Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the only option for the country to emerge from the unprecedented economic hardship is to seek the support of the global lender International Monetary Fund (IMF).
"We are well aware that the economy of the country has collapsed. So I know the difficulties faced by the country. We witnessed a drop in the number of employments. Inflation has especially increased the cost of living. Hence, people's lifestyle is changing," Wickremesinghe said during a meeting with the trade union representatives at the President's Office held on Friday afternoon, as quoted by his media division, ANI reported.
He also said that the facilities that Sri Lankans enjoyed earlier are reducing. The President also stressed that he is attempting to reinvigorate the country's collapsed economy with the help of a debt restructuring program.
"We are currently carrying out a debt restructuring program. We have already completed the negotiations with Japan, which is one of the three main countries, Japan, China, and India from whom we have obtained loans," he added.
Wickremesinghe also talked about developing the nation's tourism industry. He noted that the economic growth in Europe and America is now slowing down. "Under such a situation, our export market may drop by next year and we have to develop our tourism industry," he stated.
According to reports, Sri Lanka will hold debt restructuring talks with India as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is expected to visit Colombo this week.
The crisis-hit island nation, which is trying to secure a much-needed USD 2.9 billion bridge loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has been trying to get financial assurances from its major creditors China, Japan and India which is the requisite for Colombo to get the bailout package, PTI reported.
"On January 19, the Indian foreign minister is expected to visit and we will continue to have debt restructuring talks with India," Wickremesinghe said.
India gave financial assistance of nearly USD 4 billion to Colombo last year.
(With agency inputs)
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