Political stability vital for talks with IMF: Ex-SL official

Colombo, April 12 : Ahead of the scheduled talks with IMF next week, one-time Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka WA Wijewardena has urged the beleaguered government to restore political stability before engaging with the International Monetary Fund in Washington or face consequences. Wijewardena, who who resigned in 2009 after having served as Deputy Governor for a period of nine years said that political stability here was a prerequisite for Washington talks, when The Island sought his views on the forthcoming talks between Sri Lanka and the IMF scheduled to begin on April 18. Political parties represented in Parliament couldn’t be unaware of the danger in sitting down for talks in Washington while a massive countrywide protest campaign was on, demanding the resignation of the President and the entire government. Former General Secretary of the Comm st Party DEW Gunasekera, too, warned protracted political dispute within the ruling coalition and another between the government and the Opposition could undermine ongoing efforts to restore economic stability. Pointing out that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s offer to accommodate Opposition political parties in the cabinet in a bid to restore stability in the wake of Mirihana violence had been rejected, the former Minister said that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), too, was in a much weaker position today. Contrary to various reports in mainstream and social media, the government hadn’t been able to finalise an interim cabinet with or without the Opposition for over a week, the CP veteran said, adding that the resignation of Ali Sabry, PC, one of the four ministers sworn in as ministers on April 4, but his decision to continue certainly didn’t help the government. The government delegation to talks with the IMF comprised Finance Minister Ali Sabry, Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena and Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe. Former lawmaker Gunasekera said that further delay in resolving the political crisis would cause irreparable damage to the national economy. Responding to another query, the veteran politician said that pestering forex crisis had been transformed in to the worst-ever situation with the toxic combination of financial, political and social crises overwhelming the country. President of the Bar Association (BASL) Saliya Peiris, PC, on Monday said the BASL couldn’t take a stand on proposed amendment to address the issues at hand now. The PC said so in response to The Island query whether the BASL would comment on the amendment proposed by two of Sri Lanka’s eminent lawyers, Romesh de Silva and Manohara de Silva, both members of the 9-member team that recently finalized draft Constitution as requested by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The BASL chief said that they could respond in case the government made its position public in respect of the proposed amendment. ING

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