'Every second you protest, we lose dollars': Lankan PM's appeal to citizens
Sri Lanka has been witnessing massive protests by the citizens who have taken to streets against fuel and food shortage, calling for the resignations of president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Sri Lankan prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday assured the citizens that his government is working round-the-clock to address their woes and appeal to the protesters to end their agitation.“Every second you protest in the road, we are losing dollars,” the prime minister was quoted by Lankan news website Newswire.
Amidst a growing pressure on him to quit following the unprecedented economic crisis facing the island nation, the leader addressed the nation in a bid to calm the agitating people who are protesting on the streets over lengthy power outages and shortage of gas, food and other essentials.
“The government is working round-the-clock to overcome the economic crisis,” Mahinda, the elder brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said.
The Lankan prime minister's address comes at a time when the citizens and the opposition are calling for him and president Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation. The ruling government is already in minority with several lawmakers exiting the alliance. Earlier in the day, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's meeting with ex-president Maithripala Sirisena of the Sri Lankan Forward Party (SLFP) ended without any result.
Three parties that recently withdrew from Sri Lanka's ruling coalition have proposed forming an interim government with a new prime minister replacing President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's brother, they said.
Angered by the fuel and food shortages, the citizens have focused their anger on the ruling Rajapaksa family. The president sacked his brother as finance minister last week while his nephew quit as sports minister.
The government is now looking for external assistance of about $3 billion over the next six months to help restore supplies of essential items. It is also looking to restructure international sovereign debt and seek a moratorium on payments, Reuters reported.