As ‘economic catastrophe’ looms, private sector demands immediate action from policymakers

  • “Without a stable supply of fuel and energy, the economy could lose around USD $50 million a day in export revenue”, industry leaders warn
  • Despite several warning signs, policymakers still not prioritising solutions to ongoing economic crisis

industry associations, representing private sector firms engaged in export, import and
logistics industries warned of catastrophic consequences for Sri Lanka’s economy and the people if the ongoing
economic and political crisis was not addressed with urgent and immediate action.
“Parliamentarians must act responsibly and resolutely to implement remedial solutions to halt, and then
reverse the rapidly deteriorating situation” they said.
At a joint press conference, the associations warned that their industries, which collectively earn about $16.7
billion each year through merchandise and services exports, would come to a standstill if the current situation
continues. Furthermore, they added, the livelihoods of more than 4.2 million workers – or half of Sri Lanka’s
entire working population –will be badly affected. Even as the country is struggling to import medicines and
fuel, and is in dire need of foreign exchange, this will have disastrous consequences, the associations
They also warned that the economy could well be on the brink of complete collapse; essential items could
become unavailable, and mass unemployment and social unrest seem imminent. Shipping lines and airlines have
indicated reduction in services, which will disrupt supply chains and the operations of both exporters and
importers. The associations are also very worried about the potential instability in the financial sector, if the
situation remains unaddressed.
The private sector associations also shared a letter sent to the Speaker of the Parliament and parliamentarians
during the press briefing. The letter, signed by 38 major associations representing all key sectors of the
economy, strongly urged leaders and parliamentarians of all political parties to put aside differences, and
immediately form an interim government if necessary, and take necessary actions in the national interest, and
that of the Sri Lankan people.
“The current political and economic impasse simply cannot continue any further, we need a cabinet and
interim government within a week at most,” said Rohan Masakorala, CEO of Shippers’ Academy Colombo and
Director General of Sri Lanka Association of Manufacturers and Exporters of Rubber products. “The private
sector is united in demanding an immediate solution from all political parties and parliamentarians once we
fully comprehended the dire and potentially catastrophic consequences that would be unleashed on the people
and the country if parliamentarians and the government failed to act.”
“Major export sectors like apparel have been doing their utmost to minimise disruptions and continue
production, and earn much-needed foreign exchange, while also protecting thousands of jobs and livelihoods,”
Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF) Secretary General, Yohan Lawrence said. “But these continuous
shocks are taking their toll, and no industry, including export sectors, have been spared. We need an
immediate solution.”

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