Drastic structural changes vital to overcome economic crisis - Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy | Sunday Observer

Drastic structural changes vital to overcome economic crisis - Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy

26 March, 2023

If Sri Lanka has to permanently get out of the current economic crisis the country has to make drastic structural changes, said former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy.

He told a zoom event titled ‘What is next for Sri Lanka in the wake of the IMF program’ organised by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka that the IMF has given very comprehensive guidelines in this regard and this has to be followed.

“Sri Lanka did not follow the IMF program on 16 previous occasions when we went to them and this is the last chance Sri Lanka is getting to reform.

“If not followed even at this stage Sri Lanka will fall behind and go back to the scenario where Sri Lanka was last year where there were huge queues for fuel, food, medicine and gas and long power failures resulting in peoples struggles,” he said.

Coomaraswamy said that for this purpose the Government must appoint a special implementation committee headed by the President Ranil Wickremesinghe himself to head it.

Ireland was the best country that successfully implemented an IMF program and Sri Lanka too should follow that example.

He said that Sri Lanka should look at an export oriented economy to be an economically strong nation in the future. “

He recalled that former President J. R. Jayewardene said ‘export or perish’. However, this slogan was virtually limited to words as no serious effort made in this area.

He said that there is a misconception that implementing IMF reforms are very painful and are tough and not popular among the people. “However, even before Sri Lanka went to the IMF Sri Lanka was bleeding and its due to IMF reform proposals that the country is rising its head again.”

The Government is also looking at the vulnerable people and investing towards their welfare and this aspect is never discouraged or disputed by the IMF and they endorse the efforts of the Government to protect the poor and the vulnerable.

Coomaraswamy who was the 14th Governor of Sri Lanka also said that Sri Lanka should have gone to the IMF long before and the country would have reaped better economic benefits.