Sri lanka News – The US has called for political as well as economic reforms the head of the United States Agency for International Development said after meeting President Ranil Wickremesinghe, opposition figures and members of the civil society.
US AID announced 40 million dollars of financing for farming on September 10 and another 20 million dollars for humanitarian needs on September 11.
Sri Lanka is in the worst currency crisis in the history of the island’s intermediate regime central bank with inflation topping 60 percent.
After two year of money printing to keep rates down, Sri Lanka defaulted on its foreign debt, the rupee collapsed 182 to 360 inflation soared over 60 percent putting food out of reach of the less affluent.
“But assistance alone will not put an end to this country’s woes USAID Administrator Samantha Powers told reporters in Colombo.
“I stressed to the President in my meeting earlier today that political reform and accountability must go hand in hand with economic reform and economic accountability,”
Sri Lanka does not have a permanent civil service and rule of law and the independence of the public service have collapsed since permanent secretaries were eliminated constitutional changes in 1971 and 1979 critics have said.
Independence of the judiciary and police was similarly undermined undermining rule of law in general and the ability to combat corruption.
A 19 amendment to the constitution went partway to fix the problem through independent commissions, which was reversed in by a 20th and a fresh attempt to bring back the partial reform is underway in a new 22nd amendment.
Sri Lanka is now cracking down on peaceful protestors who helped bring President Ranil Wickremesinghe to power through an interim mechanism following mostly peaceful protests.
“Sri Lanka’s vibrant civil society must have the space they need to raise their voices sand hold the government accountable,” Powers said.
Public reaction will help the government understand what is working or not working at the grassroots level, she said.
Sri Lanka’s President had informed Power of efforts being made to enact a 22nd amendment to the constitution, strengthen parliament oversight committees. Efforts were also being made to get political parties to support electoral reforms. If consensus cannot be reached in
As corruption is tackled international investor confidence will increase she said.
The US was also ready to help in creditor negotiations. (Colombo/Sept12/2022)