Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa sacks two Cabinet ministers for blaming brother Basil for economic woes
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday sacked two of the country’s Cabinet ministers after they openly criticised his younger brother and Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, accusing him of having a rigid working style that caused the island nation’s ongoing economic woes.
Sri Lanka is currently reeling under a severe foreign exchange crisis with falling reserves and the government is unable to foot the bill for essential imports.
Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila and Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa have been removed by Rajapaksa under article 47 (2) of the constitution, a presidential release said.
Both are leaders of the ruling SLPP coalition’s constituent parties. They along with nine other smaller parties at a rally held on Wednesday fired a broadside on Basil Rajapaksa whom they alleged was responsible for the current economic, foreign exchange, fuel and energy crisis in the country.
They charged that Basil’s rigid working style had meant that the governor of the Central Bank Ajith Cabraal was not able to meet him to discuss ways out of the current economic woes.
Gamini Lokuge who replaced Gammanpila as the energy minister said it was wrong for the sacked ministers to be critical while being members of the Cabinet.
“As ministers they must know how to work collectively in the government,” Lokuge told reporters.
SB Dissanayake has replaced Weerawansa as the industries minister.
Sri Lanka has been experiencing shortages of all essentials on top of seven hour power cuts while long queues are seen at the fuel stations.
The island’s foreign reserves have hit an all time low while debt payments mounted.
Gammanpila, the sacked energy minister, has been warning of the fuel crisis for months.