Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday lauded three women leaders, including Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, for providing much-needed assistance to the debt-ridden island nation during the ongoing economic crisis.
Addressing a state function here marking the International Women’s Day, Wickremesinghe admitted that while several persons have provided aid to Sri Lanka, three women have dominated this sector.
“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 referring to the Indian credit lines and loans provided in early 2022 to help crisis-hit Sri Lanka recover from the economic crisis. The Indian assistance worth near USD 4 billion was Sri Lanka’s lifeline when the island was suffering with long queues for essentials and fuel.
Wickremesinghe also praised US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgiva, saying “without those three women leaders we would have been in serious trouble”.
The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday welcomed the progress made by Sri Lanka in taking some decisive policy actions to address its economic woes and obtaining financing assurances from all their major creditors, including China, India and the Paris Club.
“Look forward to presenting for approval Sri Lanka’s IMF-supported program to our Executive Board on March 20,” Georgieva said.
Sri Lanka was hit by an unprecedented financial crisis in 2022, the worst since its independence from Britain in 1948, due to a severe paucity of foreign exchange reserves, sparking political turmoil in the country which led to the ouster of the all-powerful Rajapaksa family.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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