No-confidence motions against Rajapaksa as foreign reserves dropped down to less than $50 million

staff Reporter

Sri Lanka’s usable foreign reserves dropped down to less than $50 million, finance minister Ali Sabry informed parliament on Wednesday as it convened for a crucial session after the main Opposition party submitted no-confidence motions against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his government.

The main Opposition party, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), handed over to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena two motions of no-confidence against the SLPP coalition government and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa under Article 42 of the Constitution.

Article 42 stipulates that the President is responsible to parliament for the exercise, performance and discharge of his functions. Any motion needs seven days’ notice before getting into the order paper for debate.

A date has not yet been announced for a vote on the no-confidence motions.

Detailing the perilous state of the economy, Sabry, who has just returned from Washington after crucial talks with the officials of the IMF, said Sri Lanka’s usable foreign reserves which were at around $7 billion in 2019, had dropped to less than $50 million now.

“We have bitten off more than what we can chew,” Sabry acknowledged before parliament while reminding warring parties that they have a national responsibility to contribute to revive the island nation’s collapsed economy.

Sabry hailed India’s assistance during its talks with the IMF to seek a bailout to evade the country’s worst economic crisis. He said he met Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman twice and she extended India’s fullest assistance.

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