Colombo: In the face of unprecedented economic hardship in Sri Lanka, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has said that the only option for the island nation to emerge from this crisis is to seek the support of the global lender International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"We are well aware that the economy of the country has collapsed. So I know the difficulties faced by the country. We witnessed a drop in the number of employments. Inflation has especially increased the cost of living. Hence people's lifestyle is changing," said Wickremesinghe during a meeting with the trade union representatives at the President's Office held on Friday afternoon, as quoted by his media division.

He said the facilities that Sri Lankans enjoyed earlier are diminishing, as the dire economic situation in the country has affected every field including education and health.

"These are the repercussions of this economic collapse. It is useless to talk of the root causes for these issues as they have already happened. The only option we have now is to seek the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Otherwise, we cannot recover," he added.

Ranil Wickremesinghe stressed that he is attempting to reinvigorate the country's collapsed economy with the help of a debt restructuring program.

"We are currently carrying out a debt restructuring program. We have already completed the negotiations with Japan, which is one of the three main countries, Japan, China, and India from whom we have obtained loans," he added.

Additionally, Wickremesinghe noted that the economic growth in Europe and America is now slowing down. "Under such a situation, our export market may drop by next year and we have to develop our tourism industry," he added.

During Friday's meeting, government, semi-government and private sector trade union leaders and representatives participated to discuss the corrective measures that could be taken to find solutions to the economic and financial crisis existing in the country.

He further stated that the government has succeeded in making the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund more successful by being able to build trust as a country.

Stating that the country's economy is expected to improve after the first quarter of this year, the President expressed his confidence in achieving better economic progress in 2024. The Sri Lankan President pointed out that not only the public sector but the private sector should also be strengthened to provide relief to the people while continuing with the country's development programs.

President Wickremesinghe further said that he is aware of the hardships the people are going through today and added that he would somehow provide relief to the public.