Sri Lanka’s New PM Warns Most Difficult Months Ahead

Sri Lankan New Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe warned Sri Lankans that “the next couple of months will be the most difficult ones of our lives,” during his first address to the country as prime minister on Thursday.

“In November 2019, our foreign exchange reserves were at $7.5bn. However, today, it is a challenge for the Treasury to find $1m,” Wickremesinghe said.

The country had “run out of petrol… at the moment, we only have petrol stocks for a single day,” Wickremesinghe said. 

Wickremesinghe also said that the eight-hour-power outages would likely worsen in the next couple of months.

“We must prepare ourselves to make some sacrifices and face the challenges of this period,” Wickremesinghe added.

Wickremesinghe also admitted being compelled to adopt temporarily – some problematic economic policies.

“Against my own wishes, I am compelled to permit printing money in order to pay state-sector employees and to pay for essential goods and services,” Wickremesinghe said.

On Monday, Sri Lanka’s main opposition party offered support for Wickremesinghe’s progressive policies but said they would not hold any seats in the cabinet until President Gotabaya Rajapaksa resigned.

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