‘PM must resign from Finance portfolio’

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Minister of Investment Promotion, Dhammika Perera said the country cannot sink any lower, and he would urge Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to resign from his Finance portfolio.

He said the Finance Minister is bracing for disaster, as he has no plans or motivation to address the US dollar crisis. The country’s economic woes, he said, are tied to the currency crisis.

“There are around 300 individuals in line, and USD 300 million is scheduled to be brought in this month that has not been handled by the Finance Minister. I will not let this calamity to continue,” he added.

He also said he believes he will be required to attend the protest to show his support. “We can’t fix people’s problems unless we talk about them. The Finance Minister intends to borrow money from family and friends. He also said he has no plans for future capital inflows into the country,” he elaborated.

He stressed that the Finance Minister has delayed all matters pertaining to dollar earnings, borrowing finance, and accessible credit lines, and that this is why he believes the Finance Minister should quit.

“After this point, we cannot continue with the present protests. I’m going to stand until he resigns,” he said.

Minister Perera challenged the Prime Minister to a debate.

“He has about ten economic advisers,” he added. “I’ve listed the things that the Finance Minister hasn’t done. I’d like him to come and respond to my questions about his plans. This disaster will not be allowed to continue.”

“Wickremesinghe told the media that the USD will rise to Rs 450. The Minister’s statement effectively halts the flow of foreign remittances. The Finance Minister’s fortnightly update on the present crisis sends a signal to the wealthy to move their money abroad. If that is the case, the dollar crisis will continue,” Perera said.

He said Wickremesinghe has no plans to reduce inflation in the country, and just wants to stabilise the exchange rate. “However, he has no plan for this either. The debt-to-GDP ratio in Sri Lanka is 140 per cent. The Finance Minister desires a figure of 95 per cent. However, he has no intention of reducing the ratio.”

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan