Sri Lanka can solve its economic crisis – here’s how

President Ranil Wickremesinghe must resist popular pressure ahead of next year’s election and aim for long-term reforms, write Kabir Hashim and Talal Rafi.

The World Today Published 28 July 2023 3 minute READ

Kabir Hashim

Former Minister of Public Development, Sri Lanka

Talal Rafi

Economist, Deloitte Economics Institute

Ranil Wickremesinghe took over as president of Sri Lanka in July 2022 when the country was in the middle of its worst economic and political crisis since independence in 1948. His predecessor, Gotabaya Rajapakse, had been forced out of power after facing mass protests prompted by 12-hour power cuts and persistent fuel and food shortages. The nation was bankrupt.

Wickremesinghe brought in the International Monetary Fund and has focused on reaching macroeconomic stability and driving tough but much-needed structural reforms. Today, as Sri Lanka embarks on its 17th IMF programme, it has a unique opportunity to restore stability and push forward sustainable growth. President Wickremesinghe should start by creating an independent central bank, restructuring state-owned enterprises, extending trade liberalization and improving the business climate.

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