Lanka President Thanks 3 Women Leaders, Including Nirmala Sitharaman
On Wednesday, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe praised three female leaders, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, for giving the debt-ridden island nation’s continuing economic crisis the much-needed support it required.
Speaking at a state event in this city commemorating International Women’s Day, Wickremesinghe acknowledged that while many people have helped Sri Lanka, three women have dominated this area.
“Between the women’s day of last year and this year, this country underwent a big transformation. The first reason was the collapsing of our economy. We have to look back at that period, we see three women who came to our assistance,” he said.
“I want to make a special mention of them. The foremost of them is Nirmala Sitharaman – the finance minister of India. It was she who discussed with the prime minister and the Cabinet and made the decision to lend 3 billion dollars to us in April. That was after we had declared our bankruptcy,” the president said.
“It was a very brave decision to lend money to a bankrupt country. We have to thank her in the first place. I don’t have to tell you how bad we would have been without that USD 3 billion,” Wickremesinghe added.
He was alluding to the credit lines and loans offered by India in early 2022 to aid Sri Lanka, which was struck hard by the economic crisis, in recovering. As the island was struggling with lengthy lines for fuel and necessities, India’s help, costing close to USD 4 billion, was Sri Lanka’s lifeline.
According to Wickremesinghe, “without those three woman leaders we would have been in tremendous difficulty.” She also lauded US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgiva. The International Monetary Fund applauded Sri Lanka’s efforts on Tuesday to resolve its economic problems by adopting some dramatic policy measures and securing funding guarantees from all of its significant creditors, including China, India, and the Paris Club.
Due to a significant lack of foreign exchange reserves, Sri Lanka had a catastrophic financial crisis in 2022—the worst since it gained independence from Britain in 1948—which sparked political unrest and the overpowering Rajapaksa family’s overthrow.
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