Sri Lankan PM: Economy has collapsed
The Island is facing its worst-ever economic crisis.
Sri Lanka's debt-ridden economy has "collapsed" following months of food, gasoline, and energy shortages, the prime minister told parliament, emphasizing the country's precarious predicament as it seeks assistance from foreign lenders.
Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis, with the country unable to import basic necessities, most notably food, fuel, and medicines.
Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament that the South Asian country is in a "far more serious situation" than only food shortages, and he warned of a "possible fall to rock bottom."
On Wednesday, he said, "Our economy has completely collapsed."
His remarks appeared to be meant to emphasize to critics and opposition politicians that he has inherited a difficult challenge that would take time to resolve.
Anit Mukherjee, a policy fellow and economist at the Center for Global Development in Washington, stated the PM was "setting expectations really, really low."
The Sri Lankan economy is collapsing under the weight of massive debts, reduced tourism earnings, and other pandemic-related repercussions, as well as rising commodity prices. As a result, the country is on the verge of bankruptcy, with little money to import fuel, milk, cooking gas, and toilet paper.
Lawmakers from the two main opposition parties are boycotting parliament this week in protest of Wickremesinghe, who became Prime Minister and Finance Minister a little over a month ago, for failing to deliver on his promises to turn the economy around.
Wickremesinghe stated that due to a large debt owed by its petroleum firm, Sri Lanka is unable to acquire foreign fuel.
Days ago, Sri Lankan officials reported that the military opened fire to quell rioting at a fuel station, as unprecedented lines for petrol and diesel formed across the bankrupt country.
The country's 22 million people have been suffering from acute shortages and long lines for scarce supplies, while President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has resisted calls to resign over mismanagement for months.
In addition, the country is experiencing record-high inflation and lengthy power outages, all of which have contributed to months of protests.
It has also defaulted on its $51 billion foreign debt in April and is negotiating a bailout with the International Monetary Fund.