Government: Last News

Interim budget within six weeks, says Prime Minister aiming to re-route funds for relief programs

(Reuters); Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday (24) he will present an interim budget within six weeks, slashing infrastructure projects to re-route funds into a two-year relief programme for the crisis-hit island nation.Wickremesinghe, who took office two weeks ago, warned that inflation would rise as the government gets down to tackling the crisis, and that there could be more protests on the streets.He said he hoped any unrest would not get out of hand, adding that funds would be made available to help the most vulnerable of the country’s 22 million people.“Looking at the hard days ahead, there has to be protest.

It’s natural when people suffer, they must protest,” Wickremesinghe said in the commercial capital Colombo.“But we want to ensure that it does not destabilise the political system.“With the interim budget, it is just about cutting down expenditure, cutting to the bone where possible and transferring it to welfare.”The country located off India’s southern tip is reeling from its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, as a shortage of foreign currency severely curtailed imports of essentials including fuel and medicine, triggering months of unprecedented protests.Much of the public ire has been targeted at President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his family, whom protesters blame for mishandling the economy.The roots of the current crisis also lie in the COVID-19 pandemic, which devastated the country’s lucrative tourism industry and sapped foreign workers’ remittances, and populist tax cuts enacted by the Rajapaksa administration that drained government income.“We have no rupee revenue, and now we have to print another (one) trillion rupees,” Wickremesinghe said, warning that

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Gotabaya Rajapaksa Ranil Wickremesinghe

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Government: Main News

(Reuters); Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday (24) he will present an interim budget within six weeks, slashing infrastructure projects to re-route funds into a two-year relief programme for the crisis-hit island nation.Wickremesinghe, who took office two weeks ago, warned that inflation would rise as the government gets down to tackling the crisis, and that there could be more protests on the streets.He said he hoped any unrest would not get out of hand, adding that funds would be made available to help the most vulnerable of the country’s 22 million people.“Looking at the hard days ahead, there has to be protest.
COLOMBO (News 1st); The World Bank said that it is concerned for the people of Sri Lanka and are working in coordination with the IMF and other development partners in advising on appropriate policies to restore economic stability and broad-based growth.Until an adequate macroeconomic policy framework is in place, the World Bank does not plan to offer new financing to Sri Lanka.“Recent media reports have inaccurately stated that the World Bank is planning support for Sri Lanka in the form of a bridge loan or new loan commitments, among other incorrect assertions,” said the World Bank.It added that it is currently repurposing resources from previously approved projects to help the government with some essential medicines, temporary cash transfers for poor and vulnerable households, school meals for children of vulnerable families, and support for farmers and small businesses.

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