Sri Lanka may return to growth by yearend, says president | Business and Economy News

The government wants the country out of bankruptcy by 2026, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament.

Sri Lanka’s economy is expected to grow again from the end of the year and the government wants the country get out of bankruptcy to 2026, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Congress.

The island of 22 million people in the Indian Ocean is struggling with worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948, this forced the country to default on its debt and seek a $2.9 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Wickremesinghe on Wednesday said the government can turn the economy around if Sri Lankans accept the high direct tax rates for another six months.

He said last month that the economy for the full year could shrink 3.5% or 4% after contracting 11% last year.

The recent income tax hike has hit salaried workers hard, with unions and private sector experts organizing protests in Colombo, the country’s largest city.

Wickremesinghe said the goal is to bring inflation down to single digits by the end of the year. Sri Lanka’s main inflation rate, the Colombo Consumer Price Index, fell to 54.2% in January from 57.2% in December.

Former president questioned about hiding cash

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan police told AFP news agency on Wednesday that they were investigating former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over a cash hoard discovered when Protesters stormed in his former residence last year.

Rajapaksa presided over the island nation’s economic crisis that left its inhabitants with months of food, fuel and shortage of medicine.

He run away from the country in July last year after an angry mob surrounded his residence – a few days later he resigned overseas – but he has since returned and is living under armed protection.

Protesters occupied his presidential palace for several days, discovered 17.5 million rupees ($48,000) hidden in private quarters of Rajapaksa, which they later handed over to the police.

Police spokesman Nihal Thalduwa told AFP that police investigators on Monday “recorded a three-hour statement by former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa about the money found in the president’s home”.

A court in Colombo asked police to testify about the cash stockpile last November.

Thalduwa said the interrogation was part of an ongoing investigation but gave no further details.

Rajapaksa is a member of a powerful political group that has dominated Sri Lankan politics for decades.

He won a resounding election in 2019 after promising a “prospect of prosperity and splendor” but saw his popularity dwindle as the crisis unfolded. the country is getting worse.

Protesters set up camp at his residence after he fled the country, frolicking in his pool and strolling around the property’s lush gardens until they were cleared by police. order to leave.

Several corruption cases against Rajapaksa stalled after he was elected president in 2019, giving him immunity from prosecution that he has since lost.

He also faces charges in US court for his alleged role in the 2009 assassination of popular newspaper editor Lasantha Wickrematunge and the torture of Tamil prisoners at the end of the civil war. trauma of the island in 2009 when he was minister of defense.

Critics accused Wickremesinghe of being too close to his predecessor’s family and the image of the two chatting at a Buddhist festival on Sunday caused outrage on social media.


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