The Stream

How can Sri Lanka build a secure future?

On Tuesday, March 7 at 19:30 GMT:
People across Sri Lanka had hoped that 2023 would see the worst effects of a crushing economic crisis recede, after the government reached a deal with the International Monetary Fund for an emergency loan.

Instead, they are struggling with the impact of income tax rises, energy price hikes, and spending cuts that the government says must be imposed to satisfy IMF creditors.

As parents struggle to feed their children, thousands of union members have led strike action in protest against the conditions attached to the still pending $2.9bn IMF loan. They defied an executive order by President Ranil Wickremesinghe that bans walkouts by workers in key economic sectors such as healthcare and transportation.

As people’s economic frustrations grow, they are also worried about threats to local democracy. The government recently postponed council elections that were due to go ahead on March 9, citing a lack of money to finance them. Opponents say the government feared a rout at the polls, with some activists and opposition party members joining protests on February 26 in the capital Colombo.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the ever-increasing pressure Sri Lankans are facing and ask what it will take to ensure they have economic stability and security.

In this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Harsha de Silva, @HarshadeSilvaMP
Member of Sri Lankan Parliament

Bhavani Fonseka, @bfonseka
Attorney at Law, Centre for Policy Alternatives