20 May, 2022

Blog

A Brick-Head Regime & IMF

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Two years of systemic economic mismanagement by a government elected to power with great expectations and grand promises has led the people into a miserable existence of hopelessness, despair and depression. The regime is scapegoating Covid-19 for the disaster, which no doubt aggravated it, but policy faults by the government were several, and worse was its brick headedness not to listen to experts in the field simply because they were not part of its power cartel. Beginning from its approach to control the pandemic virus to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s ad hoc tax concessions, his erratic import substitution measures and to costly debt management techniques, the government blindly went on translating into practice what GR babbled and his former handpicked Central Bank Chief, Professor WD Lakshman interpreted as an “alternate way to development”. That this so-called alternate way is full of potholes and leading to disaster is clearly demonstrated by the economic misery gripping the nation.

Given the widespread wretchedness and the forlorn hopes of a hyped V-shape or U-shape recovery, it is sheer madness and even criminal to cling on to the failed strategy of managing the economy hoping to pull the country out of its morass by relying on friendly countries for economic and financial assistance. Borrowing anew to service and settle past debt is a costly exercise. It is foolish for CB chief Ajith Nivard Cabraal to brag about not defaulting on debt payment without explaining to the suffering public the actual cost of that exercise. India and China, the two regional giants locked in a bitter cold war, loom large in the list of countries that are willing to help. These two powers are rivalling in their readiness to assist Sri Lanka as demonstrated by their currency swap arrangements, direct loans and food aid. This is neighbourly generosity at a price. The heaviest price to be paid for their largesse is not the economic pain to be incurred when settling the debts, but the long-term loss of Sri Lanka’s real assets and compromising its sovereignty.

Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, because of its strategic location in the Indian Ocean and in the midst of growing geo-political tensions between India and China, and their respective allies, is tied to its economic policy. Balancing the two requires Chanakya expertise on both fronts, which regrettably seems to be lacking, especially in foreign affairs. Moreover, there is one heavenly truth that Sri Lankan policy makers must realize and that is, there is no free lunch for anyone anywhere. All friendly help and benevolence are tied with self-interest of the helper and benefactor.

With this backdrop it is important to discuss the IMF option, which seems to have gained momentum over the last few months. There seems to be an increasing consensus among experts in the field and observers on the ground that IMF assistance is unavoidable. In discussing IMF option, it is better not to get bogged down with the hackneyed ideological debate about IMF’s Western bias, a subject on which undergraduates had been lectured for decades by their university pedagogues. One has to be pragmatic in light of the present economic difficulties crippling the country. Even leftists who are aspiring to capture government in the near future must accept the reality that given the openness of Sri Lankan economy and the prevailing global economic and financial landscape, partnership with international institutions like IMF is essential especially when an economy is chronically facing financial difficulties.

To start with, IMF and World Bank (WB) are the two Keynesian twins created after World War II to deal with economic difficulties faced by poor countries. While WB takes care of funding long-term projects, IMF specializes in assisting to rectify short-term balance of payments difficulties. However, when a country requests IMF for assistance, it is like a patient visiting his/her physician for prescription to cure an illness. The doctor after diagnosing the sickness would not only recommend the appropriate medicine but also advice the patient on other requirements that should be fulfilled for the medicine to be effective. More than the medicine itself it is those other requirements that guarantee long-term health of the patient.

Sri Lanka’s economic sickness is the result of a long-term neglect by successive governments to (a) maintain budgetary discipline, (b) initiate and implement economic reforms to enhance productivity, and (c) improve administrative efficiency. Apart from these there are a few other, yet equally important areas where this neglect is prominent such as in managing the country’s ethnic and cultural pluralism, and failure in nation building. These are however not directly relevant to IMF prescription and assistance.

To overcome financial difficulties, the main advantage of IMF help is the cheapness of its credit and flexibility in terms of settlement. Currently, the interest rate on loans is only 3.5%, which is the lowest available in the market. (That may go up, may be in a couple of years, when US and other large economies start increasing their interest rates to counter the threat of inflation). The settlement of debt is over medium to long term and could take as long as ten years and that also in six-month instalments. Compared to the currency swap arrangements with India, China and Bangladesh these are unbelievably attractive terms. (Incidentally, there seems to be utter secrecy surrounding the terms and conditions attached to the latest 1.5 billion yuan-rupee swap with the Bank of China. It may cost more than what has been publicly told).

The conditionality attached to IMF loan depends on the state of the economy in question. The more serious is a patient’s illness more severe will the restrictions imposed by the doctor. Likewise, had the ruling regime approached IMF quite early in time its conditions and their impact on public would have been milder.

In general, IMF conditions are tied to two areas namely, improving internal fiscal strength by way of increasing taxes and reducing wasteful public expenditure, and carrying out economic reforms.

The gaping Sri Lankan budget deficits are totally intolerable if economic recovery to take place. But the government’s decision to cut expenditure without raising tax revenue is not going to help reduce the deficit even in the short-term. On the revenue side, there are two shortcomings. The 12% tax revenue component of GDP in 2019, is among the lowest in middle income economies and it must increase. Although the top income tax rate is only 16% how efficiently that is collected is another issue. Sri Lanka’s tax administration is notoriously lax and corrupt. In reality, the poor pay more through indirect taxes than the rich via direct taxes. This inequity needs redressing.

Economic reforms demanded by IMF would mean restructuring if not privatizing all loss-making parastatals. The main reason why several state run corporations fail is because of corruption. This again is a perennial problem in Sri Lanka. When managers of state run corporations are appointed more on the basis of political affiliation than merit, corruption sets in. When the top is corrupt how does one expect the ones in the middle and bottom levels to remain honest. Sri Lankans know very well that a fish starts rotting from its head. From ministers to mangers and to their subordinates, corruption is widespread. In 2020, the country ranked 94th in public sector corruption. What happened to GR’s promise of clean government? Didn’t the names of certain members of Rajapaksa family appear in Pandora papers? GR promised to investigate the matter. What happened to that investigation? All hushed up.

In short, corruption is endemic and part of the country’s political life.

This explains why the government is dillydallying in seeking IMF assistance. When cabinet ministers indulge in private business deals and issuing government contracts in return for percentage kickbacks, how does one expect an economy to prosper? Getting away from corruption is to lose opportunities to loot. Will they hang themselves by going to IMF?

IMF would also insist on further depreciation of the rupee to make it reflect market demand. At the moment the gap between CB-manipulated exchange rate for the dollar and that quoted in the black market is quite wide. CB’s higher rate would discourage tourism on which the country heavily depends. It is also a reason why expatriate labour is not willing to send their hard-earned dollars through official channels.

Accepting IMF’s conditionality would certainly cause more pain to consumers. But whether that pain would be worse than caused by GR’s alternate way is doubtful. However, short-term pain is tolerable if that conditionality promises long-term gain. What is the long-term gain?

With IMF involvement investors’ confidence would receive a boost and inflow of foreign investment would increase. Credit rating agencies like Filch and S&P would start reassessing the economy’s prospects for future growth and at least keep the level of risk at current level for some time before upgrading it. There is also another indirect benefit. That is to reduce or remove the threat of EU withdrawing its GSP+ concessions to Sri Lankan exports. GR’s alternate way and his poor record on human rights violations are potentially dangerous to the survival of small and medium level industries, which depend crucially on EU market. (World Report 2022 released by Human Rights Watch once again points out the failure of Rajapaksa regime to improve that record).

Finally, as the economy begins to show signs of revival with IMF assistance and as foreign investment flows in and economic activities take off the current brain drain would witness a slowdown. After all, not everyone is leaving their kith and kin to go and live abroad purely for the sake of earning dollars. Currently, even local investors are not willing to expand their operations because of shortage of skilled labour.

Thus, there are distinct advantages in going to IMF. It is time the Rajapaksa regime either come to some sense, approach IMF for help and get rid of GR’s ruinous alternate path or prolong the agony, face peoples’ wrath, mortgage the country to foreigners and end up causing a bloody upheaval.

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business & Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 27
    1

    They say, these 3 guys in the photograph, never passed OLs ………. but what’s astonishing is, how they even got to the 10th Grade ……… passing through Grades 1 to 9!

    To comprehensively destroy/gut a country/society …….. there’s no need for education, exams, training …….. I suppose ……….. it just comes naturally …………

    • 11
      4

      Maybe the dual US citizens Rajapassa brothers, who are FM and Prez of Banana Republic, can get a special deal from the IMF as the US dollar is about to crash with all the American Debt generated by money printing 9 trillion USD in the last 2 years of Covid “Bailouts”?

      After all the Lanka -American brothers, along with the Weaponized Sinhala Buddhist Diaspora that works for the US Deepstate are desperately anxious for a Pfizer “Vaccine Victory” in Sri Lanka – while helping American Big Pharma earn ever bigger profits.. !
      And never mind Vaccine Adverse Event and Pfizer induced Deaths for global de-population,,

    • 9
      0

      NF,
      .
      We just need to closely look at the body langauge of the 3 YAMARAJJURUWOs/ if ones with some sanity would not take long to grasp how devious their agendas would be.
      May well be people are made to believe, that the grants being offered to the people these are coming from the pockets of Basil. I heard some people thanking Rajapkshes for such grants. Media men stay letting the fake opinion become the perception as usual. Finally people should be made clear it is theirs – state s funds that flow to th epeople are people s assets. No additional thanks would be necessary.

      • 13
        0

        LM,

        This is what I believe will happen …….. They will go to the IMF after the 18th.

        $500 million worth of bonds are falling due on the 18th ……. with insider knowledge few Lankans have bought these bonds for less than half the face value and stand to make a windfall.

        IMF would’ve prevented this payment on the 18th …….. and gone for a reschedule/restructure of the payment.

        Mark my word, in spite of the put-on false bravado ……… they will go to the IMF after the 18th. …….. Wonder what excuse they’ll come up with! :))

    • 6
      3

      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

      For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

    • 5
      2

      Hi Nimal,
      Good Day,
      In a Country (Pissu country) when a “Chairman Litro gas”, gets them sack in the morning an gets reinstated by lunchtime after a ‘Perahera’ at the establishment with the HE President, “What cannot happen”?????
      You must be happy or dissatisfied as the case may be with individuals, that these fellows didn’t get a Degree or double degree to boot?????
      This is a “Perahera”!!!!!! Mind you mate we are in the 21st century in Sri Lanka, the most advanced country in the world with 20th Amendment!!
      The HE the president is about ti infuse new life and ‘make a Male a Female!!’, which JRJ confessed that he could not with republican constitution.
      Once the male is made a Female, the reverse process is not possible!!!
      HE president can only do it with the concurrence of MR and BR.
      That is the significant problem Premajayantha (Lovely victorious) is dilemma that is facing right now
      6.9 Million are very happy!
      What is 800+ explosions and 300+ deaths????
      Didn’t we experience more in the last 3 decades??????????????
      Presidential Pardon Is the way!!!!!!
      HE President cannot be doing any wrong???????
      Nor the 6.9 Million voters electing him?????????!!!!!!!!
      Thanng Sappade???????
      Sappai!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • 2
      0

      NF, ha..haaa…how were they ever able to pass the year 5 exams??? Studied in the Madamulana primary school where the village headman was the school principal???

  • 5
    22

    Why do these clowns love the IMF so much . is the plan to get the IMF in and remove all the subsidies and pension to convert this country into a battlefront?

    • 16
      2

      Why medamulana bps prefer Chinese loans ?
      .
      That proves the world how mlechcha the men have turned out to be🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

      • 3
        21

        LM,
        “Why medamulana bps prefer Chinese loans ?”

        Because China came forward to help Sri Lanka to eliminate Tamil terrorists who ruined this country when many other countries did not help. Sinhala Buddhists are grateful to those who helped them unlike those who stab in the back after getting help.

        • 7
          1

          leelagemalli

          “Because China came forward to help Sri Lanka to eliminate Tamil terrorists who ruined this country when many other countries did not help.”

          Grow up.
          China being a merchant of death sold weapons to stupid people to destroy the country and themselves. What is the guarantee China did not sell weapons and related goods to LTTE?

          VP won the war for the clan with the support of Hindia and USA.

          Please pull your head wherever it is, you can see and hear well.

          • 5
            2

            leelagemalli

            I am sorry, the above comment was meant for Eagle Blind Eye.

            • 5
              0

              Not to be sorry Dear NV,
              It is self explainary.
              :
              Entire world is coming together to stand against our MEDAMULAN rascals today. But BRAIN DEAD men of EE nature would not grasp the little easily. He is not alone, there are lot more in SL (the hell in making) that would not see it right yet today.
              :
              We warned the people prior to Nov 2019. – that Rajapkashes would be talented only at ruining the nation.

          • 2
            0

            Israel played the same game, China gives more commissions.

        • 9
          1

          EE, utter rubbish!! China never came forward and helped us to finish the war. It was Indian RAW with USA intelligence back up that located VP and supported SL forces to finish the war. Stop talking anything you have no clue about!

      • 1
        13

        Why the sudden love for the IMF ? who cares where the relief comes from ? as long as it happens. This shows the lies and the method of the JVP.

      • 10
        1

        leelagemalli

        “Why medamulana bps prefer Chinese loans ?”

        The clan fears IMF imposing conditionality, which mean small government, small budget, small budget deficit, small armed forces, small number of state employees, no subsidies, devaluation of currency leading to import becoming expensive including food, medicines, luxury goods, whisky, motor vehicles, not much room for policy choices, not much funds for grandiose project white elephants, …. ….

        Do you think Gota, Mahinda, Chamal, Namal Baby, Shavendra, Kamala, …… want to have a much shrunk state? Where would the 15,000 Generals find lucrative jobs?

        It appears Sinhala/Buddhists who sustained Sinhala/Boutha corrupt state now want to relocate. If the trend prevails, people will be left with a devastated country, a colony of hardcore Chinese criminals, owned and operated by Chinese corporations.

    • 23
      1

      Only pompous idiots of the nature
      a14455/ wouldvremain supporting Rajapakshe bps further😡😡😡😡🐕

      • 16
        1

        LM
        .
        I think a14455 could be an ex-con.
        .
        a14455 looks like a prison serial number.
        .
        Looks like a14455 lost his brain and any sense of civility while in prison. 🤣

        • 7
          0

          HT/
          .
          He/ a14455 never had one.
          .
          Look/ how he supports the comments being added by brain dead – EAGLE EYE/
          .
          Ironically bugger is US citizen so as Basil/ he revealed to have worked in Singapore for 7 years
          .
          Btw /EE s hatreds can kill island nation within seconds
          .
          😥🐃😥🐃😥🐃😥

        • 7
          0

          HT,
          “Looks like a14455 lost his brain and any sense of civility while in prison. 🤣”
          Insult is the first resort of the pinhead.

    • 11
      0

      A14455,
      “pension to convert this country into a battlefront?”
      One day you are flaunting your superior US residency. The next day you’re in “this country”. Seems like the tongue might like but the pen won’t.

      • 8
        0

        The tongue might lie but the pen won’t.

      • 7
        0

        OC,
        .
        Seems like the tongue might like but the pen won’t.

        Surely that may be only to us the CT commenters, but there the slave may be behaving as if his tongue is tied.
        .

      • 3
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

        For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 17
    2

    Absolutely on the spot. A brick head President supported by brick heads but robbers will not go to IMF.
    But people will be on the road soon. Brick heads may have to go home

    • 9
      0

      According to the experts, the fact is after we were ranked to the C++, no options were left us to go back to IMF. However, srilanken media did not reveal and let WHAT RAJAPAKSHES utter to become the fake public perception. That is their family affairs. With this being the nature of MEDAMULANA cattle thieves, people need support from MAIN STREAM media to realize the danger before them.
      If not today when ?
      Just imagine, Gota set a commission to find out the truths behind ” Pandora” papers their cleanliness. Is there any news regarding that topic in the air today ?
      .
      Why DO srilanken media behave like ” rape victims” ? yet today ? Ralla can be made easily, if MAIN stream media would take the SIDE of the public and make every effort to transport the truth version of everything of the day to the grass root level of people in this country.

      Sirasa TV is doing some good work but how many other TV channels yet today paint the picture in favour of ANTI-IMF … pro SINO fantasies ?

  • 21
    1

    It’s time for the three musketeers to hit the road. They’ve proven to be ethically and intellectually challenged to make the right decisions for the country.

  • 22
    1

    Why Sri Lanka especially Rajapaksa regime afraid about Conditions by IMF?
    1. Corruption: Strict procedures to eliminate or minimise the corruption: Because Most of the Rajapaksas and their allies involved in large scale corruption and it is a necessity for them.
    2. Accountability and Human rights: Again Rajapaksas depends on the Political and military power to create violence including murders, riots, destruction of businesses and infrastructures and to escape from these crimes.
    As author pointed out that giant neighbours knew well that Rajapaksas are greedy of power and money so they can easily manipulate threatening them to get their own benefits and lead Sri Lanka to ever depend on them.
    The whole world helped Sri lanka to end the war but Rajapaksas claimed it is their family victory after ignoring those who helped to win the war and wanted their family dictatorship and used racism against to eliminate Muslims and now created a military rule to eliminate Sinhalese by selling this country to China and India.

    • 4
      17

      Ajith,
      “The whole world helped Sri lanka to end the war but Rajapaksas claimed it is their family victory..”

      The whole world helped. BS!
      Some powerful countries tried their best to stop the military operation by the Government of Sri Lanka to eliminate Tamil terrorists. Rajapakshes ignored the threats from those countries and gave the leadership to Sri Lanka Armed Forces to get rid of Tamil terrorists who massacred Sinhala Buddhists for three decades and ruin the country.

      • 8
        1

        Bloody Rajapaksha mafia gang didn’t have a clue…..!!!! It was the Indian RAW with USA intelligence back up that located VP and supported SL forces to finish the war. Actually Fonseka did much better that the mafia gang!

  • 19
    0

    When nepotism, cronyism, corruption, and incompetence, fails the country.

    When unqualified and incompetent leaders fail to appoint qualified, experienced, and competent members, to his/her administration, to advice you.

    When you surround yourself with war criminals, crooks, pardoned felons, and appoint them to top jobs that they have no clue how to manage, or how represent the country, bring embarrassment to the country.

    When you appoint “yes” men who will do anything you command them to do, who will turn a blind eye to your crimes, and are also equally corrupt like you.

    When you discriminate, and use religion as a tool, using a saffron robed fool, to spread hate, and who will provoke mobs into attacking innocent people who belong to the minority.
    Use racism to distract a nation fed up of your failed policies.

    A RECIPE FOR DISTASTER.

    But don’t worry your family is living in the lap of luxury, driving posh cars, going shopping and vacationing abroad, getting fake qualifications, eating at luxury hotels, buying property here and abroad, and their off shore bank accounts are swelling up as the commissions keep rolling in.

    What do you care about the peasants and their endless suffering? You can always distract them again by arresting another Muslim professional poet, or activist, and keep your base happy.

    • 3
      18

      Ashan,
      “When you discriminate, and use religion as a tool, using a saffron robed fool, to spread hate, and who will provoke mobs into attacking innocent people who belong to the minority.”

      Who provoked Tamils and Muslims to carry out terrorist attacks against majority Sinhalayo?

  • 14
    0

    We are in this mess because of disastrous ‘investments’ in the past, instigated by the current regime. Now that we are caught in the debt spiral, we have no viable strategy to payback or even reschedule the debts but expect ‘friendly’ countries to come to our aid or maybe the lenders will be sympathetic & wipe off the debt. Such optimism is not related to prudent financial management, therefore, the current regime maybe buying time to ‘pass the parcel’ to next govt., knowing the chances for a re-election is zero.

    The country is sinking deeper by the day, so, shouldn’t those responsible for this catastrophe held accountable? The buck stops with the President but those who led the President up the garden path, if at all, as well as, past President(s) who initiated stupid investments & condoned misuse of public funds, such as, hedging losses, are equally at fault. Incompetence & ignorance is not tolerated in employment, so, shouldn’t the Governors of the CB who are supposed to guide this country, made accountable for poor management of the country’s finances?

    • 4
      15

      Raj-UK,
      “…shouldn’t the Governors of the CB who are supposed to guide this country, made accountable for poor management of the country’s finances?

      Some Governors are responsible for poor management of the country’s finances.
      The man Ranil brought from Singapore saying that he is an expert on managing the finances helped Ranil to rob the Central Bank and ran away. Excellent financial management!

      The country is in this mess because of mismanagement of the economy and finances by the ‘Royal Family’ of ‘Yahapalana’ Government.

      • 1
        0

        Eagle Eye

        Mahendran & his family certainly profited from insider dealing & many politicians & cronies also benefitted from the proceedings but nobody was brought to justice, even by your heroes. Taking into account the loss to SL from the bond ‘scam’, compared to that of the blunders & mismanagement, particularly, by Cabral, is much greater, & worse, he is given a second chance, which is inexcusable.

        My point is that all responsible, including academics, like Prof. Lakshman, who are expected to act honourably & diligently, as it is the country that is at stake here, should be held accountable

  • 19
    0

    The Rajapaksa family know what they are doing.
    .
    They are creating an inhospitable atmosphere where inverters will dread investing.
    .
    At the same time, they are turning a blind eye to The IMF further starving us of much-needed Forex. The Chinese are garbing their share of what little is left in the central bank.
    .
    This is a deliberate effort to impoverish our country, through economic sabotage.
    .
    Rajapaksa’s will sell off all national assets for peanuts which, they will buy through proxies.
    .
    Rajapaksas and their band of arse-licking dogs have successfully done what no one else would do to our motherland. Even war doesn’t cause this extent of damage.
    .
    I think this is Karma paying us back for all the sins we have committed over the years.
    .
    I tell you something, Rajapaksas will pay dearly for all the atrocities before too long. It is inevitable.

    • 10
      0

      Brother HT,

      thanks for the comment.

      Now we at least some of us have no patience to wait to read from you. #

      Please add more. Srilanken main stream media are still not vocal enough about the danger before us. I really dont know why ? Just imagine their reactions about the OIL TANKs in trinco. Truths are aside, falsehoods are in the air. HIRU TV and DERANA TV work diehard to paint the picture in favours of untruths.

      Many experts are in the view, we must not hurry to pay off the next week s debt installement while the state being almost like in a hard-up situation. Their advice is to wait until RESERVES rise up to some levels. But Ajith Cabral the wandibattaya who once made big losses due to his total ignorance is again on his way with Rajapkshes bp to sink ” island nation”:

      Forex authorities/experts over to you, please wake up and advise the bugger et al properly.

      • 8
        0

        Dear LM
        .
        Your kind words are an inspiration for me.
        .
        The truth is that any of who is willing to tell himself the truth will see Mara and Co. For who they really are.
        .
        You have been constantly reminding us over the years about these bastards relentlessly.
        .
        Other gentlemen and women who have a pure heart have been commenting on issues in very constructive and sincere intent. We know them without my mentioning names, good and rational guys are in majority amongst us.
        .
        Then there are the few real sociopaths with serious mental illness who comment in the most insolent manner. We know them very well. They are damaged goods with one dimensional thinking.
        .
        Allow me to illustrate, there was a comment that said “China is our friend, they helped in winning the war”. I want to ask this idiot a question, if China is really our friend, would they squeeze us this bad when we are this cash strapped?
        .
        Is it so hard to see, China have used their economic power to impoverish us further and further.
        .
        Take Japan on the other hands. Whatever they have given us is and has always been for our benefit, yet we have been distancing ourselves from Japan lately, why is that?.

        • 2
          0

          H.T,
          “yet we have been distancing ourselves from Japan lately, why is that?.”
          Because, unlike “Poli mudalalis”, they only fund viable projects, and want to see the accounts.

          • 4
            0

            Oc/
            .
            Previous govt worked with JAIKA closely and won whole lot of Grants / better loans on much lower interests from Japan/ but the bugger et al kicked them out and doubled down on the Chinese investments no matter entire world warned us.
            .🤔😥🤔🐃😥🤔😥😥

    • 6
      1

      Being a skeptic, I doubt they will pay for all the atrocities. They will all vanish abroad, and live like kings and queens with their ill gotten gains for generations and generations. Chi-Chi and Chu-Chu’s great grandchildren will be wearing designer duds to top schools abroad, and will be living in their mansions in top cities around the world, bought by money laundering. They will get away with their corruption and crimes.

      • 5
        0

        Dear Ashan
        .
        Do not underestimate mother nature. Time will settle everything.
        .
        Haven’t we seen much more brutal characters like Sadam Husein, Gadafi, Idi Amin, Osama bin laden, and a bunch of such tyrants, got what they deserved. Where are they and their families today.
        .
        Yes, the family will pay! Sri Lanka is a country where retribution doesn’t waste much time.
        .
        The only one who will escape alive is Basil. He will run away for dear life while the others will pay the ultimate price.

        • 2
          0

          H.T,
          Don’t you think we should consider what happened to Libyans, Iraqis, and Afghans after they were freed from tyranny. We wouldn’t want that to happen here, would we?
          Not that I wouldn’t mind seeing the Rajapaksas paying their dues.

  • 4
    1

    Some news item said that 500,000 sri lankans have been added to the below the poverty line.

    I think the amount is misleading as my expectation is that more than $500,000 have been added to below the poverty line.

  • 8
    0

    More than a Brick Head Regime, it’s Brick Head Regime with Cow Dung Brain!

    • 5
      0

      Dear Buddhist1
      .
      You are a person I hold in very high regard but with regard to your last comment, I beg to differ, Sir.
      .
      Even if they had brick heads filled with cow dung, There should be even a little effort to help the country.
      But on the contrary, nothing is being done. They are making things even worse.
      .
      This is deliberate and blatant economic sabotage.
      .
      They have vested interests. Nothing more. Anyone who thinks all this is happening to us due to incompetence should please reconsider. This is a textbook case of economic sabotage by a bunch of Traitors.

      • 2
        0

        I agree. This is a textbook case of a family ruling a country, fleecing the country, abusing their powers, arresting activists, harassing the media, killing journalists, and buttering up the Buddhist clergy, so that they will have the support of the majority to continue their greed, and keep implementing policies that benefit them not the people. We have a sad situation.

        • 2
          0

          Mr. Ashan
          .
          Yes, we do have a very sad situation at present.
          .
          But you know, no condition is permanent. We can change the situation with the right effort and right thinking. (Buddhism 101)
          .
          First and foremost, we have to understand how we got to this point and trace our mistakes.
          .
          We have to use the lessons learned from those mistakes and resolve never to repeat the mistakes.
          .
          That is real progress.
          .
          It is enough for now if the common man can realize that we the citizens are affected equally regardless of language, religion, caste, or creed, and we have so much in common.
          .
          Yes, it is a costly lesson to learn in this manner. What other choice do we have?

  • 4
    0

    In response to the opinion that ‘Even leftists who are aspiring to capture government in the near future must accept the reality that given the openness of Sri Lankan economy and the prevailing global economic and financial landscape, partnership with international institutions like IMF is essential especially when an economy is facing financial difficulties’ I reproduce below the proposals outlined in the NPP published booklet ‘RAPID RESPONSE’ to address the ailing economy without depending on IMF or other international institutions –
    A Thriving Economy Instead of a Dependent Economy –
    It is very clear that the current economic crisis is a result
    of irrational economic strategies pursued by successive
    governments of our country and compounded by fraud,
    corruption and waste.
    Introduced in 1977, the Open Economic Policy has been
    destructive through its prioritization of personal gain over
    social responsibility. A clear indicator of the culture of
    greed this economic system has bred is how a select group
    of people benifits, and profit from fraudulent and corrupt
    business practices even in the face of the pandemic. This
    culture of greed and the destructive economic thinking
    that shapes it has also created a system of political power
    centred in the hands of a few.

  • 4
    1

    When the Tamil churches were bombed, Comedy Cardinal knowingly kept quiet. When Old King’s influence started wane in Temple Tree House, Cardinal started to bark about Tamil Churches bombing. Now the virus is spreading to Sinhala Churches too. Cardinal is howling pathetically. Minister Rear Admirable say those who watched the video clip did not tell police but plotted against police and released it to the media. That is the accusation on the Comedy Cardinal. Now Cardinal is a potential witness. In other words, when police were working on arresting the culprit Cardinal spread false information to the media and tried protecting the criminal by distraction. So, soon Cardinal will visit the 4th floor to pay his homage to Rear Admirable. (Already 14 persons arrested, now entire parishioners will be investigated.) Moda Real Admirable saying that one employee, who knows there are cameras, went with bag, under camaras. If the employee didn’t know that there was a camera, he is entitled to sue the Church, for not disclosing that fact. One cannot video graph a person other than on criminal circumstances, in private places. Remember the case Rear Admirable let the actress to escape after a drinking party during Covid-19 by taking her change cloths to the bus, not even to the prison!

    • 1
      2

      A good observation.
      After the Reverend Cardinal announced that there will be a prayer to mark 1000 days since Easter Attacks, a grenade was found in a church in Colombo. The following day, the Reverend Cardinal accused the Police for arresting ‘wrong people’ for placing the grenade, and demanded that the Police (the IGP) should “take off his uniform and go home”.
      The Reverend Cardinal’s constant interference in terrorism investigations is annoying and questionable. First, he was not happy with the Police for not arresting the former President Sirisena, who is not even a suspect in Easter attacks. Now, he is not happy with the Police for arresting church employees for the grenade found in the church. Interestingly, when two main Muslim suspects in Easter Attacks were released on bail, he didn’t have any problem.
      It is pretty obvious that, ‘for a reason personal to him’, the Reverend Cardinal is trying to absolve Muslim terrorists and prosecute uninvolved Sinhalese Buddhists for Easter Attacks.
      The Reverend Cardinal’s attempt to name who should be prosecuted for Easter Attacks and the recent grenade incident is an undue interference in police investigations. Therefore, the Police should take a court order to shut his mouth.

      • 3
        2

        Champa the ignorant
        The day police implicate you the truth will dawn on you.
        Have you not learnt anything at all from the past 1,000 days?
        Are you not ashamed of what is happening in our country.
        How long do you plan to hide under religious pretenses?
        .
        I can only pity idiots like you.
        At your age, if you don’t do an attitude correction, your life spent will be quite useless.
        You are throwing away the rare gift of human life.
        Your days are numbered, try to emancipate yourself from the clutches of narrow-minded religious bias and consequent racism.
        .
        The illitrate

      • 0
        1

        Rev Cardinal has his own agenda, he has already solved the whodunit while the police is doing an investigation. I suppose he should appoint his own judges to the kangaroo court

  • 2
    2

    Another international agreement signed by the Rajapaksas is challenged in the Supreme Court.
    The newly signed Trinco Oil Tank Framework Agreement is nothing but an extension of the ownership of 850-acre, strategically important oil tank farm land to India for another 50 years!!!! The Rajapaksas know a hundred ways to line their pockets.There is serious treachery behind this agreement.
    .
    This is what I observed in the latest Trinco Oil Farm Agreement.
    1) According to the previous agreement signed in 2003, India has the right to lease 99 tanks for a period of 35 years, i.e. 2003+35 = until 2038.
    2) As per the new agreement, India has the right to lease 99 oil tanks for 50 years, i.e. 2022+50 = until 2072!!!!
    3) According to an article published by “Hindustan Times” dated Jan. 8, 2022, there are 101 tanks, not 99. According to them, India will lease;
    16 tanks to Lanka-India Oil Corporation (LIOC), a subsidiary of the India Oil Corporation
    61 tanks to a joint venture
    24 tanks to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC)
    4) What is new in the agreement? It is the arbitrary extension of India’s leasing rights for another 50 years!!!!
    Contd’….

    • 2
      1

      5) Now, let’s see the bogus number game.
      6) The Sri Lankan government’s claim that they own 85 out of 99 tanks is nothing but a lie. Sri Lanka doesn’t own a single tank. It is India which owns all 99 tanks until 2038. The truth is, Sri Lanka has to sign a lease agreement with the Indian Oil Corporation to use Sri Lanka’s own oil tanks.
      7) According to the new agreement, 14 tanks will be leased to LIOC, 24 to CPC and 61 to Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd (TPTL), a private company that came out of nowhere.
      8) The government says, TPTL is a subsidiary of CPC which will have 61 tanks. Then, it says, CPC will have 51% of TPTL, its own subsidiary (i.e. 31 tanks out of 61) while LIOC will have 49% of CPC’s subsidiary, TPTL (i.e. 30 tanks out of 61).
      And, they call it a joint venture!. This doesn’t make sense. What role does the TPTL play in this joint venture? ZERO! As per the breakdown of shares, TPTL owns nothing!!!! So, why is it there? To distract people from the primary purpose of the agreement!
      Contd’…..

      • 2
        1

        9) I am glad that many parties including Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero and Venerable Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero have filed court cases against the controversial Trinco Agreement.
        10) I have a word for The Honourable Mr. Chief Justice (who is said to be facing a judicial coup for being IMPARTIAL!)
        11) The new agreement is to extend India’s leasing rights for another 50 years until 2072 which would otherwise have been ended in 2038.
        12) Including Sri Lanka, more than 130 countries have pledged to reach net-zero emissions BEFORE 2050. Then, why does Sri Lanka extend the Trinco Oil Agreement with India until 2072???? This is contradictory, isn’t it?
        13) It is pretty obvious that the hidden agenda of this agreement is to grant India the leasing rights of our 850-acre inestimable, strategically located land for other purposes.
        14) The new Oil Farm Agreement is directly against,
        –Sri Lanka’s best interests,
        –Sri Lanka’s pledge to reach net-zero emissions BEFORE 2050, and
        –the hyper competitive future global energy markets
        15) I, therefore, urge the Honourable Mr. Chief Justice to take the above facts into consideration and overturn the agreement that extended India’s right to lease our oil tanks for another 50 years.

        • 4
          1

          Champa dear,
          “many parties including Venerable Elle Gunawansa Thero and Venerable Bengamuwe Nalaka Thero”
          What expertise on oil storage do this pair have? Where were these prima donnas for the last 75 years when the tanks were left to rot in the jungle?
          What do you suggest we do? Can we ourselves develop them? Do we have the money?
          If these two clowns knew anything other than how to make rabble-rousing speeches, would their parents have dumped them in temples?

          • 4
            1

            old codger

            “If these two clowns knew anything other than how to make rabble-rousing speeches, would their parents have dumped them in temples?”

            You got to be careful with saffron clad thug gun toting Gunawansa, as he did in 1983 he might pop into the local police station demanding so many things, ….

            Have you renewed your passport?

          • 1
            2

            Old,

            ” What expertise on oil storage do this pair have? “ They obtained the enlightenment by imploring Buddha for knowledge and thus understand that the desperation of pouring it on the houses to set on lighting, outside, is more pressing than the kerosene lamps lighting inside the huts for mothers to feed the hard-earned dinner for her kids.
            They lavishly poured on the lighting house. Now Lord Buddha’s lesson becomes more radiant than the daytime Sun, that “Karma is true”.
            Jeyawewa Lankawe!

            • 0
              0

              This is an addendum to my 3-part comment against the Trinco Oil Tank Farm Agreement that extended India’s leasing rights for another 50 years.
              .
              I hope The Honourable Chief Justice will note that the Trinco Agreement is “not just a tank farm transaction”.
              Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in New Delhi has proved my concerns raised under 12) and 13). This is what he has said.
              Quote:
              “The two sides should jointly develop a business plan for the Trincomalee tank farm that accounts for projections that India’s energy needs will grow by 50% by 2030 and the need for refining capacity will go up 30%. The two sides can look into joint oil and gas exploration in the Cauvery basin and developing a refining facility at Trincomalee, Moragoda said.
              “For us, Trincomalee could potentially be a petroleum hub for India, both for storage and refining. Trincomalee can only service India, it is too far away from sea lanes…We (India – emphasis is mine) need to think strategically and that’s going to be the next step. Looking at this narrowly as a tank farm transaction would be wrong,” he said. Unquote.
              https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/delhi-colombo-should-build-on-trincomalee-deal-with-broader-strategy-lankan-envoy-101642169528821.html
              .

          • 1
            4

            old codger
            You say, “if these two clowns …..parents have dumped them in temples?”
            Muslims have an inherent hatred against Buddhist monks. Therefore, they tend to vilify Buddhist monks for no reason. The Sinhalese Buddhists don’t give two hoots about haters. Even our ancestors didn’t.

            • 6
              1

              Camapi.
              .
              “Muslims have an inherent hatred against Buddhist monks. Therefore, they tend to vilify Buddhist monks for no reason. The Sinhalese Buddhists don’t give two hoots about haters. Even our ancestors didn’t.
              ” .
              Why u interpret it other way around/ are u sitting on ur little head/upsidedown?.
              .
              Entire world knows how our yellow pets are and how they treat our minorities/ .
              ..
              Dr Safi story forgotten?
              .
              Athana methana natana Rathsna did it as no others though the bugger is now behave as if Kimbula fed with clay today🤔😥🤔😥🤔😥🐃🤔😥🐃🤔
              .

            • 3
              1

              Champa,
              “Therefore, they tend to vilify Buddhist monks for no reason. “
              I am just pointing out facts. Can you produce one Buddhist monk who has a doctorate in, say, Petrochemical/Electrical engineering, Agriculture, Cancer research ? I can produce several Catholic priests who do.
              Given the above, why the devil do people like you think that Gunawansa, Nalaka, Ratana, or Gandasara are experts at anything but taking you for a ride while fattening themselves?

        • 2
          1

          Champa,
          “Including Sri Lanka, more than 130 countries have pledged to reach net-zero emissions BEFORE 2050. Then, why does Sri Lanka extend the Trinco Oil Agreement with India until 2072???? This is contradictory, isn’t it?”
          No, It’s not contradictory!!!
          I’m bemused!!!!!
          The tanks being leased, for storing petroleum products do not increase pollution and environmental damage to the earths’ atmosphere.
          However the USE AND CONSUMPTION of the fuel stored in the facility causes environmental damage!!! The reasoning is scientifically flawed!!!!!!!
          That is separate issue. Resolution to that is, ‘DO NOT USE FUEL STORED IN TRINCO TANK FARM’!!
          Paying and contracting to use for storage of fuel for 50 years, including its’ restoration does not contribute to environmental damage.
          Then why complain and protest, which is detrimental to Sri Lanka, which is starved of US$ to pay for urgent and vital Imports, including food????
          Why worry about someone investing in the storage when it is not being used by the SL government left to rust for such long time by all governments?????????!!!!
          The non-restoration contribute reduction in atmospheric Oxygen due metal rusting process!!!!!!!!!
          SL not used them for 70+ years from independence.
          Why be a ‘Dog in the Manger’????????

        • 2
          1

          Champa,
          “ It is pretty obvious that the hidden agenda of this agreement is to grant India the leasing rights of our 850-acre inestimable, strategically located land for other purposes.”
          You are making the previous governments (at least those parties governing since 1956-59 to look like fools) look like a “pack of idiots and imbeciles” by your comment.
          If the assets were ‘Strategic’, what did they do???
          Where were all these messiahs who are now shouting from roof tops, when they were part of Governance????
          They goofed, because they did not see the “Strategic” quality of these assets, but only blaming the British Imperialists for the problems SL has acquired?????
          If I were to agree with you I would add, “ we imbeciles elect people who are our ‘mirror Image’ to ensure we are happy!!!!!!!!

        • 2
          1

          Champa,
          Commendable that you are very environmentally conscious
          You must then really protest against the Minister of Power, Gamini Lokuge to obtain fuel from LIOC, on Indian Line of Credit to enable the Power Plants to run uninterrupted due to lack of US$!!!!!!!!!
          These fuel supplies, if agreed by LIOC would eventuate from the Trinco Tank Farm and its use would harm the environment!!!!!!!!!

    • 2
      1

      Champa

      “strategically important oil tank farm land to India for another 50 years!!!!”

      Look I am not well informed like you or Wimal Weerawansa or Udhaya therefore I beg you to educate me.

      Please explain what you meant “strategically important”.
      Why the land is “strategically important” given those tanks were unused since 1950s?
      Where can I access “Trinco Oil Tank Framework Agreement” if it is already published?
      Where can I access “previous agreement signed in 2003”?
      Assuming all 99 tanks are returned to Sri Lanka what are you productively going do with the lot?
      A word of caution, given the rapid changes in technology oil consumption will drastically be reduced in the next 20 years.

      Whatever you may claim, as a stupid member of very stupid Sinhala/Buddhists lot, as far as Hindians are concerned Sri Lanka is a Sinhala state of Hindia. Whether Kachchatheevu or Trinco tanks are part of Sri Lanka or not the entire island is being considered one more state of Hindia.

      So why waste time counting, 51, 49, 85, 16, when these numbers have no meaning.
      The only way you could terminate Hindian ownership of this island is to hand over the island to China, then it would become China’s problem not yours.

      Tell the Gun toting saffron clad Gunawansa either to go to war with Hindians or start a mother of all riots against the non Sinhala/Buddhists.

  • 5
    0

    Political Musical chairs
    ——————————-
    Politicians need to realize for 70 plus years, be it democracy or Socialism they have all miserably failed.
    As the population increases, with cultural changes and the digital era making information easily accessible, people of all walks of life have now begun to question everything from religion to governance and want to be free to decide on religious and cultural values and become stakeholders in governance, it is amazing how many Sri Lankans think today and how much the digital access has made them well informed.
    It has brought new hope in my heart about Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, I am delighted to note how people have woken up, they know every cent and every grain of sand, the Seas and rivers, trees, and whatever is on this Island belongs to all the people of the Land, political religous bigotry and racism are dying and that is encouraging.
    People are well aware that it’s the common man who is the greatest contributor, be it foreign currency inflow or Taxes, and they now understand this summa business( free handout) must end, as to the folks I have spoken to, they know to be it land, fertilizer, money, free medicines, whatever any government offers is not free and it is theirs and they know it, they feel deeply betrayed and angry.
    To be continued.

  • 3
    1

    I have no time to read stuff written by Dr. Ameer Ali who to me is like a dog barking from hiding behind a tree. However though, I could not ignore the picture of the three musketeers who solely and single highhandedly brought the country and the people down on the knees.

  • 6
    0

    The religious and ethnic community leaders have been a great influence in deciding who governance for the last 70plus years, it has always been either SLFP or UNP.
    Then officially bringing in racial and religious political parties, from the frying pan to fire

    We the people are now left with only a few choices.
    To continue with the failed age-old system of, let’s give them another chance or let try a new party, we are also influenced to continue with the same old system by many whom we don’t want to oppose or confront for many extremely sensitive attachments and obligations.
    So either you go with the flow keeping in mind only dead fish goes with the flow and continue to just replace with another party or allow a new party again another gamble.
    Or you think out of the box, reason independently, and before you cast your ballot, insist to call on a people’s referendum to decide on a new Constitution.
    With decentralization and Direct Democracy.
    The decision is now mostly in control of the Youth of today, being the Nation of tomorrow, they must also end hate, divisions and embrace total diversity.
    I have always been consistent in changing the Constitution and stopping the patchwork of the pathetically failed one.
    No politician or party can

  • 1
    1

    Old,

    ” What expertise on oil storage do this pair have? “ They obtained the enlightenment by imploring Buddha for knowledge and thus understand that the desperation of pouring it on the houses to set on lighting, outside, is more pressing than the kerosene lamps lighting inside the huts for mothers to feed the hard-earned dinner for her kids.
    They lavishly poured on the lighting house. Now Lord Buddha’s lesson becomes more radiant than the daytime Sun, that “Karma is true”.
    Jeyawewa Lankawe!

  • 0
    0

    The caption of this article is wrong.It should read as CROCODILE HEADS.THEY THESE THREE CROCODILES MAHINDA,GOTHAPAYA AND BASIL SHED CROCODILE TEARS FOR BUDDIST MODAYAS IN SRILANAKA.In the name of buddisam these CROCODILES GALLOPED MONEY,GOLD,SHIPS AND SO MANY OTHER WEALTH BELONGS TO THE LTTE AND BECAME ONE OF THE RICH FAMILIES IN ASIA.

  • 5
    1

    Champa the ignorant
    The day police implicate you the truth will dawn on you.
    Have you not learnt anything at all from the past 1,000 days?
    Are you not ashamed of what is happening in our country.
    How long do you plan to hide under religious pretenses?
    .
    I can only pity idiots like you.
    At your age, if you don’t do an attitude correction, your life spent will be quite useless.
    You are throwing away the rare gift of human life.
    Your days are numbered, try to emancipate yourself from the clutches of narrow-minded religious bias and consequent racism.
    .
    “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” – Alvin Toffier

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