29 September, 2022

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Ali Sabry’s Misplaced Optimism

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

The newly appointed Minister of Finance, Ali Sabry, whose expertise is in law and not in economics or finance, expressed premature optimism about the country’s economic revival after returning from his team’s discussion with IMF officials in Washington. According to him the financial and economic difficulties facing the nation would be overcome in a month’s time with “soaring support” from international bodies and friendly nations. While everyone wishes that to be true, one fails to see any hard evidence for such a prospect. It is true that the minister and his company had a fruitful discussion with IMF officials, and there was agreement on the mechanism of IMF’s suggested pathway to achieve some sort of economic stability. Among its recommendations are tight monetary policy to counter escalating inflation, flexible exchange rates to reduce currency speculation and rupee depreciation, and higher taxes to improve government revenue. The first two are within the powers of the Central Bank and they have a short lag time in impacting market activities. But the third is a budgetary measure that has to be legislated through parliament. Given the state of political anarchy prevailing in the country it will take some time for the parliament, government and the presidency to put their acts together to repair the damage they have collectively caused to the economy.

In the meantime, IMF debt restructuring strategy has run into difficulties with China expressing unwillingness to include its $2.1 billion debt into that plan. How will IMF deal with this complication is yet to be seen. This would at least delay IMF’s credit assistance. World Bank, according to the minister, had agreed for an immediate bridging finance facility to the tune of $300-$600 million. Lately, Indonesia has agreed to send 3.1 tons of humanitarian aid by way of essential medicines and medical equipment. In addition, there are the two credit line facilities, one with India and the other with China. If this is all what the minister described as “soaring” support for Sri Lanka’s struggle then one has to question his time frame of one month to get rid of the economic pain. The Prime Minister was also quick to share that optimism and predicted that all protests to disappear soon.

While the minister is raising false hopes to save the tottering regime, ground reality is injecting more and more pessimism and desperation. There is no end to the long consumer queues in front of retail outlets to buy a few essentials and those queues are getting longer and longer. An eighth victim has been reported to have died while waiting to buy kerosine. There is scarcity in every possible consumer item and even the little available in the market is sold at exorbitant prices. Starvation, which never visited Sri Lanka in the past, is now knocking at the doors of thousands of households. Given this scenario, inflow of dollars alone from whatever its source is not going to solve these problems permanently. A beggar does not become rich by begging, and palliatives never provide permanent cure. It needs a concerted effort from public and private sectors and a coordinated plan to restructure a shattered economy. That is not possible with the prevailing political anarchy.

This is why minister Sabry’s optimism is misplaced and premature. He is an apprentice to economic management like his predecessor in that post and trying his best to serve and protect his master, the President, who is the primary cause for the current economic ills and against whom there is public outcry to quit. Harry Belafonte, the veteran American actor and singer once called the former US Secretary of State Colin Powell a “house slave …who got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master exactly the master intended to have you serve him”, for the Secretary’s support to President Bush’s invasion of Iraq based on false intelligence. In the case of minister Sabri he is trying hard to promise a speedy economic recovery in the midst of too many uncertainties and questionable assumptions. At the same time, there are a few crazy moves from within the opposition to form a so-called all-party interim government with a new Prime Minister. If that succeeds with or without MR there will be a new cabinet and whether Sabry would continue as finance minister is doubtful.

The problems facing the country are too many and too complex and they need a new system and a new approach. This appears to have been understood by the new generation of Sri Lankans who are not prepared to drink any more of the old wine served in new glasses. Aragalaya represents this hard truth. This generation understands what its rights are in a democracy, and how those rights of their parents and grandparents were trampled by political regimes that represented particular group interests. Go-Gota-Gama is about to enter its fourth week, and there are no signs of it winding without credible response for its demands from leaders at the helm. Public opinion from several counts indicates solid support to this novel experiment. World outside is also watching developments too closely. To the Rajapaksa clannish regime these are desperate times. Yet, one could only hope and pray that with support from its partisan saffron backers, business moguls and the President’s command over the military the regime would not resort to any foolhardy desperate move to suppress the aragalaya and plunge the country into even darker days. Ali Sabry’s false promises and the Prime Minister’s economic optimism seem to be preparations to set the stage for such an outcome.

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

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Latest comments

  • 25
    2

    The way things are, the next cabinet will have Minister IMF affairs, Minister, Geneva affairs, Minister world bank affairs, Minister Aragalaya affairs, Minister China debt affairs, Minister charity and donations ………….

    • 13
      1

      Chiv,
      But no minister for Promotion of Kaputas?

      • 6
        1

        Sorry for not mentioning, that is primary responsibility of all ministers which in includeded in oath, as of now. Assigned responsibilities come after.

    • 6
      1

      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

  • 7
    1

    In the meantime, IMF debt restructuring strategy.
    Increase tax for recovery, and pay income tax is his final say. One of the reason is not paying Tax. Actually they made the mistake not getting the fertilizer and not going for IMF having 225 parliamentarians, is hiding in his announcement The more you show up, the more revealed are ignorance found, For foreigner worker they promised spoke about pension schemes, Now they wanting to send the money nor had the ability to look to this matter. He waited to strike the iron when the iron is hot; and not made the iron hot to striking, Now the citizens have to suffer, The Lesson of Gall Face people organizations must be admitted: their object is the representation of the various categories of workers, their lawful collaboration in the economic advance of society, and the development of the sense of their responsibility for the realization of the common good.

  • 12
    2

    Dr Ali,
    .
    Long before GOTA became the PE nominee, a whole lot of people in this country, if they had some sanity, could think twice, but professionals, youth and all other were easily caught by the fake public perception inflated by MEDIA MAFIA net works (Derana TV, Hiru TV above all other printed media institutions).
    Ali Sabry was well known as the lawyer who constantly defended GOTABAYA from numerous court cases. So people should now be aware that Ali Sabry or the like are the ones that lived up their dreams – which is to become wealthy within shorter period of time, but indirectly being part of the huge loots, that Rajappakshes have collected over the years.

    Ground information already available should have been enough if people were wise to block GOTA becoming the president of island nation. Former EC who did not give a damn to do the job properly – in terms of respecting the requirements – Mahinda Dehshapriya is now acting like a crab in hot water, with a court case is upcoming against his irresponsible act in that decision. Bugger is now trying to be in good books- this can only be possible in MODAYAS dominated srilanka.

    • 5
      1

      LM, great comments! You are spot on “….MEDIA MAFIA net works (Derana TV, Hiru TV above all other printed media institutions)….”
      These media hell houses are the main reason why Rajapaksha gang became so powerful. Not only those scumbags like Dilith Jayaweera or Reno Silva but also Siri Ranasingha, the Editor of Lankadeepa and now dead and gone Bandula Padmakumara also played a huge role to bring in Mahinda and Gota and keep them in power. Particularly Siri Ranasingha is an equally corrupt, womanizer who financially benefited from the Rajapaksha mafia. And now Mahinda Deshapriya is playing the ‘victim tune’ trying to show us a cclean slate but he was another sh*t bag who purposely did not demand Gota’s citizenship eligibility to contest the Presidency, allegedly for a 20m deal under the table!!

  • 9
    3

    Dr. Amir Ali changed the color. He is saying Sabri, who became minister only by saving his master from his high crime lawsuits, now is trying honestly to save the country. If one second in his life Ali Sabri had thought honestly about the country, his boss would be in prison now. If Ali Sabri had thought about the people one second in his whole life, he wouldn’t be in the Cabinet, he would be standing in Galle Face with the lawyers, who are representing the protesters. Ali Sabri did things even Hakeem doesn’t want to do and has got two full cabinet status mister posts, for none of which he has qualifications. Hakeem trying to fire whoever voted for 20A from his Muslim gang organization, but it was Ali Sabri who drafted and installed. Ali did worse things than Badiudeen, by him now Old Rowdy and his sons are qualified lawyers and PhDs. But the honest and intelligent people, who can really serve the country or can take it out of this quagmire, are forced to stand in the line for a liter of gasoline. Amir Ali should not seek this difficult time to slip in foul promotions as the dirty Politicians are honestly trying. Some economists have predicted 15 years for the country to return to 2019. People need to know the truth now to join the protest.

  • 8
    7

    Sri Lanka will have to open its economy to another round of Western exploitation and domination. That’s IMF policy. There’s no other choice.

    • 5
      3

      Sarath,
      What economy? Please explain.

      • 6
        2

        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
          0

          Economy ? and we all now know who did what and who benefits.
          The future of a younger generations is only in their past.
          They glorify a cooked history to come into the present.
          Saffron religious leaders eat it quietly , the opportunists shout racism to be recognized
          Journalists, we know who is who ….a journo coolie with pen for hire is on his masters payroll.
          Living now in a democracy, where they chased the burghers first.
          Finally old boy gets his first time night school diploma and enjoys education and democracy in the foreign land. What kind of editor was he ? How pathetic can plight be ?
          If only he had a proper degree he could even be an Ambassador to his home country
          And where is that ….his guess is as good as mine.

      • 4
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        OC. At least last 20 years were Rajapaksas economy and they achieved what no one could in Lankan history.

      • 0
        0

        See the new information coming out lately on millions made by Namal, Nimal , Nadesan, Yoshitha, Basil … … Anyone who lends a penny to Sham Lanka must be out of their mind.

    • 3
      3

      It is already open Sarath.
      Look at the list of lending institutions. Look at the trading partners.
      See with what ease underhand deals with the US have gone through over the years.
      The bid is to tighten the grip. But it is not going to be easy as regional alliances are frail.
      *
      Why don’t you take heart from thew author’s forecast that Sabry’s optimism is misplaced. There is our only immediate hope.

    • 3
      1

      Didn’t Silly Lanka open it’s economy to Chinese exploitation and domination for two decades. That’s Rajapaksa policy/ economics. Was there other choice then ??

      • 0
        0

        Really!
        Can you give us some details of exploitation and domination?
        I can give plenty for other players near and far.

        • 0
          0

          Why don’t you look into your handheld mirror and get the information. Information keeps flooding on illegal deals between Rajapaksas and China. You do not support any of your comments with facts, other than your intricate details on long dead Lanka’s communism/LSSP and forgettable political history of Silly Lanka. . (none of which is of any use to revive Lankan economy). You just make superficial statements without real supporting facts. What Hussain said is pretty much a known fact to most of us. Except for you, I do not recall a single person here in CT , justifying the money spent on Chinese projects.( project may be, but not the cost). Even Sarath, I am sure will not agree with the cost. Not just that, many experts have written detailed articles on this matter. But it’s in your nature to refute facts, regardless of your knowledge. ( medicine, economics …..)

          • 1
            3

            Where was the exploitation?
            Could Hussain provide any data? You rushed to his defence without a valid answer.
            *
            Now you hide behind the wall of majority on CT?
            Even Gota claimed a majority behind him. Did it make him right?
            *
            Truth is not something voted upon.

            • 0
              0

              There is no reason for me to hide, when no sensible person, who will agree with your madeup cost effective study. I am not naive as you, to discredit and refute professional opinions outside of my field. .

  • 14
    0

    The root cause of SL debt is overpriced development projects by the family of thieves. SL needs to recover these assets and repatriate the looted overseas funds to pay off the outstanding debts. Rather than taxes.

    • 3
      3

      HF
      Can you please compare the prices, based on technical information.

      • 0
        0

        Why don’t you look into your hand held mirror, compare the prices, based on technical information and let us know ??

        • 0
          0

          Are you HF’s pathetic proxy?
          He made a claim, and he should back it up.
          If you seek to be proxy, please do on this behalf.

          • 0
            0

            “He should back it up” ( some thing similar to what you said to Ajith). This is not a classroom of yours and you are not a Professor here. Anyway students now a days seems much smarter, intelligent and well informed than their retired Professors.

            • 0
              0

              Not equipped to be a proxy?
              That is pathetic, Dr No0.

              • 0
                0

                Reading HF’s statement, it’s obvious he is someone who will not need any proxy. It’s you who need a sensible person to agree with your madeup cost effective study, amidst bankruptcy.

  • 4
    0

    Didn’t the former CB governor also say that everything is ‘cushty’ with friendly nations falling over each other to help us with cash & we have home grown remedies to overcome the financial crissis? I suppose Ali Sabry doesn’t want to be the harbinger of doom but we all know the situation, so he should spell out the strategy & recovery plan in detail to warrant credibility, not wishful thinking we have heard before.

    The entire lot, from Finance Ministers, including the ‘best in SE Asia’, CB Governors & the Presidents, with whom the buck stops, should be held accountable, in which case, Sabry can do well to start planning a defence now on behalf of his lord & master, which, I presume, he would be better at, or he himself will be included with the yobs that are responsible for bringing the country to its knees.

    • 5
      2

      Raj-UK
      “According to him the financial and economic difficulties facing the nation would be overcome in a month’s time with “soaring support” from international bodies and friendly nations.”

      I don’t know whether Ali-Sabry was brought into the government by Gota or whether he get into the Rajapaksas in his own contribution. Whichever is right he was part of this regime from the start where the government was developed policies like ministers for all Rajapaksas, and Fertilizer and chemical ban, printing of money, appointing of a Criminal Monk to OCOL Task Force, Pardoning murderers from prison, arresting Muslim politicians, human right activist and doctor under PTA, Sinhalese only Task Force for North East archeology and appointment of Basil as Prime Minister etc. Most of these ministers and its MPs have number of criminal records and corruption.
      So, He knows all these well and he helped or contributed them to cover up or encourage these criminals and corruptions against the people and country. In other words, blood on his hand.

  • 3
    2

    Is Dr.Ameer Ali suggesting that the double Minister Ali Sabry is laying the groundwork for Gota to have a go at the Aragalaya with the help of the Saffron Brigade, Business Moghuls and the Military.sooner than later?
    AliSabry painting a rosy picture of the Economy after his IMF trip is most probably directed for those non Aragalaya audience.which in any event is not sizable.

  • 4
    1

    When the crooks open their mouth, what comes out is the lie, the whole lie, and nothing but the lie. Sabry’s optimism is no different to Cabraal’s home-grown six-month road map which crumbled the moment it was uttered. Why do they say whole lies when they know full well what they say are impossibilities? That’s the definition of Dr Ali’s house slave. They are serving their masters, not the people who elected them, nor the country they took an oath of allegiance. Why do they do that when they know full well, things are fluid that their masters could be disposed off, tomorrow? This is the utmost slavish behaviour.

    SL will have salvation when at least a handful of her politicians and bureaucrats tell the truth as they are and make the people understand the problems/issues faced by the country and make them part of finding the solutions.

  • 0
    0

    They’ll hold on for the next two decades waiting for India to invest all its money of their struggling masses, into Port City (now that China is out). Big Rajapaksan plan. They knew it would all come to the sufferings at this time, but thought the Masses would still worship them with their eyes on the saving grace of Port City.

    2 decades will go by,
    still will we
    struggle,
    still will we
    starve,
    hoping and praying to,
    besieging and worshiping,
    the Rajapaksas of Port City!
    Never to question,
    Never to doubt.
    Or so, have they thought.

    Power to the People! 💪

  • 2
    0

    Ali Sabry is a crook and a con man. He put is client, the current Executive in office after committing an illegal act among other illegal acts. He is a typical Lowyer with no ethics who danced for money willing to say or do anything for his client. The international aid agencies should be cognizant of these facts when a delegation headed by this conman comes to talk money and borrowing lots of it. The other point the Donors need to understand is that Sri Lanka cannot get its act together and begin the repair process with the current looters in charge who refuse to resign. If any offer of help is genuine and not just a gimmick to curry favor with a crooked despotic regime then the first condition for lending one cent should be that the looters and kleptocrats step down and that includes Ali Sabry himself. So even terms for lending that would have been discussed is a useless waste of time because it would have to be renegotiated with the next bona-fide genuine finance minister.

  • 0
    3

    “There is no end to the long consumer queues in front of retail outlets to buy a few essentials and those queues are getting longer and longer. An eighth victim has been reported to have died while waiting to buy kerosine. There is scarcity in every possible consumer item and even the little available in the market is sold at exorbitant prices. Starvation, which never visited Sri Lanka in the past, is now knocking at the doors of thousands of households.”

    You will see this all over the developing world soon. Even Europe may have to ration natural gas, if Germany does not agree to pay for Russian commodities in rubles. The West was very stupid to sanction Russia. They are all hypocrites anyway, when brown people in Yemen face a real genocide (Western supported) for years, you hardly find media coverage. Syria is similar, the West and its Sunni allies destroyed that country. Now trying to bankrupt it through sanctions.

    • 4
      0

      Lester

      “You will see this all over the developing world soon. Even Europe may have to ration natural gas, if Germany does not agree to pay for Russian commodities in rubles.”

      Please don’t defend the most stupid racist and corrupt people.

      Sri Lankan people are not intelligent and they are the best b***s carriers that we have seen.

      • 3
        0

        Native , if that happens what will Lester do ?? If he is in Lanka, he may at least get rice and parippu, donated by India.

      • 3
        2

        “Sri Lankan people are not intelligent and they are the best b***s carriers that we have seen.”
        Oh, is that so? Then is that what they do for a living abroad?

    • 2
      0

      Lester,
      “You will see this all over the developing world soon”
      Really? Why has it happened here first? Are you saying it has nothing to do with a stupid President banning fertiliser on the advice of a stupid Buddhist monk?
      What is the connection between genocide and milk powder?
      Nice try.

  • 2
    0

    Most of our politicians and bureaucrats are loyal to their masters for payments received or prospective payments in the future, but totally disloyal to the people and the country whereas masters are loyal to themselves and their fiefdom, all the while keeping the populace on the edge by invoking the words that are made meaningless, freedom, sovereignty, Masters’ strategy worked for so long that they are blind to read the writing on the wall.

  • 1
    0

    Most of our politicians and bureaucrats are loyal to their masters for payments received or prospective payments in the future, but totally disloyal to the people and the country whereas masters are loyal to themselves and their fiefdom, all the while keeping the populace on the edge by invoking the words that are made meaningless, freedom, sovereignty, Masters’ strategy worked for so long that they are blind to read the writing on the wall. Why can’t the slaves read?

  • 3
    0

    Gota is basically a looser He ran in fear of the war. Returned when it was safe. Rata hadana wiruwa is a gong part. He is clueless. This minister fellow shabry was the minister of injustice suddenly becomes minister of financial mismanagement

  • 3
    0

    Ali is another bum sucker of the family. He is behind many criminal cases against the rogues to be withdrawn. He is not a patriot but a usual survivor. He was picked up by the family knowing too well that he can be manipulated and exploited. So his bull shit about IMF and WB is nothing unexpected. The current regime is not a legitimate government to begin with and how can this Ali thinks that he is going to come with billions in his pocket. Instead had he spoken to US officials to recover all the stolen wealth by the family and his cronies that would have helped the country and the starving millions. Who the hell is going to money to these guys. Even so is it enough to even pay the interests. Have these thieves changed their luxury lives or big talk? Still Gnana Acca and kali Amma and Thirupathiyan are running the country. All the top rogues are going around with that silly rathu nool around their wrists including the army commander hoping his soldiers wont turn their guns at him. Gnana Acca too is living in a bunker. Corrupt and fanatic Buddhist clergy complain their clout is taken over by Gnana Acca, Kali amma and other Hindu deiyos. So where is the constituitional gurantee to buddhsim as the utmost and protected at all costs.

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