The country’s central bank chief said Sri Lanka could avoid the current economic turmoil if it went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sooner for a bailout.
P Nandalal Weerasinghe told BBC Newsnight that the delay in seeking outside help was a mistake.
The country said it needed $5 billion this year for the support of the international community, including the IMF. Sri Lanka defaulted on its history of foreign debt last month.
“If we had taken the decision to go to the IMF earlier, if we had started the debt restructuring process a year ago, we could have managed the situation in this country without such problems,” he said.
His comments came as Sri Lanka struggled to restore order to its economy, which is suffering from extreme fuel shortages, rising food prices, and medicine shortages.
A recent survey by the United Nations World Food Program found that nearly two-thirds of Sri Lankan households have had to reduce their food intake.
Mr. Weerasinghe said Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948.