Sir Lanka celebrated its 75th Independence Day Anniversary on Saturday, as the country still suffers from the unprecedented economic crisis which hit the country the hardest in decades.
Since its independence from British rule in 1948, the South Asian Island nation has spent much of its history at war with itself, including a decades-long Tamil separatist rebellion that claimed up to 100,000 lives and two deadly communist insurgencies.
Besides years of political unrest, last year’s economic crisis hit the country the hardest, as the Island nation’s 22 million population suffered food and fuel shortages for months, which eventually led to the collapse of the previous regime last July.
Sri Lanka still suffers from an economic downturn, which has negatively affected the lives of ordinary people in particular.
While addressing the crowd at the independence day anniversary, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who took office last July at the height of the resulting political unrest said, “the existing situation presents an opportunity for us not only to review our strengths and gains as a nation but also to rectify our errors and failures.”
Following months of economic calamity, Sri Lankans took to the streets and protested against the then leaders of the country for their mismanagement. The nationwide demonstrations eventually resulted in ousting of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Mr. Wickremesinghe’s predecessor, who issued his resignation in exile.
In order to repair the country’s finance, Mr. Wickremesinghe increased taxes and started negotiating with International Creditors including India and China to clear the way for an International Monetary Fund bailout.
Mr. Wickremesinghe said that Sri Lanka must correct its errors and failures, and despite a slow recovery, the economy of the Island nation had contracted 11 percent in 2022.
Political analyst Ranga Kalansooriya said, “Sri Lanka is a bankrupt nation, so we have to start from zero now.”