Srilanka: MONLAR and other civil society members call out IMF’s ‘selective consultations’

The Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR), a member of La Via Campesina in Srilanka, has signed onto to a joint statement by trade unions, social movements, and civil society organizations in the country to critically addresses the IMF’s role in the country’s economic landscape, highlighting the adverse repercussions of austerity measures on the populace’s socio-economic welfare.

The statement underscores the widening gap in societal inequalities exacerbated by the government’s selective application of austerity, which shields certain sectors from cutbacks while leaving others vulnerable. The signatories express discontent with the IMF’s dismissive attitude towards civil society concerns, urging for transparent and participatory decision-making processes concerning reforms, particularly in debt restructuring.

Demanding a reduction in the country’s debt burden through a fair and transparent process, including the identification and cancellation of odious debt, they underscore the detrimental impact of conditionalities on vulnerable demographics such as working individuals, children, and women. The statement condemns the government’s suppression of public dissent and the IMF’s endorsement of undemocratic reforms, highlighting the erosion of democratic principles.

Criticism is also directed towards IMF policies, which are seen as exacerbating the country’s indebtedness, stifling growth, and impeding revenue generation. The signatories refuse to engage in IMF consultations until substantial changes are made to prioritize the welfare and socio-economic recovery of the Sri Lankan populace. They advocate for a shift in focus towards safeguarding citizens’ well-being and promoting equitable advancement, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the best interests of the people over IMF-driven policies that perpetuate socio-economic disparities and hinder inclusive development.