Sri Lanka declares emergency as economic crisis, protests escalate: 10 updates

Sri Lanka economic crisis: The emergency was announced by president Gotabaya Rajapaksa a day after hundreds gathered outside his home and chanted slogans, demanding his resignation
Sri Lankan army commandos walk past the damaged vehicles after they were set on fire by demonstrators at the top of the road to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence during a protest against him. (REUTERS)
Sri Lankan army commandos walk past the damaged vehicles after they were set on fire by demonstrators at the top of the road to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's residence during a protest against him. (REUTERS)
Published on Apr 02, 2022 06:13 AM IST
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By | Edited by Swati Bhasin

Sri Lanka has declared a countrywide emergency amid escalating protests over the economic crisis in the South Asian nation that has been witnessing a mounting anger in public. The emergency was announced by president Gotabaya Rajapaksa a day after hundreds gathered outside his home and chanted slogans, demanding his resignation. Several people were arrested and some were injured, according to reports, as police resorted to use of force. The crisis in the South Asian nation comes at a time when Europe is already witnessing one of its worst wars in recent decades in Ukraine.

Here are ten updates on Sri Lanka's economic crisis:

1. The decision to declare an emergency, Rajapaksa was quoted as saying in reports, was taken to ensure public security, public order and maintenance of supplies and essential services.

2. The island nation faces one of the worst economic crises in its history, which started amid the pandemic as the tourism sector took a hit. On Thursday, protesters clashed outside the president's residence with cops in clear signs that people are losing patience.

3. Tear gas and water cannons were reportedly used as demonstrators chanted - “Go home Gota” .

4. The South Asian country is facing 10-hour daily power cuts and a shortage of diesel has been reported from many parts.

5. Last month, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) pointed to a "solvency problem" in the country. "Based on staff analysis, the fiscal consolidation necessary to bring debt down to safe levels would require excessive adjustment over the coming years, pointing to a clear solvency problem," Bloomberg quoted the IMF as saying in a report.

6. The country, according to news agency Reuters, steeply devalued its currency ahead of talks with the IMF over a loan programme in February.

7. Analysts have blamed mismanagement of the economy for the crisis. "Sri Lanka is a classic twin deficit economy. Twin deficits signal that a country's national expenditure exceeds its national income, and that its production of tradable goods and services is inadequate," Reuters citied a 2019 Asian Development Bank working paper as saying.

8. Sri Lanka is facing a debt of $4 billion while it has only $2.31 billion in reserves.

9. Among major lenders are the Asian Development Bank, Japan and China.

10. Sri Lanka has signed a $1 billion credit line with India for importing essentials and it seeks another $1 billion from the neighbouring country.

(With inputs from Reuters, Bloomberg and AFP)

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