Sri Lanka's Prez admits mistakes contributed to country's economic crisis

Sri Lanka's president admitted Monday that he made mistakes that contributed to the country's worst economic crisis in decades and promised to make amends.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made the statement while speaking to the 17 new Cabinet members he nominated on Monday, as he and his powerful family strive to settle a political crisis brought on by the country's catastrophic economic situation.

Sri Lanka is on the verge of default, with about USD7 billion of the country's total USD25 billion in foreign debt due to be repaid this year. Due to a serious dearth of foreign exchange, the country is unable to purchase imported commodities.

People have faced months of shortages of essentials such as food, cooking gas, fuel, and medicine, queuing for hours to purchase the extremely limited supplies available.

"We've faced enormous hurdles over the previous two and a half years. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the financial burden and certain errors on our side," added Rajapaksa.

"They must be corrected." We must correct them in order to move forward. We need to regain the people's faith." He said.

Rajapaksa believes the government should have called the International Monetary Fund earlier for assistance in dealing with the looming financial crisis, and those chemical fertilisers should not have been outlawed in an attempt to make Sri Lankan agriculture totally organic. Critics argue that the prohibition on imported fertiliser was imposed to protect the country's dwindling foreign exchange reserves at the expense of farmers. The government is also being chastised for taking out massive loans for infrastructure projects that have failed to generate revenue.

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