Interim All Party Government, the only solution - SLFP Leader | Sunday Observer

Interim All Party Government, the only solution - SLFP Leader

19 June, 2022

Fuel and gas queues turned into a hot topic last week rather than other political issues. Long fuel and gas queues were seen countrywide and some heated arguments broke out as certain people attempted to jump the queues. However, the ongoing fuel, gas and economic crisis also turned into a much debated topic in political circles as well.

Last week Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Petroleum Minister Kanchana Wijesekara and Chief of Staff of the Prime Minister Sagala Ratnayaka made a concerted effort to streamline the distribution of fuel. They also held discussions with the officials of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), Central Bank and state banks to find money to import fuel.

Finally, Sagala Ratnayaka found some money from SriLankan Airlines and the Treasury while the balance had been obtained as rupees from the Central Bank. Therefore, Sagala had given instructions to pay the money for petrol and diesel by the end of the week.

He had told an official who was next to him “We have paid money to import fuel for the next week. Now we have to find money for SriLankan Airlines”. Later he had told the Prime Minister “Sir, we can continuously supply fuel from this week. When we receive US$ 500 million from the Indian Credit Line, we can continuously supply fuel for the next four months”.

With that information, Premier Wickremesinghe who made a statement on Tuesday disclosed the true situation of the fuel crisis. Even on Poson Poya Day, the Prime Minister came to his office as he had to fulfill a series of tasks. At that time, the Buddhist Committee of the UNP had organised a ‘Bana’ program at the PM’s office. Amid a series of work, however, the Prime Minister found time to listen to the ‘Bana’ preaching as well.

PM meets rice millers

The Prime Minister met rice mill owners on Wednesday to discuss the rice issue. Allegations had been levelled against rice mill owners that they were hoarding rice stocks. Therefore, the PM said steps should be taken to immediately change this situation.

The Premier told the rice mill owners, “At present the country is faced with a severe economic crisis. Therefore, rice mill owners should look into the allegation of hoarding rice stocks. Otherwise, we will have to deploy the Security Forces and implement the law”.

Trade Minister Nalin Fernando said steps will be taken to import rice to sort out the rice issue. The Prime Minister said that everybody should act in unison to sort out the issue.

Controversial statement

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa focused his attention on several key issues last week. The statement made at COPE by former CEB Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando on the proposed wind power plant at Mannar turned into a hot topic in political circles.

The President was highly disappointed as this controversial statement by the former CEB Chief had turned into a political dialogue not only in Sri Lanka but also in India.

The President expressed his displeasure over this irresponsible statement by a state official. The President had categorically stated that he had only said that a transparent procedure should be followed and that he had not given any instructions whatsoever to hand over the project to anybody’s personal advantage.

Last week the President’s Media Division also issued an official statement clarifying the matter. The President had laid emphasis on the crisis faced by the country. The Government was not whatsoever able to meet the huge demand for petrol, diesel, kerosene oil and gas.

Rice prices

Another issue emerged due to the attempt by large scale rice mill owners and middlemen to increase the prices of rice day by day. Steps were taken by the Government to declare a controlled price for rice to maintain price stability. However, after that an artificial rice shortage was created in the market. Except for imported rice varieties, no local rice was available at large scale and small scale shops.

All Party Government

Former President and SLFP Leader Maithripala Sirisena said an Interim All Party Government is the only solution to resolve the serious economic and other crisis facing the country today.

At a media briefing at the SLFP headquarters on Friday, he said That an Interim All Party Government should be formed to seek international assistance at this juncture as it is difficult to find quick solutions to the current crisis.

He said that many countries including Japan and the United States would be willing to support Sri Lanka, if an All-Party Government is formed. He said at present, the people of the country are suffering due to the shortage of food, fuel, gas, medicine and other basic requirements.

The farming community is deprived by the shortage of fertiliser. No single Government can solve these problems at present. “My personal view is that solutions can be found for these problems only through an interim all-party government. An Interim All Party Government should be formed with only 15 Ministerial posts representing all political parties.

The period for the existence of the all party Government should be decided first and also the time frame for holding an election should be decided. We are confident that if an All-Party Government is formed, international assistance will be forthcoming to resolve the problems in our country. Especially countries including Japan and the United States will support this move,” he added.

Food crisis

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that it is his policy not to leave anyone hungry in the face of the food crisis.

At a meeting of the Committee on Food Security at the Prime Minister’s Office on Friday, the Prime Minister said that although the food crisis could directly affect four to five million Sri Lankans in the future, steps would be taken to control it.

The Prime Minister instructed the officials to pay more attention to children and the elderly in particular. The Premier also directed the appointment of a Committee headed by Parliamentarian Nimal Lanza to mitigate the effects of the food crisis.

The Prime Minister said that he wanted this committee to have a plan prepared within two weeks. The Prime Minister said that 225 Divisions should be handed over to the Members of Parliament and the rest to the top officials including the Secretaries to the Ministries and the Private Sector to provide leadership to develop and reach the targets of 336 Divisional Secretariats in the country under the Food Security Program. It was proposed to recruit graduates from the Divisional Secretariats for this purpose.

Premier Wickremesinghe instructed the officials to give priority to providing food, gas and fuel to the fishing community. Special emphasis was placed on food security, especially for children’s homes, nursing homes and homes for persons with disabilities.

Independent Group to meet Russian Ambassador

Independent political party leaders have decided to meet the Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka and discuss the present political and social crisis in the country.

MP Wimal Weerawansa said the Independent Group of MPs will meet the Russian Ambassador for talks in the near future. Following the meeting of Independent political party leaders, Weerawansa said talks with the Russian Ambassador will focus on seeking Russia’s assistance to address the country’s fuel and gas shortage.

He said, “We will meet the Russian Ambassador and discuss the options available to obtain fuel, gas and fertiliser to Sri Lanka and the barriers that stand in the way of doing so. If the obstacles are on the part of Sri Lanka, we wish to see what solutions could be found to resolve these issues. Therefore, we hope to meet with the Russian Ambassador as soon as possible to discuss the burning issues affecting the country.”

Ten Party Collective

Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thera said the Ten Party Collective will build a new political coalition with a renewed vision and strategy. He assured that the political coalition will introduce measures to end the culture of queues in Sri Lanka. MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that the crisis is worsening due to the unavailability of fuel in the country. “If there is no fuel the government must at least take steps to ensure that there is a steady supply of electricity. Without fuel, electricity and gas what do you expect the people to do?”

“Ramanayake now forgotten”

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said the group that boasted about working towards the release of former SJB Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake, who is serving a four-year term of rigorous imprisonment upon conviction over contempt of court, have forgotten him today adding that they would have to wait patiently for Ramanayake’s release under the prescribed procedure.

Following a visit to the Colombo Magazine Prison to meet Ramanayake on Thursday, Premadasa told the media, “For a long time, we have been deceived with promises that Ramanayake will be released today, tomorrow, in view of Christmas, Independence Day, New Year and so on.

“However, we believe that we will have to wait until he is released under the prescribed procedure, because none of the promises made about his release have been put into action today. The group that boasted about working to secure his release has also forgotten him,” he said.

He said that the SJB is not only looking forward to Ramanayake’s release, but would also work hand-in-hand with him to build a country where there is a clean Government, free of corruption, fraud, and theft.

The Opposition Leader said, “We say very clearly that Ramanayake is a humanitarian, a great people’s leader who cares deeply about the people and serves them. He told me to send a message to the country and that is that he is currently pursuing a degree in higher education”.


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that ‘working from home’ and decentralisation of the public service to district and regional level are essential to provide an efficient service to the public. The Departments of Registration of Persons, the Immigration and Emigration and the Motor Traffic Departments need to be further decentralised to provide an efficient service to the public.

The President was speaking at a meeting to discuss agriculture, food security, introduction of new systems to expedite public services, and management of government expenses at the President’s House on Wednesday.

He said, “Many countries have laid special focus on food security. Forty percent of the harvest in the country is destroyed in the distribution process.” The President said that a large stock of food can be saved if focus is made on this area. The farmers and the consumers can be assured a fair price, when the number of mediators is reduced during the distribution process”.


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said a proposed road map to overcome the current economic crisis will be presented to Parliament in the near future. The Prime Minister had said this during a discussion with a group of Parliamentarians on the current economic situation on Wednesday. Parliamentarians representing the SLPP, the SJB and SLFP participated in the discussion.

The Premier has said that the draft road map would be prepared and submitted to Parliament for the views of the Members of Parliament before finalising it. Finance Ministry Secretary Mahinda Siriwardena had spoken on the current economic crisis and the Government’s short and medium-term goals for overcoming it. Ideas and suggestions made by the Members of Parliament who participated in the discussion were discussed at the meeting to minimise the economic disaster in the country.

Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, Dr. Bandula Gunawardena, Parliamentarians Dr. Harsha de Silva, Eran Wickremaratne, Rauff Hakeem, Rishard Badiudeen, Ali Sabry, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa and Prof.Charitha Herath were present.

Nutty issue

The media had revealed that half of the money allocated for food at the Colombo Port is spent on cashew. Accordingly, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Nimal Siripala de Silva who inspected the Colombo Port Kitchen on Thursday had instructed the officers therein to add other substitute foods to their meals instead of cashew.

It has also been revealed that a meal at the Colombo Port costs around Rs. 450 and also the Colombo Port Kitchen provides lunch to 5,000 employees and dinner for 3,500 employees. Employees had informed the Minister that there was no chef in the kitchen so that the Minister had instructed to recruit a suitable person to fill the vacancy immediately.

Biz tycoon meets MR

Business tycoon Dhammika Perera had met former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo a couple of days ago. Perera who met the former PM at his Colombo residence had a cordial chat with him on the economic situation in the country. Both of them had focused their attention on the effects of the world economic recession on Sri Lanka emerging as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Prime Minister Rajapaksa had told Perera, “It was a good decision to solicit your contribution to rebuild the country’s economy by making use of your professional experience.”

Businessman Perera had told the former Prime Minister “If we properly plan, we can overcome this economic crisis.” Former Premier Rajapaksa who recalled his past experiences had told Perea as to how the challenges can be overcome by successfully facing them. Business tycoon Dhammika Perera recently tendered his resignation from the boards of directors of several public limited companies of which he holds shares. He is scheduled to be sworn in as a SLPP Member of Parliament on June 21.