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There are rumours that Sri Lankan Prime Minister   Ranil Wickremesinghe  had to take over the finance portfolio also, since no member of Sri Lankan parliament was willing to take up this challenge of managing the country’s  finance.  Instead of looking at the scenario in  such negative manner, it would be appropriate to think that Prime Minister taking over the finance portfolio also is a progressive step , as the finance portfolio requires the maximum
attention at this stage.

While the Sri Lankan government is negotiating with IMF to get financial assistance , it appears that the decision of IMF is yet to be taken firmly.  Meanwhile, Sri Lankan government approached the World Bank and it is said that the World Bank ruled out any new assistance to Sri Lanka , until an adequate macro economic policy framework would be in place.  World Bank has said that it was working with IMF and other development partners to advise an appropriate policies to restore economic stability in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka government  is losing time, as  the  shortages in fuel  and other essentials  are creating restive conditions amongst the people.

It is said  that Sri Lanka has decided to seek fresh assistance of 500 million USD  from India to augment it’s fuel imports.   So far, it appears that only India has responded to Sri Lanka’s need with great sense of urgency and good will.   But there is a limit to  the capability  of India to financially help Sri Lanka , since India is a developing country with a huge population.

Obviously, Sri Lanka government, instead of thinking that external loan and  grant  would be the  only solution,  has to look within and examine all possibilities to augment the country’s resources and earnings   and develop a time bound   contingency action plan on the economic front. However, it appears that such plans  are yet to be evolved and announced to the people  with clarity.

What Sri Lanka urgently needs is  short term action plan as well as long term action plan.

There are some announcements such as about the plans to advertise plots for studies on oil exploration in the Mannar basin , privatisation of  loss making national carrier Sri Lanka Airlines, printing more money to pay state sector employees etc.  These steps will not happen anytime soon and do not create confidence that  Sri Lanka government  is capable of solving the economic issues . Printing more currency is not the elegant way of solving Sri Lanka’s economic woes at this stage.

There are several short term plans that can be quickly implemented. For example, Sri Lanka’s production of tea is estimated to be lower by around 18 to 20%. Sri Lanka caters to majority of global market to supply tea including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Russia and others. Tea production efficiency can be increased in quick time  and Sri Lankan
can request for advance payment for the tea export from  other countries by indulging in suitable negotiations . Similarly, Sri Lanka has several mineral deposits which are currently exported and this can be stepped up. There are so many other immediate opportunities and avenues, about  which the government is not talking.

The problem today in Sri Lanka is that there is more talk about politics than  about technology solutions. Politics in Sri Lanka is now becoming counter productive  and many politicians seem to have prejudiced approach and do not seem to think that the national interest must precede personal interest.  It is sad that even at this critical time , the politicians belonging to different parties in Sri Lanka  have not come forward to offer unconditional support to Prime Minister in implementing the strategies to overcome the crisis.

The utterances and behaviour of so many politicians in Sri Lanka are so disgusting that international agencies like IMF and World Bank are suspicious about the political stability in Sri Lanka   and do not get the confidence in the capability of politicians in Sri Lanka to stabilise the country’s economy and other growth oriented sector.

Now,  the initiative and responsibility has to be with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister rather than the President Gotabayya, whose leadership qualities and capability have been questioned. The country expects more from the Prime Minister and the country wants the President  to give free hand to the Prime Minister.

Given the ground realities in Sri Lanka, whatever decision that the Prime Minister would take and implement would be questioned by some politicians and political parties , may be  without even examining the merits.  The Prime Minister should take the people in to confidence and   build a climate where people would have confidence in the
government   and give time for the government to enable Sri Lanka  to get out of the present messy situation.

Section of politicians in Sri Lanka may continue to whip up passion amongst innocent people  and organise demonstrations and protests.  It causes concern that even religious heads are interfering in the matter , without confining themselves to the matter concerning religion . There is, however, a silent majority in Sri Lanka,   who would respond to positive governance.

The Prime Minister should talk more about technological solutions , industrial ventures and give greater prominence and importance to the  views of experts in different fields  rather than that of politicians.

Sri Lanka’s governance should be guided by technologists and engineers and economic experts and not by politicians  at the present time This is possible only if the Prime Minister would recognise the talented people in Sri Lanka  publicly and  give them prominence and without losing further time  in organising a taskforce of experts to guide the country  at this critical time.  So far, there is no indication that technologists and experts are heard in Sri Lanka  adequately.

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