STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Still no finance minister for bankrupt Sri Lanka

Last week, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office said the new premier was expected to be given the additional responsibility of managing the country's finances to pull it out of bankruptcy.

Published: 23rd May 2022 05:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 23rd May 2022 05:09 PM   |  A+A-

Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe (File photo| AP)

By AFP

COLOMBO: Cash-strapped Sri Lanka appointed six more ministers on Monday to its new "economic war cabinet", the president's office said, but left vacant the crucial finance portfolio.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst-ever shortage of foreign exchange reserves, with the government unable to finance even the most essential imports such as food, fuel and medicines.

Last week, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's office said the new premier was expected to be given the additional responsibility of managing the country's finances to pull it out of bankruptcy.

There was no explanation from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's office on Monday about why he was not given the job.

Political sources said several other legislators from the president's Sri Lanka Podujana Peremuna (SLPP) party had declined to take up portfolios.

ALSO READ | Tea seller gets Rs 16,000 ‘moi’ for cash-starved Sri Lanka

"There is tension between the SLPP and others in the unity government," a government official involved in the cabinet formation told AFP. "At least four MPs have refused to take up ministries."

Wickremesinghe took over earlier this month after Mahinda Rajapaksa, the president's elder brother, resigned after months of anti-government protests turned violent, with at least nine people killed.

Wickremesinghe, 73, had pledged to put together a cross-party coalition after the previous cabinet was dissolved.

The new ministers -- for fisheries, agriculture, transport, environment, culture and irrigation -- were sworn in before the president at his tightly-guarded official residence in Colombo.

The delay in getting a finance minister could hinder the IMF negotiations about a bailout, the central bank chief warned on Thursday.

The country of 22 million people has been enduring severe economic hardships for months.

Consumers have been unable to access petrol, diesel and cooking gas, while staple food has been rationed. The country is also facing record inflation and lengthy daily electricity blackouts.

Last month, Sri Lanka announced it would default on its $51 billion external loans as the country ran out of dollars.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp