Sri lanka News – Six key business chambers in Sri Lanka have requested the political parties and groups organizing a November 2 protest to cancel the agitation as it will undermine efforts taken to revive the country’s exports and tourism amid a growing public anger over cost of living and rising taxes.
Sri Lanka is in the process of recovery after violent protests in May and July turned an economic crisis into a political crisis and ousted former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.
The July protest was mainly due to shortage of essentials like fuel, cooking gas, kerosine, some medicines and some food. Though these shortages have been partly managed under new government headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, people are increasingly frustrated over higher living cost and increasing taxes while the inflation is hovering around 66 percent.
Opposition parties and some groups have called for a massive protest in Colombo on Wednesday (02).
Any social unrest in the Sri Lanka will have adverse impact on its economic and tourism revival, a joint statement from the chambers said.
“While recognizing their freedom of speech and right to express views, the Chambers request all parties to call off protests of this nature that could undermine the efforts being taken to resolve the current economic crisis with the support of the international community,” the chambers said in the statement.
“Any act of destabilization taking place at this time and any negative publicity arising from it would seriously derail actions that are being taken to revive the economy including the efforts being taken to promote tourism.”
Sri Lanka’s past protest has hit the economy and tourism. This year’s September tourist arrivals hit its lowest in 11 months.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), Chamber of Young Lanka Entrepreneurs (COYLE), Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL), National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE), and Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) called to cancel the protest.
“A few air lines have agreed to commence flights to Sri Lanka and given the high cost of energy in Europe during the winter, Sri Lanka will have an ideal opportunity to attract tourists which will support the Hospitality industry that has been badly affected since the Easter attacks,” they said in the statement.
“In addition, any instability can affect the recovery process for exports and foreign investment too,” the chambers said.
Groups linked to the popular anti-government protest “Aragalaye” (struggle) have organized the protest on Wednesday against oppression of protesters and the worsening economic condition. (Colombo/Nov01/2022 – Corrected – Protest date is Nov 02, not Oct 02)
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