Cash-strapped Sri Lanka appeals to expats to send money
Posted on February 4th, 2022

Courtesy Mail Online

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Sri Lanka celebrated its Independence Day on Friday with an appeal by the president to the country´s expatriates to send money home as it struggles with the worst economic crisis in decades mainly due to depleted foreign reserves.

Sri Lankans are facing shortages of milk powder, cooking gas, kerosene and other essentials. Cash shortages have hindered imports of raw materials for manufacturing and worsened inflation, which surged to 12.1% in December.

The pandemic has dealt a heavy blow to an economy that depends heavily on tourism and trade, with the government estimating a loss of $14 billion over the last two years. The economy is estimated to have contracted by 1.5% in July-September 2021, according to the central bank.

President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said Sri Lankans abroad who sent foreign currency back home are a major resource.

“I invite all expatriate Sri Lankans to invest in their homeland,” he said in an address during a ceremony marking Independence Day in the capital, Colombo. A colorful military parade followed his speech.

Data shows that overseas remittances – the nation’s main foreign exchange earner- have fallen by nearly 60% to $812 million in December from a year earlier. For the whole year, remittances declined 22% to $5.4 billion. The drop came after the government ordered the mandatory conversion of foreign currency and exchange rate controls.

Sri Lankan soldiers dressed in traditional costumes carry nation al flags during the Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Sri Lankans celebrated it's independence day on Friday as the island nation's president made an appeal to the country's expatriates to send money home as the country struggles in the throes of its worst economic crisis. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan soldiers dressed in traditional costumes carry nation al flags during the Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. Sri Lankans celebrated it’s independence day on Friday as the island nation’s president made an appeal to the country’s expatriates to send money home as the country struggles in the throes of its worst economic crisis. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Because of the currency shortage, importers are unable to clear their cargo and manufactures are unable to buy raw materials from overseas.

Sri Lanka has borrowed heavily and faces repayments on $15 billion in international sovereign bonds.

Officials have said the government is gradually building back reserves to ensure it can honor its debts.

“None of the crises we experience today are long term problems. We can find solutions to them with an optimistic approach,” Rajapaksa said. “We have faced critical problems in the recent history as well and found solutions.”

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa hoists the national flag of Sri Lanka during the country's  Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa hoists the national flag of Sri Lanka during the country’s Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan army soldiers march during the Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

Sri Lankan army soldiers march during the Independence Day celebration in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Friday, Feb. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)

2 Responses to “Cash-strapped Sri Lanka appeals to expats to send money”

  1. dingiri bandara Says:

    There are many Sinhalese Sri Lankans who want to send money. Many are reluctant because of what happened with Tsunami Fund ans the Defence fund.Who will manage such funds. the benefactors have no confidence in the administration and the politicians.
    In the cash strapped Sri Lanka ,why are so many privileges given to the politicians. Politicians take to politics not because we want them but because they want to. Withdraw all the unnecessary luxury benefits given to them. Stop all the unnecessary projects. Why do politicians need luxury vehicles? Let them use ordinary vehicles like many, reduce the vehicles and other benefits. They claim that they take to politics because they want to serve the country and its people.
    Show us the funds sent from abroad will used properly and not stolen. Train many talented Sri Lankans for good jobs abroad.
    Consider some of the proposals made by Dhammika Perera. It is sad that people have to suffer because of mismanagement by a few. Stop talking about our great culture, heritage and about how Singapore was. Do what is needed for the country.
    Appeal to the Sri Lankans through the Buddhist temples and be honest about it.

  2. aloy Says:

    Its no secret that presidents use the gadget described in the link below when making important speeches. But the speech writer in this case was a useless fellow (perhaps living in another country who does not see the ground reality to include the names of those not in the audience and to describe situations not prevalent). So, I am sorry to say, the prez we all elected appeared a downright liar.

    ‘https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/amp/video/hands-review/anatomy-teleprompter’

    However, to my mind even after 74 years we seem in the control of our former colonial masters via another set of people, the ME sheiks who disburse the money our slaves in those countries earn by their sweat and blood. Perhaps this applies to Indian, Pakistanies and Banglas as well.

    This is another kind of slavery invented by the west, as these ME fellows invest that loot back in the territories of former colonial masters.

    There is nothing we can do about it, it seems to me.

    And it is a miracle ( by some power that protects SL) that we at least have this independence!.

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