ECONOMYNEXT – An ally of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday admitted that the government should have sought International Monetary Fund (IMF) help to face economic crisis, float the rupee systematically, and  started debt restructuring.

The economic crisis due to shortage of US dollars, cooking gas, fuel, and milk powder amid extended power cuts has now turned into a fully blown political crisis with intensifying street protests by people mainly the youth demanding for the resignation of Rajapaksa.

President Rajapaksa attended the parliament in line with the constitutional requirement amid tight security with roads leading to the parliament closed while protests by the public continued across the country.

“I was within and outside the cabinet telling that we should have gone to the IMF a year ago,” Ali Sabry, former justice minister told the parliament.

“The rupee should have been floated in systematic manner and not like this. We should have started a debt restructuring. You all told the same thing and we also have told the same thing.”

Sabry did not reveal the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) members who opposed seeking IMF assistance, floating rupee, and debt restructuring.

“But now we must see how we can overcome the issue with the resources at hand and if we don’t there will be serious turbulence within the parliament and out of the parliament, on the road and not against only the government politicians but for all 225,” Sabry said.

Frustrated with economic mismanagementa and wrong police decisions, people have been protesting with a theme “Go Home Gota”, across the country demanding the president to resign,

The central bank allowed flexibility in the exchange rate on March 7 and the rupee has fallen around 60 percent since then. That has led to steep price increase in essential price and people have complained about high cost of living.

Protesters have been demanding all Rajapaksa’s to resign from the office and investigate them for looted money. Sri Lanka’s cabinet before the resignation on Sunday (03) included five Rajapaksas.

Ali Sabry said the protesters have been demanding to do something outside the constitution.

“It will be even more drastic. The constitution will be broken. We saw in Syria, in Libya, in Afghanistan, in Yemen and now seeing in Iraq,” Sabry said.

“Iraq in the last month, from oil alone got $12.1 billion in income for one month in February and still they can’t run, because structures have collapsed. So we need to understand and it’s a heavy bound issue.” (Colombo/April/2022)