South Asia and Beyond

Day After Appointment, Ali Sabry Quits As Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister

 Day After Appointment, Ali Sabry Quits As Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister

A day after being made Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister, Ali Sabry has resigned. In a letter addressed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sabry said he was willing to quit his parliamentary seat if the President wishes to appoint a non-parliamentarian as Finance Minister.

In the letter dated April 5 sent to the President, which was seen by The Morning, Sabry stated that after tendering his resignation from the post of Justice Minister on Sunday, it was not his intention to take up any other post.

“In order to maintain parliamentary democracy and the stability of the system and constitutional governance and in light of the multitude of requests made by the business community, professionals, and some of my cabinet ministerial colleagues, I decided to accept the post of the Finance Minister as an interim measure until a suitable, full-time, sustainable solution is found,” Sabry stated.

In the letter, he further stated that taking into account the current situation, he is now of the view that for the President to make suitable interim arrangements to navigate the unprecedented crisis, fresh, proactive, and unconventional measures need to be taken, including the appointment of a new Finance Minister.

“In order to facilitate such an appointment, I tender the resignation from the post of Finance Minister with immediate effect. If the President wishes to appoint a person suitable to handle the situation from outside the current Parliament, I am willing to step down from my parliamentary seat in order to enable such an appointment,” the letter read.

A few hours after Sabry’s resignation, Ministry of Finance and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle also resigned his post. Attygalle was appointed as the Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance on November 19, 2019. Prior to that, he was Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL). He has also been Assistant Governor of the CBSL and was released to the Ministry of Finance to serve as the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury.

President Rajapaksa requested all political parties represented in the Parliament to assume ministerial posts and to contribute to resolving the crisis situation in the country, after which he appointed four Ministers, according to him, in order to maintain the stable functioning of the Parliament and the country until a full Cabinet of Ministers is appointed.

Accordingly, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna parliamentarians Dinesh Gunawardena, Prof. G.L. Peiris, Johnston Fernando and Ali Sabry were sworn in as ministers of Education, Foreign Affairs, Highways and Finance, respectively, before the President on the same day. Ali Sabry previously held the Justice portfolio while Gunawardena, Prof. Peiris, and Fernando held the same posts earlier.

After ministers resigned en masse on Sunday, President Rajapaksa invited all political parties to come together to find solutions to the ongoing national crisis. “The current crisis is a result of several economic factors and global developments. As one of the leading democratic countries in Asia, solutions should be found to this within a democratic framework. Considering this a national need, the time has come to work together for the sake of all the citizens and future generations,” a recent statement from the President’s Media Division read.

(By arrangement with


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