An institute to teach economic policy to MPs! Crisis-hit Sri Lanka clears proposal

According to analysts, Sri Lanka's worst economic crisis that besieged the country this year, could have been avoided if informed decisions were taken by the government in 2020
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka led to anti-government protests this year | Pic: Wikimedia Commons
The economic crisis in Sri Lanka led to anti-government protests this year | Pic: Wikimedia Commons

An institute specifically for Parliamentarians and government officials. Unfortunately, this isn't happening in India. It is Sri Lanka that has approved a proposal to set up an institute aimed at educating parliamentarians and other officials to enable them to make informed decisions on economic and trade affairs. 

According to a report by PTI, Cabinet spokesperson Bandula Gunawardena told reporters that the cabinet approved the proposal of President Ranil Wickremesinghe to set up the Sri Lanka Economic and Trade Institute. This will help them to make informed decisions on policy formulation, he said. He added that a legal draftsman is working on compiling a draft for the Bill. 

Earlier this year, Sri Lanka plunged into its worst economic crisis with the country declaring its first-ever sovereign debt default. The country faced a severe shortage of foreign reserves, which caused it to declare its international debt default in April this year. This resulted in a public outcry against those in power, as analysts reflected that the crisis could have been averted if "informed decisions" had been taken around 2020. 

Current Foreign Minister Ali Sabry recently said the parliamentarians had not been adequately aware of the looming crisis despite warnings from many quarters, reported PTI. The political authority and senior fiscal officials have faced accusations of ignorance which prevented them from taking informed decisions such as making a timely approach to the IMF for a bailout.

The cabinet also approved changes to the laws governing the Central Bank of Sri Lanka to make it more independent. The island nation is currently negotiating a bailout with the IMF. A staff-level agreement reached in August led to a USD 2.9 billion assistance package over four years. However, the release is currently on hold due to the need to restructure debt and the country is talking to creditors to meet the IMF condition for the facility. As a result, the island nation has been unable to afford key imports, including fuel, fertilisers and medicines, leading to serpentine queues.

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