The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) is deeply concerned about the existing plight of the Sri Lankan citizens due to the economic crisis in the country.
Sri Lanka is currently facing one of the worst economic crises in the recent decades due to the lack of foreign currency reserves. There has been a lack of food, medicines, LP gas, fuel and various other essential goods with inflation reaching an all-time high. Cuts in electricity generation have resulted in people only having 11 hours of power a day as of recent, and for weeks there have been long vehicle queues outside fuel stations and people standing in line to buy kerosene for their cooking and fuel for their generators and vehicles. The daily wage earners have been the hardest hit with most losing their livelihoods due to the shortages and four deaths have been reported due to exhaustion in the queues. Token increases in salary, even where they have been implemented have had little or no effect due to the spiraling cost of living.
Successive governments over time have failed to address Sri Lanka’s deep rooted economic crises. Even though the President and the Government have informed the people that this is due to the lack of tourism and foreign remittances following the Covid19 pandemic and the Easter bombings, it has been quite evident that Sri Lanka’s larger issues of mismanagement of finances, weak government policies, corruption, placing the country in debt due to unsustainable prestige projects and ill-timed tax cuts have greatly resulted in the current situation.
Unequal access to essential items is exacerbated by unequal treatment in the response to the crisis with several reports indicating that many areas in the country where influential politicians reside, including the MPs Quarters in Madiwela, have uninterrupted power during a time where people have had to go through 13-hour power cuts a day.
The Council is disappointed and deeply disturbed that the government continues to be unempathetic to the people’s cries. With the growing frustrations and anxiety, people have spontaneously come on to the streets protesting against the government and all in authority to take responsibility for this crisis and step down. The immediate labelling of these protestors as ‘extremists or mischief makers’ without proper investigation, coupled with the restrictions on the use of social media sites and messaging platforms and indiscriminate use of the Public Security Ordinance to stop people’s protests have aggravated an already volatile situation.
Hence, The National Christian Council of Sri Lanka calls on the Government of Sri Lanka, to act empathetically and responsibly towards its citizens at this time of crises and to immediately ensure equal access to essential items without favoring the affluent. The NCCSL also calls on the government to immediately make measures to bring together professionals, intellectuals and persons who are knowledgeable, irrespective of political backgrounds to manage this crisis.
The Commission for Justice and Peace (CJP) of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka -NCCSL
|Rev. Ebenezer Joseph
|Mr. Ravi Algama
|Rev. Maxwell Doss
|Chairperson – NCCSL
|Chairperson – CJP, NCCSL
|General Secretary – NCCSL
02 April 2022