Private sector warns crises causing $ 50 m daily economic loss
11th April 2022
- 23 major associations jointly call on Parliament to come up with immediate viable plan to win world confidence
- Fears drop of around 20-30% export turnover from April
- Insists all political parties to put aside differences, take immediate actions in the national interest
- Expresses relief on new appointments to Central Bank, Treasury Secretary
- Says political instability, multiple crises have led to credibility issue among customers
- Points to deep relationships built over decades are keeping industries running amidst chaos
- Warns of social unrest if economic issues are not addressed immediately
By Charumini de Silva
The current political crisis could cause $50 million loss per day or rising, the private sector revealed yesterday, whilst fearing a drop of around 30% from the export revenue from this month onwards.
A total of 23 major associations, representing key industries of the economy in one voice called on the parliamentarians of all political parties to come up with a viable long-term proposal to urgently start negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) along with debt restructuring plan, to ensure political stability to win the confidence of the world to fix the adversity.
They warned that their industries, which collectively earn about $16.7 billion annually through merchandise and services exports, would come to a standstill if the current situation continues.
In addition, they said livelihoods of over 4.2 million workers or 50% of Sri Lanka's entire working population will be badly affected.
The private sector champions expressed that they could breathe a sigh of relief with the appointments of new Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe and Finance Ministry Secretary K.M.M. Siriwardena on Thursday.
"We are seeing tremendous challenges which is going into the next level and bringing all industries to a halt. IMF should have been yesterday and not tomorrow or next week. We insist on the Government and Opposition to come up with a politically stable system, so that the world will believe us. The President has all powers through the Constitution and he has to take a call on the next step.
"The Prime Minister and the rest of the MPs need to come up with a solution within a week before the economy collapse completely," Shippers Academy Colombo CEO and Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber Products (SLAMERP) Director General Rohan Masakorala told journalists.
He called on parliamentarians of all political parties to put aside differences, and immediately form an interim Government if necessary, and take necessary actions in the national interest, and that of the Sri Lankan people.
"The private sector is united in demanding an immediate solution from all political parties and parliamentarians. We are not on a 'blame game', but put the economic footing in front. The crisis is going to impact every citizen.
"We are here to underscore the gravity of the economic crisis, before our cogwheels start to stop. We stand together as industries and associations because we strongly believe that it is right path - otherwise the total economy will collapse if nothing is done right now," he stressed.
Noting that the appointment of the new Central Bank Governor and Treasury Secretary was indeed a relief, Masakorala a said stable political system was essential for the country to move forward.
Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General Yohan Lawrence said major export sectors like apparel have been doing their utmost to minimise disruptions and continue production, and earn much-needed foreign exchange, while also protecting thousands of jobs and livelihoods.
"The deep relationships we have maintained for decades are helping our members to continue with the business amidst chaos situations. Our call is to all stakeholders to come together and help to solve this crisis. Come up with a viable long-term solution.
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