South Asia and Beyond

‘Politicisation Of Remittances A Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Blunder’

NEW DELHI: As Sri Lanka goes through its worst economic crisis, one of the contributors to the current turmoil is the drying up of remittances by expatriate Sri Lankans, partly due to the cascading effects of Covid-19. But there is a political angle to this as well and that’s holding up remittances even now, says Colombo-based strategic affairs analyst Dr Harinda Vidanage. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Dr Vidanage says things could have been handled better by the foreign office.

TRANSCRIPT:

There is a serious political undercurrent, which is preventing even existing remittances at the moment. It’s a mix of politicization of expatriate community as well as the certain measures the government and you know, certain officials took during the COVID period, especially trying to help and you know, read you know, it’s a kind of foreign affairs blunder as well; the foreign office could have done more for these people. So there is disgruntlement. The expatriate workers are very aware that their hard-earned money runs Sri Lanka’s economy. When you have 400-500 to 800 million dollars coming in, even at debt we could have run the country smoothly. One of the major things that dried up was the remittances. Hopefully, if expatriates are happy, if migrant workers are happy that there is certain change within the government, they might start sending a little bit more money back into Sri Lanka. Now, even 100-200 million dollars a month would really help because we are really dried up.

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