Economic crisis exacerbates as 70 % of the employed are impacted by poverty – Eran

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Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne says that according to the Census and Statistics report of 2022, a family of five persons needs at least Rs 62,220 per month to escape poverty. But since 70% of those engaged in employment are receiving the salary of less than Rs 62,000, the economic crisis that the country is facing today, is well depicted.

Addressing a press conference, held on Wednesday (7), at the Office of the Leader of Opposition, the MP questioned whether it was right for the government to argue that the UNICEF report on Sri Lanka’s malnutrition cannot be accepted, despite the fact that the government’s official report on poverty has demonstrated that the situation has exacerbated.

Also, the World Food Programme reported that about 30% of the country’s population is affected by food shortages and need relief for that, and that they have launched a programme to supply food to Sri Lanka with international support. Further, Sri Lanka, which was known as a middle-income country with a per capita income exceeding US$ 4,000 in 2019, has now become a low-income country with a per capita income of US$3850, which reflects the severity of the crisis. Sri Lanka, which used to have a high literacy rate, percentage-wise after the SLPP government came to power, has become the poorest country in Asia, because malnutrition causes children with low intelligence to be born.

“Shouldn’t this government be ashamed of saying that they would give Rs 2,500 to pregnant mothers through the interim budget after having stopped the 20,000 rupees nutritional bag given to pregnant mothers by the good governance government?” queried Wickramaratne

Explaining the current situation with regard to good governance, he said that there is no end to corruption and fraud under this government. The stake holders of the government were fattening up with garlic, sugar and coconut oil scams. The country lost 7.6 million dollars under the guise of importing organic fertiliser. Banks operate according to the conditions included in the letter of credit by the importer, when goods are imported. Before proving the quality of the fertiliser, the bank had to pay the exporter as per the conditions contained in the letter of credit. So far, the government has not investigated those responsible for entering such wrong conditions to the Letter of Credit opened to import fertiliser from China.

Because of this, the country not only lost money but also damage was caused to its long-term friendship with China. The government is silent on the compensation that should have been received from the ship Express Pearl, which was destroyed by fire at sea, and there is no talk about it.

Eran Wickramaratne emphasised that the government should respond to these allegations and explain as to why those responsible for the country’s theft and fraud, including the former Central Bank Governorm, who declared on 8 March that there is no shortage of dollars, are allowed to go scot free.