Sri Lanka banned the import of more than 300 additional items, this Wednesday, as an economic crisis. Following the ouster of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe imposed a blanket ban on consumer goods, including home appliances, tools, and sports equipment.
The South Asian island nation of 22 million people has been suffering from severe shortages of many essentials due to a lack of foreign currency.
Despite the fact that last week the central bank declared that foreign exchange scarcity was decreasing as a result of increased inflow, new restrictions have been imposed. The Sri Lankan economy is anticipated to decline by 8.0 percent this year, which is worse than what was initially expected, according to the bank. Inflation rates are projected to reach 65 percent by September– another record high.
Sri Lanka was pushed to default on some of its external debt in April because it did not have enough foreign currency. The International Monetary Fund was planning to send a delegation to Sri Lanka on Wednesday to continue discussions on a bailout.
However, IMF assistance may be stalled if Sri Lanka’s creditors – China being the primary one – refuse to modify some of their loans.
Beijing has yet to publicly back down from its pledge of issuing more loans rather than reducing the amount owed on existing debt. Sri Lankan workers have kept sending home money to their families, but the amount has decreased by more than half from $2.5 billion in the previous six months.
Rajapaksa has been forced to flee to Singapore, where he lives in self-imposed exile after months of demonstrations culminated in protesters storming his official residence in July. He has since returned to Thailand, according to his party’s website.