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‘Most difficult time of our lives’: Sri Lanka PM addresses nation on economic crisis


Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Monday said that the next couple of months will be the most difficult ones owing to the current economic crisis.

“The next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives. We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” he said in a televised address to the nation.

“I have no desire to hide the truth and to lie to the public. Although these facts are unpleasant and terrifying, this is the true situation. For a short period, our future will be even more difficult than the tough times that we have experienced. We will face considerable challenges and adversity. However, this period will not be long,” he added.

READ | Sri Lanka and beyond, a Chinese hand that feeds crisis

Wickremesinghe also said that his aim is to save the crisis-hit country, and not a person, family or group, in a reference to the politically-influential Rajapaksa family.

The United National Party (UNP) leader was appointed as Sri Lanka’s new prime minister after Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the post following violence that erupted after a clash between pro- and anti- government protesters.

Speaking about the crumbling economy, the 73-year-old leader said the finance ministry is finding it difficult to raise USD 5 million required to import gas.

“At the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day. Due to the diesel shipment that arrived yesterday, the lack of diesel will be resolved to some extent. There is a possibility that inflation will increase further,” he said.

For now, a relief budget will be introduced to replace the 2022 Development Budget. PM Wickremesinghe also proposed to privatise SriLankan Airlines, a loss-making entity at present.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who has refused to quit, appointed a new Prime Minister and a young cabinet last week which would introduce key constitutional reforms to curb his powers, amid protests that killed eight people leaving over 200 injured.





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