The president of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, presented on Monday his new government team made up of 17 ministries, in which three members of his family will not be, in the framework of a series of massive protests calling for his resignation.
Sri Lanka declares itself in default after defaulting on its external debt
However, the Sri Lankan opposition is ready to hold a no-confidence vote against the government, opposition lawmaker Harsha de Silva announced.
“We are confident that we have the numbers and we will table the motion at the right time,” said de Silva, a member of parliament from the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya party.
Thousands of protesters have been camping for 9 days in front of the president’s offices in #SriLanka to demand his resignation. The shortage of fuel, medicines, electricity and food raises fears of a risk of famine for the population. pic.twitter.com/iGObMvpk54
– Arcadio (@ colibri2379)
April 18, 2022
Following pressure from protesters calling for his resignation, the president removed two of his brothers and a nephew from the new team, but retained another brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the prime minister.
Widespread protests with chants of Gotabaya go home) against the president and prime minister have dragged on for the past month as Sri Lankans struggle with 12-hour power cuts and extreme shortages of food, medicine and fuel. .
Government seeks a loan from the IMF
The Sri Lankan government, amid a severe economic crisis and widespread protests across the Indian Ocean country, sent a delegation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington on Sunday to discuss how to obtain a loan.
The delegation is led by Finance Minister Ali Sabri, and includes Central Bank Governor Nandlal Wirasinghe. In the coming days, the delegation will visit the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund for talks.
Sabri reported that if the discussions go well, they expect to receive around 4,000 million dollars from the IMF in five tranches, which would contribute to solving the crisis in which Sri Lanka is in the midst of a serious economic crisis, with reserves of currencies of less than 2,000 million dollars.
Sri Lanka needs between $3 billion to $4 billion this year to pull itself out of an unprecedented economic crisis and plans to start talks with the IMF for help, Finance Minister Ali Sabry says https://t.co/ia3tcnlwhS
April 14, 2022
Sri Lanka’s Finance Ministry announced on Tuesday last week that the government has decided to stop servicing common debt for all related debt for the time being until it can work out a systematic and agreed restructuring plan with the help of the IMF.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardhana said Monday that the country will take measures to stabilize the economy, including strengthening public finances.
Sirivardhana’s comments come after the Sri Lankan government sent the delegation to Washington.
Figures show that around 125 billion Sri Lankan rupees, equivalent to $384 million worth of banknotes, were printed in April and government spending has also increased despite a growing shortage of foreign exchange.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka announced on Tuesday the temporary suspension of foreign debt payments after a month of massive protests in the main cities of the Asian country against food shortages and inflation.