6 December, 2022

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Budget 2023 Will Be The Acid Test Of RW’s Magic Wand

By W.A. Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is to present his maiden full budget for 2023 in Parliament this afternoon. A lone MP in Parliament representing the United National Party, he accepted the premiership in May 2022 when the incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned from the post after a popular struggle against his administration. He informed the Parliament and the nation that he accepted the position, when the others were reluctant, to rescue the country’s dying economy tapping onto his experiences as premier on five previous occasions.

Then, after two months in early July when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and tendered resignation from overseas, Ranil was sworn in as Acting President in terms of the provisions of the Constitutions. Soon after that, his position was ratified in Parliament with 134 votes in his favour. He very quickly took over the mantle of the Government, appointed a PM from the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Party or SLPP, formed a skeletal Cabinet from leading figures in SLPP, and invited the Opposition to join hands with him to rescue the economy as a government of emergency. When the response to this last request was in the negative, he filled the vacancies in the Cabinet with other members of SLPP, introduced an interim budget for the last three months of 2022, got an amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament, proposed a wide tax hike, and continued with the work already begun to seek a bailout package from IMF.

There had been several preconditions imposed by IMF for such a bailout like increasing tax revenue, reforming state-owned enterprises, Central Bank refraining itself from funding the budget, tightening monetary policy, making the Central Bank independent, working towards the generation of a surplus of 2.3% in the primary account of the budget by 2025, and restructuring the unsustainable foreign debt. His Central Bank Governor and the Treasury Secretary had been working hard on meeting these goals and attained a certain level of progress except the foreign debt restructuring issue. Ranil very confidently told the Parliament last week that Sri Lanka could hope to finalise the IMF bailout by the end of 2022 with India and China participating actively in the debt restructuring program.

This is the background to the presentation of the Budget for 2023.

However, Sri Lanka’s economy is still not out of the woods as admitted by the Central Bank Governor recently. The major macroeconomic issues are looming over the country. On the foreign exchange side, the usable foreign reserves have now fallen to a virtually zero level. The country cannot move back to a safe import program of essential items and raw materials. The shock treatment introduced by way of banning a significant volume of imports is still continuing, killing the economy’s ability to make a quick turnaround. The official consumer price inflation is high at around 70% with the increase in food items going at above 85%. But when the overall inflation, with prices of investment goods and export goods inclusive, as measured by Stephen Hanke’s inflation dashboard, it is above 115% per annum.

The high food inflation has threatened the food security of both low income and middle-income consumers. The food security is defined as the affordability and availability of a nutritionally balanced diet and the increases in prices have reduced the affordability side. Compounding the food insecurity issue, there is a shortage as well as cost increases of essential medicines crippling the country’s healthcare system. This is a major humanitarian crisis, and it should be resolved as quickly as possible to prevent street riots by angry crowds. The real economic growth is in the negative region with an estimated economic shrinkage of the GDP by about 9% in 2022 followed by a further shrinkage of 4.5% in 2023.

The Central Bank expects a meagre economic recovery of about 1.5% in 2024 with a forecast of similar growth rates in the next 3-to-4-year time period. The Central Bank is working on an estimated nominal GDP of Rs. 24 trillion in 2022, up from Rs. 17 trillion in 2021. But when this is converted to dollar purchasing power by using the current exchange rate of Rs. 370 per dollar, its value falls to $ 65 billion in 2022 down from $ 85 billion in the previous year. What this means is that the economy will recede to the level which it had in 2011 with a per capita income of $ 3,000.

To kickstart the economy growing from this depth and make Sri Lanka a developed country by 2048 as envisaged by Ranil is really a challenge. As a result, with slowing economic growth, Sri Lanka will have to remain a lower middle-income country for some time. In fact, the Cabinet of Ministers recently decided that even being a lower middle-income country is too much for Sri Lanka because it cannot have access to cheap funding from friendly countries and multilateral financial institutions like Asian Development Bank, International Development Association, and the UN System. It decided to request the World Bank to consider Sri Lanka as a low-income poor country for the purpose of securing such highly concessional and cheap loans. This does not mean that Sri Lanka will be downgraded to a low-income country in practice. If accepted, it will be regarded as low-income country for extending cheap loans.

Apart from this, there are several other critical issues looming over the Budget 2023. The foreign debt restructuring program has hit a snarl at this late stage. What is being proposed to restructure is only the borrowing from commercial sources and from friendly countries by the central government which has been estimated to be at $ 33 billion by the Ministry of Finance. This is only a fraction of the total foreign debt of the country which stands at about $ 80 billion.

Even if the commercial and friendly country loans are successfully restructured, Sri Lanka has a major foreign debt repayment issue due to the lack of foreign exchange to repay other types of foreign debt obtained from international lending institutions like ADB or World Bank, borrowing by state-owned enterprises like CPC, CEB, Water Board, and SriLankan Airlines, borrowing by the Central Bank and the financial institutions, and the borrowing by the private sector.

In the next 12-month period, the debt repayment obligations of the country as estimated by the Central Bank will amount to $ 5 billion. When the Central Bank’s obligation to pay the outstanding amount due to Asian Clearing Union at $ 1.9 billion is also included, this goes up significantly to $ 6.9 billion. Sri Lanka does not have foreign exchange to meet these obligations.

Apart from this, China which holds about 52% of the total bilateral loans by the central government has become a holdout lender in the country’s debt restructuring exercise. Sri Lanka should meet in London, known as the London Club, to negotiate its commercial loans and in Paris, known as Paris Club, to do the same for bilateral loans. China is a member of neither club. And its policy has been not to follow the normal debt restructuring that involves foregoing a part of the principal or interest or both – known as offering a haircut – but giving a new loan to the borrower to repay the old debt and restart it as new one in the books of the borrower, known as refinancing. If Sri Lanka’s other creditors find that arrangement unacceptable, the negotiations will come to a halt and so would the IMF bailout and its associated other benefits. That was why IMF, World Bank and other creditors have repeatedly warned the Sri Lanka Government that it should immediately get China on board in the restructuring exercise. I have in this column mentioned earlier that it will be a test of Ranil’s diplomatic skills to get China on board as expected.

Then, there are two other critical issues relating to debt and foreign exchange issues which will hamper his budget 2023. One is that the Treasury is not only empty but also overdrawn as far as the liquid funds are concerned. In terms of the Constitution, the Government operates through a cash flow account known as the Consolidated Fund. All the receipt of the Government through taxation, non-tax revenue, grants, and loan proceeds are credited to this account as resources. Then, expenses as approved by Parliament are debited to this account. Since these receipts and expenses are tallied in the budget, the Consolidated Fund should balance itself except for small surpluses or deficits that may occur due to the non-synchronisation of the flows. But over the time, they should be naturally eliminated.

But what is being experienced by the Sri Lanka Government is that the deficit in the Fund is rising month after month forcing the Treasury to finance it through temporary overdraft facilities obtained from the two state banks and a provisional advance from the Central Bank equal to 10% of the estimated revenue for the year. As such, the deficit which had been around Rs. 100 billion a few years back has now ballooned to nearly Rs. 1 trillion. With the Government revenue falling short of the estimates and the expenditure overdoing, the overdrawn state of the Fund is rising. The biggest challenge of the Budget 2023 is to eliminate this overdrawn position and make a new start with regard to budgeting of the country. That requires Ranil to use the current revenue to reduce the two overdraft balances from the two state banks that amounted to Rs. 840 billion at end-2021. With the expected meagre income level in 2023, this is an impossible task.

The other critical issue is the negative net foreign reserve position of the Central Bank. The Bank always had a net positive position with regard to its foreign reserves but from May 2021, they fell into the negative region first by small amounts but then in leaps and bounds in every passing month. Since action was not taken to correct it at that time, it began to grow from around a shortfall of about $ 25 million at the beginning to $ 4,500 million as at end of September 2022. Since the Bank has reported its gross foreign reserves at about $ 1,700 million, the total foreign exchange liabilities of the Bank can be estimated at $ 6,200 million.

This does not mean that the Central Bank’s overall position depicts a state of bankruptcy since it has a positive balance of domestic assets, in the form of loans given to Government and to commercial banks. But regarding its foreign involvements, it is a state of bankruptcy. Unless the Budget 2023 takes action to correct it immediately, the problem will be compounded in the period to come with no available facilities for correction. The Central Bank of the Philippines underwent such a trouble in 1993 and eventually was liquidated paving the way for the establishment of a new central bank with support from IMF, Government of Japan, and the US Treasury. This state of affairs within the Central Bank will not be viewed kindly by outside creditors.

Then, there is this domestic debt restructuring issue which is also peeping over the Budget of 2023. Previously, Sri Lanka’s domestic debt was not unsustainable and therefore, the issue did not arise. However, a debt unsustainability is a situation where a country can repay its debt and pay interest only by resorting to extraordinary measures and it is not left with an option except defaulting it. As long as the Government can borrow money from the market to service its domestic debt, its debt is sustainable. However, if it is unable to borrow from the market the entirety of its fund requirements and it must borrow from the Central Bank and the banking sector to finance it, its debt is unsustainable.

The Central Bank’s new management is trying its best to avoid this possibility by increasing interest rates and eliminating the new lending to the Government. But with increases in interest rates from 12% to 30% plus, the current success rate is not encouraging. If the foreign creditors ask for a domestic debt restructuring as well, it will be a death blow to the country’s financial system.

The Budget 2023 should address all these issues. With that only RW can show that his magic wand will be working.

*The writer, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    Budget 2023 Will Be The Acid Test Of RW’s Magic Wand

    The people was suppressed for their demand, and made envirment toxic

    Whatever calculation done for rescue he tax and place the restructure on this direction he will not recover from the victims who made the country bankrupt how does some parliamentarian have more then one passport to divert funds to other country The actions does not inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are not a leader. He has to get the people vote If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together

    • 4
      4

      Ranil is creating a Super ministry backed by Donald Lu and the US Special “Force’ to advance the IMF Dollar Debt Colonization project and s to ensure that US and its Corrupt Corporations take over and COLONIZE Lanka — in the World War 3 on China!
      When US citizen Basil Jarapassa was Minister of Economic Affairs too, he wanted to create a Superministry to push through the US MCC project but was stimied by court action and the Provincial Councils voting against the Divineguma Bill.
      Now the MCC program is back with the IMF Dollar Debt trap to colonize lanka and set up military bases.

    • 23
      10

      Dr. W.A Wijewardena

      “Budget 2023 Will Be The Acid Test Of RW’s Magic Wand”

      1) As a weekly columnist on the economy, banking and ‘good governance’ in the
      ‘Daily FT’ which claims to be “Sri Lanka’s only national business newspaper” is not your CREDIBILITY of paramount importance? You are also a regular contributor to ‘Colombo Telegraph’.

      2) You are a Former Deputy Governor of the CBSL said to have “initiated the setting up of Sri Lanka accounting and auditing standards as the Chairman of Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board from 2000 to 2008”.

      3) http://srilankaeconomicforum.org/weerakoon-wijewardena.html)

      (continued below)

      • 23
        10

        Dr. W.A Wijewardena (continued)

        4) In the context of Auditors/Chartered Accountants being the first and last line of defense against any form of financial corruption, could you please REVEAL why you ALLOWED the Sri Lanka Accounting & Auditing Standards Monitoring Board (SLAASMB) at the time you were its Chairman to send me its FARCICAL response after my COMPLAINT of the ‘Professional Misconduct’ by the Sri Lanka affiliates of Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Ernst & Young (EY) in the scandalous privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC) ?:

        “Whilst we appreciate the contribution made by the complainants, we are not in a position to keep the complainant informed of the progress of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation, as it would undermine our policy on releasing information to the public.”! (SLAASMB e-mail dated 28 November 2005).

        5) The COPE Report to Parliament dated 12 January 2007 as recorded in the ‘Hansard’ inter alia states as follows:

        “Ernst & Young auditors and PwC Consultants were directly involved in the said fraudulent conduct.”

        Amrit Muttukumaru

  • 7
    1

    Let us be realistic.
    There are no magicians but for a few good entertainers, and no economic magic wand.
    We have plenty of confidence tricksters with whom we are all too familiar.
    RW may perform a little better than feared for the national economy (but not the poorer sections) since expectations have fallen over the past decades and sunk in the years ’21-22.

  • 6
    1

    I am not an economist & international banking is beyond me but my understanding, as the solution for SL to come out of the current mess, is a bailout expected from the IMF & other Banks, such as, the ADB, on low interest rates. However, that aid is subjected to reforms, mainly, combating massive corruption, addressing loss making state owned enterprises, such as, Sri Lankan Airlines, increased taxation, as well as, debt restructuring, particularly, with China. RW is not an economist & has a track record of a failed leader, yet, wears the hat of Minister of Finance, apart from his responsibility as the President to steer the country out of the current crisis, so what has he done so far?

    SL borrowed from China at commercial rates, which got us into this mess in the first place, but China has so far been unwilling to discuss debt restructuring. Whether it was ignorance, stupidity, corruption or a mixture of all, shouldn’t those responsible held accountable & punished if found guilty? Then comes the question, what is the strategy for loss making state enterprises?
    As for corruption, the same bunch of corrupt yobs are in the bloated cabinet, enjoying perks & privileges & I wonder how many of them actually pay their fair share of tax.

    • 2
      3

      R-UK
      “SL borrowed from China at commercial rates, which got us into this mess in the first place, but China has so far been unwilling to discuss debt restructuring. “
      Is it so?
      Who own the bulk of the loan? What kind of loans were they? Why should a country owning just 10% of a loan (much of which was for for infrastructural and facilities development) bear the burden of borrowing from Euro-American loan sharks?
      If China yields to IMF pressure here, it will have to give in on many more development loans elsewhere.
      China is in principle not in favour of IMF loans and has no responsibility to offer relief only to keep the country perpetually indebted as in the case of other IMF victims. (See ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man’ by John Perkins, first published in 2004, with later revised editions).
      *
      Why will not those who push for IMF relief give a ‘helping hand’? After all all, the major private lenders are close to home.

    • 7
      1

      RAJ-UK,
      In the current context, who can do it better? As Manel once said it out loud, there is no one on my list who could save it better. RW must remove all that has been arbitrarily wronged by RAJAPAKSHE criminals. I have no idea, why our people still hold Rajakshes be respectful. In a far under developed country, their physical existence would no thave been guranteered looking at the manner, they have damaged to this nation.
      Just look at , Gotabhaya’s existence is not clear now. He is only first citizen who was removed by the same people as any leader of this country. The thugs also removed Mahinda’s Amuda, but the shameless booger’s greed for power was beyond his other ailments.

      • 5
        0

        Raj,
        Look how this withered man, the former Rajapaksa bedpan, is struggling in today’s news. Hiru TV is a huge fraudulent media organization and now how can their journalists criticize it?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeYs1bYGG3o

        Why are people helpless before such MEDIA institutions ?

        What do people know about the re-incarceration of Reno’s brother? Where is Duminda Silva today?

        Chamuditha reiterates, Wimal Weerawansa has a better read on Sri Lankan politics…this is how they marketed “total idiots” as the powerful politicians. .can you imagine?

        This is another good testimony that reveals the state of mainstream media in Sri Lanka.

      • 5
        0

        “Just look at , Gotabhaya’s existence is not clear now. He is only first citizen who was removed by the same people as any leader of this country. “
        Leelagemalli,
        Do you think that Gotabaya was removed by the Sinhalese people? Do you think the LTTE was defeated by Rajapaksas only? Sri Lankan people are very emotional and can be easily changed by Powerful propaganda by Powerful people or powerful countries. Our Political leaders are lead by external factors and they are only acting according to their own needs.

        • 1
          1

          Ajith,
          In a country where simple ideas don’t come easy, everything is possible. Imagine how they go out of their way to defend the misdeeds of “cricketer- Dhanushka”. They keep them hanging with conspiracy theories as far as their thinking abilities go. This is unique to “South Asian patient mentality”.
          However, I don’t think it is solely based on the external factor. Gotha did nothing but behave like an “inoculated rat in a lab” during the heavy days of the struggle, only to have to do with the instructions given to him by the American High Commissioner.
          Let me tell you, I never said that the Rajapaksa crushed the LTTE terrorists. It was collectivism and several other factors that led the LTTE to lose its operations in the country.

          • 4
            0

            leelagemalli,
            I don’t agree With the Phrase “Gotha did nothing” because Gota did lots such as the release of his friends who were committed murders against the decisions of the supreme court, appointed Task forces lead by racists and fundamentalists, appointed all family members as ministers etc.
            I didn’t say that you said that Rajapaksas crushed LTTE but Rajapaksas claimed themselves that they/ Gota crushed LTTE.

        • 0
          0

          Ajith,
          1. Do you think that Gotabaya was REMOVED BY THE SINHALESE PEOPLE?
          2. Do you think the LTTE was defeated by Rajapaksas only?
          3. Sri Lankan people are very emotional and can be easily changed by POWERFUL PROPAGANDA BY POWERFUL PEOPLE OR POWERFUL COUNTRIES.
          He only important thing that has happened is, the hibernation period and Use by Date (UBD) of GOTA, for an INTERESTED parties strategic thinking!!!???
          Who it is, your GUESS AS GOOD AS MINE!! TIME WILL REVEAL!! WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT!
          MY TAKE IS HE WILL MAKE A COMEBACK!!??
          BIG QUESTION, WHEN WILL IT HAPPEN, BIG QUESTION PRESENTLY UNANSWERED!!??
          WHEN THAT TIME BEHOVES!!??

  • 4
    1

    A fraud is a fraud is a fraud is a fraud …….. by whatever name ……….

  • 5
    1

    Raj ,

    I guess you know driving ! And I also guess you could be above 60 and have
    voting experience ! If all my guessing prove to be yes then , you don’t need
    to be an Economist to talk about our economy , and especially because we
    don’t have that much of a great Economy to go on splitting our hair ! All we
    do is , Borrow and waste in the name of spending .Waste happens mainly
    through Corruption , inefficiency , negligence and ignorance and please call
    it by any other name known to you and you could be the Economist ! Why I
    said about Driving was , in manual cars , you get normally five gears plus
    the Reverse gear . I don’t have to say where to use the Top gear but how we
    used it is , now obvious ! The world is now signalling us to go on Reverse !
    But remember , even to go on Reverse , you need fuel ! Now , we are spending
    to travel back to restart from where we started speeding up ! Economy made
    simple !

  • 3
    1

    “I have in this column mentioned earlier that it will be a test of Ranil’s diplomatic skills to get China on board as expected.”

    China is not a foolish country to accept our demands or fallen into the trap of Ranils’s diplomatice deals. We all know how Ranil gave 99 years deal to China for the loans given to Sri Lanka for Hambantota project. China knows well Ranil is a western sponsored Sri Lankan temporary President. One of the reasons for Ranil did not touch Mahinda & Gota because to get the support of China but how far China is going to trust Ranil who is an unelected President.

  • 10
    5

    This is a budget that the country needs regardless of the person delivering it. There seems to be a big problem with the writers and the readers in this blog. They don’t see things in terms of what is required but keep attacking the man who is presenting a solution. Do they have a better solution? Of course not. Lets look at one of the accusations, not recovering the stolen money. DO you even know if it was stolen? As a policy the Chinese government awarded kick backs to corrupt third world idiots to rope them in and prevent them from going to legitimate western lending organizations. They also had a no questions asked policy. Therefore there was no oversight of the money lent. Now, is any of this illegal? NO. What did the Rajapkashe’s do with the legitimate Chinese loan kick backs? They reinvested it right back in Sri Lanka. DO you know why? Because they know the international powers that be are watching them and therefore at the launch of any future attempt at recovering their money their assets can be frozen in foreign banks. So where in Sri lanka is this money hidden? In every single large corporation Medium and even small scale business using proxies such as the three Perera’s. If the money was yanked out many of the large Sri Lankan companies would collapse.

    • 5
      2

      Thiha,

      You are one of the most shameless apologists …….. for corruption in Sri Lanka I’ve ever encountered!

      “So where in Sri lanka is this money hidden? In every single large corporation Medium and even small scale business using proxies such as the three Perera’s. If the money was yanked out many of the large Sri Lankan companies would collapse.”

      This is load of bullshit ……… can you please please please elaborate how the companies would collapse? :))) ROFL ……… I bet you wouldnt!!!

      “They reinvested it right back in Sri Lanka. DO you know why? Because they know the international powers that be are watching them and therefore at the launch of any future attempt at recovering their money their assets can be frozen in foreign banks.”

      Is Nrupuma Rajapakse’s and Nadesen’s money discovered in Panama Papers invested in SL? :)))

      Buddy if you want to peddle bullshit find an audience from the few true believers still left from the 6.9 million!

    • 4
      1

      “Now, is any of this illegal? NO. What did the Rajapkashe’s do with the legitimate Chinese loan kick backs?”

      If you have been hired by Namal to whitewash Ranil’s disgraceful behaviour …… before accusing the writers/bloggers here at least make the effort to know what really went/goes on.

      If China lent $500 million and if $200 million went into Rajapakses’ pockets. Rajapakses stole Lakna people’s money. Because the kickbacks didn’t come out of Chinas pocket ……. the people have to payback $500 million + interest from their – now unbearable – taxes. That $500 million includes $200 million that the Rajapakses pocketed.

      Even if the money can’t be recovered, most of the Rajapakses should be in jail for bribery (If it’s effective or not, do you know there is a bribery commission? That indicates – as a policy – the government knows bribery is wrong.) ……… If Ranil can arrest all the petty criminals and the innocent (the guy who ate something from Gota’s fridge) …….. why not the Rajapakses? :))

      • 1
        0

        Nimal,
        “If Ranil CAN ARREST ALL THE PETTY CRIMINALS and the innocent (the guy who ate something from Gota’s fridge) …….. WHY NOT THE RAJAPAKSA’S? :))”
        The only and single unique answer that could be mustered is THEY ARE ‘KING MAKERS’ (KM), DULY ELECTED BY MAJORITY AND RW SITS ON HIS POWERFUL SEAT DUE TO “KM’s” GRACE!!??
        BLES ALL RW FOR DULY SERVING WITH UTMOST RESPECT, THE GRACEFUL KING MAKERS OF Sri Lanka, so well!?
        Fault the electorate if any need to be culpable and pray to almighty lord to correct the thinking of the ‘emancipated’ electors, at least at the next Presidential and General elections!!??
        Importantly, people MORE EDUCATED AND KNOWLEDGEABLE THAN THEMSELVES!!??
        IF NONE AVAILABLE FROM NOMINATIONS, AVOID VOTING OR SPOIL THE VOTES!!??
        SIMPLE!!

    • 4
      1

      Anonymous Thiha,

      I’m glad that nimal fernando has already shown you where to get off.
      .
      Let me provide a more pedestrian response to the questions that you have asked:
      .
      Before asking the first question, you have said that many of us “keep attacking the man who is presenting a solution.” You then ask: “Do they have a better solution?”
      .
      Why not allow some of us to answer your questions?
      .
      Don’t you see the question marks there? You have employed six question marks in all in that comment, and you want us to accept all YOUR and ETERNAL FAILURE Ranil’s answers.
      .
      What is Ranil’s age? Being lazy, I googled:
      .
      https://agecalculator.iamrohit.in/year/1949
      .
      The answer I got for him seems ridiculous owing to too many details (nimal knows Wittgenstein):
      .
      73 Years, 7 Months, 22 Days
      or 883 months, or 3842 weeks, or 26899 days, or 38734560 minutes, or 2324073600 seconds.
      .
      The fellow is just too old. Let him hand over to younger people.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (Never been to Germany – or any place outside Asia) National Identity Card Number: 483111444V)

      • 2
        2

        Dear readers,
        .
        I was caught up with commenting English pronunciation, here:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/midterm-us-politics-postterm-post-rajapaksa-politics/
        .
        I’m back here to make the “self-sarcastic” point here that I’m actually a few months older than Ranil. By the time most of us get to this age, we know that we can’t really work. Not a full-time job, anyway.
        .
        There can be exceptional persons, of course, but in most cases it’s best to make very sure that others are really agreed that you’re up to it. I know that I’m not. But in Ranil’s case it is only that captive audience of his..
        .
        I had saved quite a lot of word-processed continuation of my response to Thiha. Let me now put it all on below this comment.

      • 2
        2

        Thiha,
        .
        Do I think that I’m the answer?
        .
        If you’re a really clever guy, you would have calculated from my identity card number that my 74th birthday was ten days ago.
        .
        This is my current age: 74 Years, 0 Months, 10 Days or 888 months, or 3862 weeks, or 27038 days, or 38934720 minutes, or 2336083200 seconds.
        .
        So, I’ve disqualified myself.
        .
        Above this you will see a comment by my good friend, the Anonymous (to you) “leelagemalli”. He’s now got angry with me because (1) I don’t think the way that you and he think: that Ranil is a great and courageous man (2) that I don’t now criticise the Rajapaksas sufficiently (3) that I want him to support the NPP/JVP.
        .
        My answer to that is that I unsuccessfully opposed the Rajapaksas when it was most dangerous to do so:
        .
        This article appeared twelve days after the elections:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-the-presidential-election-free-and-fair-when-colombo-returning-officer-called-sajith-premadasa-the-son-of-a-donkey-asks-prof-hoole/comment-page-1/#comments

      • 2
        1

        It required required real courage for Jeevan Hoole to write that article. Responses: 110 in all. At that time it was not necessary for us to register names, and to log-in. I was writing under two names at that time, as you will observe, and I had two quite different gravatars. When the time came to register it may have been possible for me to register both, but I opted for the one that I now use because it was better known.
        .
        Some other (racist) fellow had responded on Page One, calling himslef “Panini”; the contents of that comment had puzzeld somebody calling himself DP. He had the courage to proffer me some good advice. I have responded with both my gravatars. This current system is much better.
        .
        I don’t know why nimal fernando had not commented. He ought to see our request, and will probably send in some witty response. He’s brilliant, but I have no email address for him. He presents us with a strange persona, but he’s an honest man.

      • 2
        2

        This is where the problem with “leelagemalli” started. I had asked him about four times now, and I’m asking again. Not content with this, I will email him as well. The email was sent about ten hours ago. No response. Yes, I have contact details for him. Why don’t you tell Ranil that he has an absolutely committed and honest admirer in “leelagemalli”. As honest as nimal, me, Native Vedda and Dr W.A. Wijewardena, and even Amrit Muttukumaru who is critical of “Wije”. See the comments which are currently Third and Fourth, above.
        Wije gives his email address after every article.
        .
        Please find this article:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/economy-suffers-with-few-people-acting-on-the-slogan-sri-lanka-is-ours-and-not-theirs/comment-page-1/#comments
        .
        Please locate this, at the bottom of page 1:
        .

        SJ / March 12, 2018

        The title is funny.
        It will be great if “few people” acted in an undesirable way.
        .
        Wije had made a mistake by not saying “a few people”.

        • 1
          1

          Dear neutral readers,
          .
          Unfortunately, SM will not change his nature. It’s threatening to me and others, but CT readers will see right through.
          This “Sinhala man” is speaking for us. We are not impaired, however he continues it for us. He is used to twisting anything in his favor. It is associated with a “psychological problem not unusual for the island nation”:
          How does he know what kind of opinion we hold? His assumptions are completely off. He is definitely a psychopath, looking back.
          In fact, if I don’t add mine to any of his ludicrous comments, he always feels he is being ignored. I’m not retired, he’s tied to the CT around the clock. If this man has a brain the size of a needle head, he could correct hmself, instead he has been telling you how his family, how his wife, children etc….. what a nonsence ? why should I spend my precious time for a his incoherent comments ?

          tbc

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            2/
            Whenever I return home from a long day’s work or go to work, I comment CT articles. I have been praising UVINDU and his team for the last 10 years or so. He knows it well, but I really don’t understand why UVINDU’s team allows Sinhala man or such stupid pensioners to waste his web space without responsibility. There is no doubt that the Sinhalese man must have thought that the CT web space was the pages of his diary. My father used to write his diary… it was found in his room after his death.

            Additionally, I have shared dozens of instances where I agree with Manel Fonseka or similar regular commenters on her/their views on the current context rather than criticizing RW. JVP people are repeatedly abusing Bandarwella joker without any valid reason. He doesn’t see that it has anything to do with his lack of information. He cannot speak Sinhala and does not understand good Sinhala. So how can he or the like study JVP ideology ?

            tbc

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              3/
              i am just another sirlanken only, but if one would question me, I don’t think RW would ruin it going beyond Rajapakshes, the most important thing was his intervention in settling the “cooking gas issue” that killed innocent people across the country. Experts repeat srilankebn media are a scam. So in this context, truths would not be in new headlines. That is no wonder.
              Another serious problem was that the serpentine queues of fuel collection were settled to some extent, but Gotabha had the same or additional resources and destroyed the country by not being able to solve even the small problems of the people. In a civilized country, people would have cornered the Rajapakshes alonne for what they did during the last 2 years. However, MEDIA is the biggest threat standing agianst truths in this GOD PUNISHED land.

              Ironically, the people who brought Gotabaya and many others in the population respect RW even though some of the idiotic sections discredit him for ordinary tactics.
              It is becoming clear that the Sinhala man does not grasp the little about the JVP politics, which has not been brought to this country for the last 30 years.

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    Thiha ,

    Ranil may be any mother’s son , but the simple truth here is , He is rejected by the
    General Public of the Country and he is sitting where he is today thanks to the
    people who are not Armed and Thanks to the Government that is Armed ! Not
    because anything else ! Why waste time talking more complicated matters ?
    Haven’t you ever seen Decorated Beggars going round the world and meeting
    other leaders , spending a lost nation’s remaining few Cents and Rupees ? Waste
    no time , spot the man !

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      Why Why@
      RW was rejected by the people, ironically the Gota `s representatives in Parliament voted for Ranil, after Gotabhaya was chased out of the parliament by the very people.

      And don’t forget, most of them supported Gota’s 20th Amendment were the supporters of 21st Amendment in opposition to Basil Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya’s brother who has dual US citizenship.

      Isn’t this a wonderland on earth? Or blame stupid people?

      It should not be forgotten that those who stood up against Dr. Safi and called his “surgical sterility of women” were just a myth as indicted by the island nation’s courts.
      DR SAFI set a great example by donating his salaries for 3 years (4 millions of rps) to purchase medicines for the people including whole lot attacked him in that racial event.
      …… this is happening in a country where the whole lot of people are called “Sinhala Buddhists” ?????

      Last but not least, the main stream media in this “wonderland” care little about the actual headline news, but they are still after the Rajapakse criminals and their henchmen.

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