Nandalal warns of imminent shutdown

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Following the official resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday (14), Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe warns of the country coming into a complete standstill unless a stable Government is formed soon.

Sri Lanka has witnessed its worst economic crisis in history which led to a major upheaval and the citizens taking to the streets demanding the resignation of the Rajapaksas.

The former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from his position on 9 May, after a massive protest took place and was followed by his brother Basil Rajapaksa resigning from his position as Finance Minister on 9 June.

With the situation getting worse in the country, due to shortages of fuel, medicine, food and other essential items as well as the soaring inflation, which led to sever price escalations making goods and services unaffordable, the Citizens on 9 July, ones again gathered in Colombo demanding former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resignation.

Addressing a programme on BBC, Weerasinghe said there is a ‘lot of uncertainty’ over whether enough foreign exchange can be found to pay for essential petroleum.

“We have been able to finance at least three shipments of diesel probably until the end of this month and some one or two shipments of petrol, but beyond that, there’s a lot of uncertainty whether we even will be able to provide sufficient foreign exchange to finance essential petroleum for this country,” he told Newsnight on BBC.

“If that doesn’t happen, then it will be like the whole country will be closed down. So, that’s why I need a Prime Minister, President and Cabinet, who can make decisions… Without that, people will be suffering.”

“We hope to be able to make good progress in our discussion with the creditors for debt structuring, but the timing for that process depends on how soon there will be a stable administration,” he said. Once a stable government is in place, Sri Lanka could come out of the crisis somewhere ‘within three to five months’, he said.

The Governor of the Central Bank has been seen as a potential new president himself, but he appeared to rule that out, saying, “I have no interest in taking any political position.”

By Mario Andree