Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Private sector stresses the need  to evert economic collapse soon    

The private sector leaders urged the government  to prevent the evident economic collapse by arriving at a solution within a week as the country’s current political crisis causes US$ 50 million perday.

In Addition the Country’s  revenue has dwindled to Rs 6.5 billion per day while the state expenditure has risen to Rs15 billion perday, several eminent economists claimed.   . 

“The Prime Minister and the rest of the MPs need to come up with a solution within a week before the economy collapse completely,” Shippers Academy Colombo CEO and Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) Director General Rohan Masakorala told journalists. 

The current political crisis could cause $ 50 million loss per day or rising, the private sector revealed, whilst fearing a drop of around 30% from the export revenue from this month onwards. 

A total of 23 major associations, representing key industries of the economy in one voice called on the parliamentarians of all political parties to come up with a viable long-term proposal to settle the crisis. .

They urged the government to start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) along with debt restructuring plan, to ensure political stability to win the confidence of the world to fix the adversity.

Sri Lanka industries, which collectively earn about $16.7 billion annually through merchandise and services exports, would come to a standstill if the current situation continues, they added.  

In addition, they said the livelihoods of over 4.2 million workers or 50% of Sri Lanka’s entire working population will be badly affected. 

“Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Yohan Lawrence said major export sectors like apparel have been doing their utmost to minimise disruptions and continue production, and earn much-needed foreign exchange, while also protecting thousands of jobs and livelihoods..

Exporters Association of Sri Lanka (EASL) Chairman Talal Shums said they anticipate a drop of around 20-30% in export turnover this month, if no immediate action is taken by the policymakers. 

“All the associations represented here accounts to about $ 17 billion exports each year. So, a drop of 20-30% is significant. We urge the authorities to help us not come to this drastic decline in turnover,” he added.

Colombo Tea Traders Association (CTTA) Chairman Jayantha Karunaratne said the current political crisis has taken the focus away from addressing Sri Lanka’s daunting economic challenges, which must be given utmost priority to protect key sectors, employment and livelihoods.

Karunaratne also said the unstable supply of power has crippled the productivity and output of the tea industry.

 “If this remains for a month, it will make Sri Lanka uncompetitive because we only produce 5% of the global tea. T

his will put us out of the business completely. In addition, the inability to serve the 2.5 million dependants will cause social unrest leading to more bigger problems, if it is not addressed now,” he pointed out. 

Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM) Chairperson Sandra de Zoysa said a sustainable solution for the ongoing power and connectivity crisis is critical to retain employees and employers.

“The IT/BPM industry faces the crisis in two major ways. One is that our professionals are in high demand and there is a high tendency that they move out of the country for employment. 

Secondly, our customers globally are concerned about the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka. Although, we all are managing and meeting the delivery deadlines with utmost difficulties, we cannot sustain it in the medium to short term even now,” she pointed out.

Sri Lanka Shippers Council Chairman Russell Juriansz said the representation of Sri Lanka at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington DC is imperative to start negotiations, noting that the Indian Credit Line will only last till end of this month.

“The private sector associations have already sent  a letter , signed by 38 major associations representing all key sectors of the economy to the Speaker of the Parliament and MPs.  he disIn their letter they strongly urged political leaders and MPs of all political parties to put aside differences, and immediately form an interim Government if necessary, and take necessary actions in the national interest, and that of the Sri Lankan people

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