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Sri Lanka achieved progress in economic recovery as people backed difficult programme: President Wickremesinghe

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Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe (File image)

Colombo: President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday said Sri Lanka has achieved progress in its economic recovery process due to the steadfast support of citizens to a comprehensive long-term national rebuilding programme despite facing hardships.

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Addressing the 75th anniversary of independence celebrations held here, Wickremesinghe said when the country marked Independence Day last year it was labelled bankrupt.

He said progress had been achieved in the economic recovery bid “owing to the steadfast support of our citizens who endured hardships in keeping with a comprehensive long-term national rebuilding programme”.

“If we go on this road, the difficulties will fade away. The cost of living will become lighter. The economy will become stronger," Wickremesinghe stressed.

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Sri Lanka in April 2022 declared its first ever sovereign default since gaining independence from Britain in 1948.

The crisis led Wickremesinghe's predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa out of office through a campaign of public agitation. Wickremesinghe stepped in to fill in Rajapaksa's remaining term.

Since then, Wickremesinghe has put in place unpopular economic reforms to supplement a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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Wickremesinghe has steered the country out of a period of shortages of essentials and long hours of power cuts.

The government continues to struggle to restructure its external debt while public dissatisfaction with raised utility rates and taxes has made Wickremesinghe unpopular.

Nevertheless, he expects to contest the next presidential election due in the last quarter of the year. The Opposition has vowed to oust him, blaming him for crushing democratic dissent and placing a heavy economic burden on the people.

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