Ranil Wickremesinghe, the newly appointed Prime Minister of crisis-hit Sri Lanka, has said he is confident he can turn the economy around, but cautioned it will take 18 months before stability returns.
“The year 2023 is going to be difficult, but by 2024 things should pick up,” Wickremesinghe told Al Jazeera last week [Thursday] in a wide-ranging interview at his official residence in the capital, Colombo.
The 73-year-old leader, who in May became Prime Minister for the sixth time, said that he took up the job under extraordinary circumstances.
“We had nearly two days without a government; things were getting out of hand,” he said, recalling the mass protests over shortages of fuel and electricity that forced Mahinda Rajapaksa, his predecessor and the brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to resign.
“I thought the situation is bad, it’s your country, so you can’t be wondering whether you are going to succeed or not. You take it over and work to succeed,” said Wickremesinghe, who met the President at the request of some Parliamentarians from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party.
“I have confidence I can turn the economy around,” he said.