Manusha says President successfully completes economic recovery ‘suicide mission’

Monday, 1 April 2024 03:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara 

Labour and Foreign Employment Minister Manusha Nanayakkara on Friday described addressing the economic crisis was like a ‘suicide mission,’ and President Ranil Wickremesinghe has successfully completed the task of restoring the economy to normalcy.

He noted that an uninformed group believes that bringing down inflation, improving exchange rates, and increasing salaries can be achieved during an election to gain an advantage. He argued this clearly proves that such groups are being misled. He pointed out that recent statistics indicate the President has successfully tackled the economic challenges.

The Minister made this observation during the inauguration of the Jayagamu Sri Lanka program at Gamini Vidyalaya’s Ground in Vavuniya.

Manusha recalled, “During the economic crisis, no one came forward to take charge. There was no new Lee Kuan Yew or Mahathir Mohamad at that time. When the situation was dire, only one fearless leader took over the country. That leader is President Ranil Wickremesinghe.”

He said that President Wickremesinghe is working towards building a unified nation.

As of July 2022, the country’s reserves were $ 1,815 million. By February of this year, we had increased foreign reserves to $ 4,491 million. Some argue that this increase is due to our strategy of not paying off debts. However, we have started to repay our foreign debt other than International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs). We have also opened up imports except for private vehicles. Additionally, migrant workers have been granted the opportunity to import private vehicles,” stressed Minister Nanayakkara.

He said in the fourth quarter of 2022, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was a negative 12.4%. “However, we were able to turn it into a positive value. By the fourth quarter of last year, we had managed to grow it to positive 4.2%,” he said.

He also revealed that in 2022, 52 major state-owned enterprises in the country were experiencing significant losses worth Rs. 744.6 billion. However, by April 2023, those institutions were turned profitable. Today, these institutions have generated a profit of Rs. 144 billion, he said.

“When we accepted the challenge, inflation had risen to 70-80%. By July 2022, inflation had decreased to 60%. As of today, we have managed to reduce it to a single-digit value, with current inflation standing at 5.9%,” Minister Nanayakkara added.

“When we took over the Government, one US dollar was worth Rs. 380. There were predictions that the dollar could reach Rs. 500, 600, or even 700. Economic experts doubted where the dollar would stabilise, with some suggesting extreme scenarios like needing a wheelbarrow full of money to buy a loaf of bread. However, today, we have successfully brought the dollar down to the level of Rs. 290,” Minister Nanayakkara emphasised.