NCE warns of ‘increasing chaos and mass protests’

‘A lethal combination of divisive politics, disastrous economic policies and persecution of minorities has destroyed the country’s image as a South Asian success story.  In this context, the country cannot simply afford yet another cataclysm. Whilst the political instability, inflation, fuel prices and shortage of food supplies continue to drastically affect average citizens, a more likely scenario is increasing chaos and mass protests by the general public, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka says in a press release.

Extracts of the release: ‘Already the negative image created though all social media platforms has a negative effect on Sri Lanka which in turn affects all international relationships. It is reported that many international buyers have moved to other suppliers in the region due to loss of confidence. This will have detrimental effects on Sri Lanka’s export industry if corrective action is not taken faster to restore country’s political and economic stability. Moreover, it is now also a daunting task to obtain bank facilities, further disturbing country’s trading activities.

‘In this context, the National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) makes a special appeal to the government to take prompt action in reconciling all affected areas of the country. The IMF has detailed measures to help Sri Lanka restore macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability whilst safeguarding financial stability. In this context, eradicating corruption by political, state and other parties are also mandatory to unlock Sri Lanka’s growth potential. Also, establishing stronger and strategic relationships with fellow countries will definitely support Sri Lanka in its path to recovery.

‘The multibillion dollar loans may have stabilized the nation from the depths of its crisis, yet a lack of reforms and further economic hardships could send protesters back to the streets. Hence, the Chamber insists government to take a serious look at the soaring Cost of Living. According to UNICEF, Sri Lanka has the highest acute malnutrition, where almost 17% of under 05 years are suffering from deceases that carries the highest risk of death. This has taken Sri Lanka to the top 10 countries of malnourished children, which is a grave concern.

‘Sri Lankan consumers are sinking with over 50% of the households cannot afford to purchase essential food items.  The quality of life of an average Sri Lankan is fast declining. According to a latest report released by the University of Peradeniya, a 42% Sri Lankan households are in poverty, to be specific 9.6 million of our people. To make things worse, tax payers will be further subjected to a 36% of taxation from November onwards as announced by the Department of Inland Revenue. The effects will definitely be catastrophic.

‘Considering the fact that any government to be given a considerable period of time to bring back a fraught economy to normalcy, while ruling parties must work out immediate solutions to address the most perilous issues at hand.

‘The time is right to implement robust economic drives, including implement mass agriculture to ensure food safety, control corruption, establish political stability and importantly to sign up Free Trade Agreements with countries like Singapore, Malaysia and China and penetrate on the existing FTAs with India and Pakistan for improved bi-lateral relationships and harness support from neighboring countries.  As IMF has very clearly pointed out, we have to focus on stringent implementation of clear policies and work tirelessly with one vision to bring Sri Lanka back to its glory.

‘Exports are vital, as it is the only sector currently bringing the much needed foreign currency to the country, without which the country will further plummet economically. Hence supporting to run and sustain exports is mandatory. Export Value Chain has to be continued, supporting all stakeholder organizations to provide an uninterrupted service to exporters, continued riots will disrupt these services, paralyzing exports which will have mortal circumstances.

‘The NCE, urges the president and the cabinet to bring solutions immediately which is the need of the hour, regardless who remain in power.’

‘The NCE is committed to support the authorities to engender change in rebuilding our economy through exports.’

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