Sri Lankan opposition concerned on economic crisis, former PM calls for 'common policy framework'

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the country needed to have a “long-term common policy framework” and the common opposition alliance won't be enough at a time of a deep economic crisis

Jul 26, 2021
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Sri Lanka (File)

Former Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the country needed to have a “long-term common policy framework” and the common opposition alliance won't be enough at a time of a deep economic crisis. On Sunday, he suggested a cautious approach towards the Chinese’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying the government should accept the “good aspects” of the BRI and “reject” bad ones. At the same point, without elaborating, he stressed maintaining good relations with all other countries, including India.

“We need to maintain a good relationship with India, China, and Europe,” Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror during a webinar. “We need a common set of policies which is protected by the constitution like in many other nations such as China, Japan, and European nations.”

On the fall of his earlier government, he said they failed to form a common policy framework. 

On forming a united alliance against the government, he said there was no point in defeating the Rajapaksa regime if the opposition alliance partners could not agree on a common policy framework, he said.  

In a separate interview, Eran Wickramaratne, a senior leader of opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), emphasized the need to form a consensus among opposition parties on key issues. 

“The presidential election is still a long way off. The country’s situation is so bad. Therefore, the opposition should get together,” he said in an interview with Daily Mirror. “We need to talk to each other and find common ground on common issues. That is a very good development. We are more concerned about the current situation.”

A month back, Sajith Premadasa, the country’s opposition leader, also expressed deep concern over the mishandling of the economy by the government. 

For almost a year now, the government has been relying on credit lines through China and other countries just to maintain its reserves and avoiding default on debt servicing. 

Moodys recently sounded an alar on the country’s economic situation and placed its Caa1 rating under review. 

Moody’s in its assessment said Sri Lanka’s financing options remain narrow with borrowing costs in international markets still prohibitive. It also assessed that the government’s foreign exchange reserve would continue declining from already low levels. 

This will further erode its ability to meet sizeable and recurring external debt servicing needs, and increasing the balance of payment risks, the agency said in the statement released last week. 

(SAM)