Sri lanka News – Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wikcremesinghe should resign from the post of Finance Minister for delaying dollar earning avenues and for “planning for disaster”, newly sworn in ruling party MP and business tycoon Dhammika Perera said, challenging Wickremesinghe for a debate.
Speaking in Colombo Wednesday July 06 morning, Perera said Wickremesinghe has no appetite to resolve Sri Lanka’s ongoing dollar crisis, which is the primary cause of prevailing shortages in essentials and queues for fuel.
“All of Sri Lanka’s economic challenges are linked to the dollar crisis. The Finance Minister plans to borrow money from friends. He has no future cashflow planning for the country,” he said, reading from a document.
“The minister delayed all matters related to dollar earning, borrowing, bridging finance, avaialble credit lines and essential goods credit line. I think for these reasons the minister of finance should resign,” he said.
Speaking impromptu, he told reporters that he will “not allow such things to happen to the country”.
“I too will come out in support of the Aragalaya (people’s protests). We cannot resolve the people’s problems by staying silent,” he added, though he added the caveat that the dollar crisis cannot be resolved through an Aragalay alone.
Claiming that he too participated in the struggles of 1988/’89, during the second insurrection by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), he invited JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) leader Kumar Gunaratnam that repeating the agitations of their youth would be of no use to the country.
“If we must launch a new struggle on July 09, I think it should be a struggle to find dollars, because without dollars the country will fall even lower,” he said.
Perera challenged Wickremesinghe and some 10 economists said to be advising him to come to an open debate on the latter’s handling of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis, the worst since Independence.
“I will not allow this country to be dragged to a disaster from now on. I challenge him and the media to bring him out. I am ready without a script or piece of paper to do that with him,” he said.
Perera conceded, however, that he has no issue with Wickremsinghe staying on as Prime Minister.
“As Finance Minister, the game that Ranil Wickremesinghe is playing has to be stopped. He halts every project that is aimed to bring in dollars. He has no plan regarding cash or about feeding people,” he claimed.
Perera’s entry to parliament has not been uncontroversial. He replaced former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa on the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) national list, after Rajapaksa resigned following months of islandwide protests demanding his resignation along with that of his older brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over their role in the crisis. (Colombo/Jul06/2022)