis, de Silva alleged that they viewed the crisis only as short-term.

“The Central Bank still sees the crisis as a short-term liquidity crisis, getting a swap here and there, postponing Asian Monetary Union payments, etc.,” he said.

De Silva said the Central Bank did not appear to be resorting to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout with a debt restructuring plan.

Sri Lanka is going through its worst economic crisis since mid-December, when its foreign exchange reserves fell to a historic low.

As a result, the island nation’s economy has faced shortages of essential commodities and an energy crisis with shortages of coal and fuel oil imports to generate thermal power to supplement the national grid.

Long queues are seen at petrol stations while seven-hour power cuts are imposed.

The opposition’s meeting with the Central Bank came after government action on Tuesday to appoint an 11-member high-level economic council.

Comprised of the three major Rajapaksa brothers – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and senior ministers and officials, the Council is appointed to accelerate economic growth by reviewing economic and financial policies.

The finance minister is due to visit New Delhi this month to seal a billion-dollar loan facility to finance imports of basic necessities.

In the absence of opting for an IMF facility, Sri Lanka requested in January an Indian economic relief program to overcome the crisis.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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