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Challenges posed by coronavirus are a wake up call, think more of tomorrow, than today … UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe

United National Party Leader former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has observed that the challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic are a wakeup call. This crisis should be viewed broadly and transparently thinking more about tomorrow than today.

He made this observation in an address on social media. He said:

“The country is at a decisive stage as the whole world is engulfed in the coronavirus crisis and decisions should be taken considering the future more than the present.

Today we see this as a health problem. But very soon the whole world will have to face an economic crisis. Already the economy is hit due to social distancing. All production, procurement, distribution etc are affected by the situation. In our country, the apparel sector, tourism industry, which earn the most foreign exchange are paralyzed. Our income has fallen by 50 percent, and government’s tax revenues may drop as well.

The people hit by the coronavirus pandemic should not be allowed to suffer from the economic virus. We request the government to provide relief to those families who deserved the relief without any political discrimination.

It will not be easy to obtain financial assistance from international sources as the whole world is in an economic crisis. It will be mandatory for the government to maintain the local food production, imports of food and medicine without hindrance, maintaining industries such as fisheries and animal husbandry tea industry while protecting the workforce in relevant sectors from the epidemic.

Also, protection of the industries such as apparel and tourism that were hit hard due to the pandemic and related sectors until the end of the crisis is essential. The government should also focus its attention on protecting the private sector and banking industry and their employees. The Vote on Account that was passed earlier was insufficient for the present crisis. I suggest amending the Vote on Account to fit for the present.

The International Monetary Fund is to reveal its plan as scheduled in mid-April. The government should create a background that will enable the country to receive the best possible support from the lender. We urge the government to introduce an economic plan that covers all sectors taking into consideration present condition and possible future issues.

We make these recommendations as the measures announced by the Central Bank at present are not sufficient and request the government to take adequate measures to face the crisis and enlighten the public on the measures.”







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