Sun, 03 Jul 2022

Colombo [Sri Lanka], May 15 (ANI): Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday held discussions with the country's representatives of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) amid the ongoing economic crisis in the Island nation.

Issuing a statement, the Sri Lankan PM said that he also held discussions with foreign envoys regarding the formation of an international consortium to aid Sri Lanka in financing its debt.

The discussions with the World Bank and the ADB focused on assistance on the issues ranging from the supply of medicines to food and fertiliser, an official statement informed.

Saying that the discussions held were "positive", PM Wickremesinghe said that the Government is facing the immediate challenge of securing funds to pay for the fuel requirement for this coming week.

"Due to the dollar shortages in the banks, the Government is now exploring other options of securing the necessary funding," Wickremesinghe added.

PM Wickremesinghe further stated that the 21st Amendment, to curtail the powers of the Sri Lankan President would be taken up for discussion tomorrow. It will then be presented to Cabinet for approval.

The Sri Lankan Prime Minister also said that following his meetings over the past two days, he would provide a full explanation of the financial crisis in the country on Monday.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power cuts affecting a large number of the citizens, resulting in massive protests over the government's handling of the situation.

The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a fall in tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as reckless economic policies including the government's last year's move to ban chemical fertilizers in a bid to make Sri Lanka's agriculture "100 per cent organic".

Due to an acute shortage of foreign exchange, Sri Lanka recently defaulted on the entirety of its foreign debt amounting to about USD 51 billion.

The economic situation led to huge protests with demands for the resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, with the former finally succumbing to public pressure and resigning on Monday, soon after the protests outside the Prime Minister's residence turned violent. (ANI)

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