28 September, 2020

Blog

Economic Statement

By Ranil Wickremesinghe

With regard to the current state of the economy and the Way Ahead, I would like to recall the speech I made in the House on the 05th of November 2015.

We can once again become the resplendent nation we were under Manawamma and Parakramabahu. But it is a path that must be pursued with determination, commitment and patience. Only then can we create the country that we can confidently pass on to the future generations.Ranil 28 07 216 Pic by PM's Media

At the time I made the statement last year, I affirmed that our collective economic journey requires revolutionary thinking, bold policies and initiatives that would transform Sri Lanka into a vibrant and prosperous nation. The National Government started work on a sound footing – by increasing the actual wages of the public sector including those of general workers. This process stimulated domestic demand and addressed the imbalance in income levels, the economic legacy inherited from the previous regime.

However, we acknowledge that much more needs to be done. We aim to enhance the income potential of Sri Lankans on a faster trajectory. During the last 60 years, Sri Lanka has not kept pace with the South-east Asian nations and has been only barely ahead of our South Asian neighbours. Doubling our current level of per capita national income from USD 4000 to USD is no magic trick – rather, it is setting in motion a planned effort to grow at a faster rate. If we continue to grow at our current rate of 5% per annum we will only double our personal income levels by 2033.

We can double our personal income levels by 2025 if we set in motion a growth rate of 7% per annum. This rate was achieved in the aftermath of the war in 2009 but the momentum brought on as a dividend of peace did not last.

In 2012, it went down below 5% per annum. Private businesses were nationalised while local and foreign investment dried up. Heavy state borrowing for economically non-viable state sponsored projects did not leave any funds for private investors to borrow from the banks.

In 2015, we have addressed the inequality in income distribution at a national level. Consequently, we have been able to uplift the income levels of low income earners and public officials. At the same time, tax levies are being imposed on affluent groups to fund higher wages and minimize government borrowing.

Along with The IMF, The World Bank and The Asian Development Bank, lending institutions of the US, Europe and Japan have expressed their willingness to lend Sri Lanka funds at considerably low rates of interest ; these funds would enhance and strengthen the economy. The last time such funds were made available was between 2001- 2004, when I was the Prime Minister. Today,

President Maithripala Sirisena and I have been able to successfully revive such funding sources towards assisting Sri Lanka.

For centuries, Sri Lanka’s location in the heart of the Indian Ocean between Western and Eastern Asia has made us active partners of inter-regional trade. The strategic importance of Sri Lanka as an Indian Ocean hub in the realm of global logistics and commercial activities has been widely acknowledged.

In this context, the foundation for a more sustainable economic model has been laid already, enabling us to recover from the inward looking economic policies of the past. Our exports with a value of USD 11 billion are contracting while garment exports remain static at USD 5 billion per annum. The garment industry will see a revival when GSP+ returns – we have already set in motion the process towards it being obtained once again.

Agricultural exports have declined as a result of prices for tea and rubber slowing down. It must be noted that in the plantations sector, some of the companies are being run well while others not so.

The Government plans to restructure the regional plantations companies by infusing new capital and introducing efficient enterprises.

Our export base has remained the same for over 30 years and is dependant on a narrow export base of garments, tea, rubber, gemstones and tourism. The economy cannot experience growth based on such limited exports.

A key economic contribution in the form of remittances from the Middle East remain volatile as oil prices fall and countries like Saudi Arabia are reducing the salaries of their own citizens. This will pose a new challenge to Sri Lankans employed in the Middle East.

As the global economy struggles to recover, Sri Lanka has been able to successfully navigate amidst changing economic dynamics, maintaining a prudent domestic economic level of growth.

The Government has encouraged the people living abroad and in Sri Lanka to invest in construction, which has resulted in a construction boom.

Sri Lanka is seeing a staggering growth in tourist arrivals as our image as a safe and a friendly tourist destination is growing rapidly. In the aftermath of a decade of neglecting markets, major international airlines and hotel chains are once more entering a vibrant Sri Lankan market.

We are now ready to enter the next and the most important phase of economic activity, that of creating new and productive jobs and livelihood for the young people. The creation of 1 million jobs will empower the youth and enhance their standard of living.

We need to sustain a higher rate of growth for the plans to succeed , one that will result in higher exports and a greater domestic demand. Such growth will also increase state revenue. As I mentioned last year, a drop in government revenue and an increase in commercial debt to its upper limits can have a drag effect on the economic development.

Achieving a high level of growth in exports need major capital infusion and greater investments. New technological innovations, better management of data systems and up-to-date market information systems are needed to achieve better results.

During the Eighties, having decided that outsourcing was a better option, Japan was reviewing moving operations to Thailand and Sri Lanka. The Japanese delegation to Sri Lanka arrived at the height of July 1983 riots and needless to say, we lost the opportunity to Thailand which obtained investments to the value of 50 Billion USD. There was a spillover of US Dollars 13 Billion into Malaysia as well.

As the then Minister of Industries I focused on promoting industrialisation. At the time, Vietnam has opened up as a market economy model and came to Sri Lanka for advise. Unfortunately, as the war progressed, we stopped pursuing industrialisation in 1997. Vietnam continued to engage in industrialisation.

Sri Lanka’s total export stood at US Dollars 1.9 Billion in 1990. Vietnam’s exports were worth US Dollars 2.4 Billion. Today, 25 years later, Sri Lankan exports have climbed to US Dollars 10 Billion while Vietnam retains exports valued at US Dollars 162 Billion, most of it based on manufacturing.

In 2003, as the then Prime Minister, I set in motion the application process for GSP+ , subsequently concluded by President Chandrika Kumaratunga. While Bangladesh also enjoyed concessional entry into the EU markets, Sri Lanka lost the GSP+ incentive in 2010.

In 2003, the Textile and Garment sector in Sri Lanka stood at US Dollars 2.5 Billion, while in Bangladesh, it was US Dollars 5.2 billion. Last year our exports went up to US Dollars 4.8 Billion while Bangladesh stood at US Dollars 26.6 Billion.

We must understand that in order to grow out of being a poor, backward country, we need to focus on large scale FDIs and accelerate growth.

Towards this direction, the Government plans to create a positive investment climate that will generate jobs. Hurdles that stand in the way of achieving growth for business start-ups will be removed. The processes of starting a business, getting construction permits, electricity connections and bank credit, registering property, protecting minority investors, the payment of taxes, trading across borders, the enforcement of contracts, the resolution of insolvency, and regulations governing labour market will be efficient mechanisms that will facilitate business growth. Additionally, the Government will also prepare legislations to establish a single window for investment approval. Further, we will hold discussions with the Trade Unions and relevant stakeholders. The targeted outcome is to bring Sri Lanka within the top 70 nations of the Doing Business Index by 2020.

We plan to build on these strengths and initiate plans for a logistical and business centre in the Indian Ocean. With this in mind, we have started developmental work on 3 international ports and airports, providing efficient connectivity within the region.

A new set of investment incentives based on Capital Allowances and low tax regime will be introduced; the details will be announced in the Budget

We plan to repeal The Export and Import Control Act and bring in new legislation on the lines of Singapore’s (a) Regulation of Imports and Exports Act and (b) Strategic Goods Control Act.
Current domestic market enterprises also have a greater role to strengthen the economy – in addition to expected Direct Investments of local and foreign origin. They too can add to export volume.

The Government will assist them to connect to the Global Value Chain by introducing a Trade Adjustment Package which will include Capital Allowance for new equipment.

Concurrently, we are reviewing the growing interest of local and foreign business concerns towards solving the twin problems of low private investment and the accumulation of vast debts by the Government.

As you are aware, during the last year, HE the President Maithripala Sirisena and I have travelled to key destinations with an objective of reviving the interest in Sri Lanka. We have met with success.

During my recent visit to Brussels, the officials of the European Commission expressed their confidence that the GSP Plus trade concession would be given favourable consideration. The Japanese Prime Minister has also appointed a senior official to especially coordinate Japanese Sri Lanka Joint Comprehensive Partnership Programme.

Towards creating newer markets for our exports, we are also negotiating three trade agreements; ETCA with India, and two FTAs with China and Singapore.

These are significant developments even as these two large economic regions struggle to maintain economic momentum in their domestic markets, which have been traditional export destinations for our businesses.

Most of us thought that our next generations would have to pay the debts incurred for Hambantota port and Mattala airport. Now, we have entered into a debt to equity swap. Chinese investors have made significant commitments to invest equity in the debt strapped Hambantota Port and the Mattala Airport as PPP ventures.

The Government plans to receive sufficient funds to offset these debts. You can now be assured that your children will not have to pay these debts but can reap the benefits of a dynamic, international air-sea hub.

Strong interest in utilizing these zones along with other such zones in the western province have been noted by investors from China, Korea and Japan. They plan to create an export market focused on Europe, China, Japan and USA and the crescent of markets around the Indian Ocean. Between the Middle East, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia there exists a fast-growing population currently of over 2 billion people. This combined market has the potential of 3 billion consumers by 2050.

Going forward, our development strategy will be aimed at capturing trading opportunities within these identified Indian Ocean markets via pursuing trade liberalisation agreements with their governments. Concurrently, we are focusing on defining the two development corridors across the country – this will be a focal area for investment by the public and the private sector.

The logistical and infrastructural facilities that provide faster, secure links to the global value chain empowering viable business ventures, will be spearheaded for the first time in Sri Lanka, in these development corridors.

The two development corridors will correspond to the two distinct halves of the country irrigated by the two monsoons. The South-Western corridor will have as its major axis the proposed Kandy-Colombo highway linked to the existing Southern highway. This region has the strongest potential to link up with global value chains, because of its close proximity to the Katunayake airport and the Colombo harbour. This project envisages creating a Megapolis Development Authority to develop the entirety of the Western Megapolis an urban area of over 8 ½ million people.

A brand new financial city centre that will be based at the new reclaimed land development project alongside the Port of Colombo.

A sub-corridor that will stretch along the central highlands from Kandy via Nuwara Eliya to Badulla and linked to the Kandy-Colombo highway. This will connect the revitalized plantations economy and modernized agricultural pursuits and will also lay emphasis on tourism and service delivery initiatives.

The second North-Eastern development corridor will connect the Eastern Province and the North Central Province to Jaffna linking the Trincomalee Port City to the Rajarata. The completion of the Moragahakanda and the Malwatu Oya reservoirs will create new vistas for the country and will result in the region gaining more land for agriculture. It will further result in the historic cities of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura emerging as modern urban centres. Trincomalee will be urbanized and transformed into a world-class Port City.

Reconstruction of housing and civic infrastructure will be given highest priority within the previously war-affected areas around Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

While the priority remains economic stimulation and the improvement of individual finances, the plan also focuses on establishing a society in which every citizen has access to equal opportunities and individual rights are safeguarded – this includes the right to shelter. The Rural Housing Loan Programme, Urban Regeneration Housing Programme, Estate Housing Programme and Resettlement Programme are being implemented with focus on vulnerable groups. Plans are underway to construct 500,000 housing facilities for the middle-class to meet the rising demand for housing in urban and suburban areas, 65,000 houses for the urban underserved population, 65,000 houses for internally-displaced people in areas previously affected by conflict, and to fulfill 65% of the estate housing requirement by 2020.

I must emphasise at this juncture that we are committed to the sustainable development goals adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015. Our development of industry, services and agriculture will be guided by these principles. For instance, when we develop 15,000 acres of free trade zones in the South, we will undertake reforestation of unutilised lands in other parts of the country. Similarly, we are finding solutions to the overwhelming problem of solid waste disposal in our major cities. This is a hazardous situation affecting the lives of thousands of people , one left unchecked by the last government.

We are going ahead with schemes that provide safe drinking water to the communities in need of such projects around the island ; we are also seeking to improve treatment of waste water. The pristine status of our natural environment remains our most precious resource and has been praised by visitors throughout the centuries. We pledge to take utmost care to preserve our natural resources and our heritage within all our development efforts. The economic vision of the National Government will yield prosperity for all Sri Lankans. It is an economy that will share the benefits of development among all. One that will be friendly to all, beneficial to all, keeping its focus on including sustainable development as well.

What we are hoping for is a lawful economic environment that will set the stage for sustainable development. We will incorporate a sustainable development entity that will provide the necessary framework and initiate mechanisms required. I called this the third generation of economic reforms. The first generation was introduced by President Jayewardene, the second by President Premadasa. What is now envisioned by us here, is based on multifaceted economic linkages to global supply chains and the planned increase in trade development. Many qualified people prefer well-paying jobs that are given based on professional capabilities. It is not viable to maintain a low paying production based economy.

These developments will result in the creation of one million jobs and the expansion of the middle-class; a nation in which the farmers prosper and every child has access to education. Our end goal is prosperity for everyone. Every citizen must enjoy the benefits of living in a wealthier nation. This also includes the realization of the basic rights of every citizen – principally, housing. We view this as the first step towards ensuring total social inclusion, followed by measures to promote inclusive involvement in the economy, especially for women, while improving facilities for differently-abled persons to integrate into society and pursue their life goals with normalcy.

BUSINESS AND SECTORIAL PRIORITIES

Sri Lanka has evolved a variety of distinct economic sectors, which are capable of further integrating the country’s economy into the Global Value Chain. The digital economy, tourism and commercial agriculture are coming of age concerning their potential to offer high-value skills and remuneration to young job seekers in the country. With the new economic orientation that will include fewer opportunities with the government and more exposure and opportunities for entrepreneurs and skilled professionals, we aim to accelerate the broad basing of opportunities in these segments – the digital economy, tourism and commercial agriculture.

THE DIGITAL ECONOMY

The digital economy will empower our nation – through providing affordable and secure Internet connectivity to every citizen in any part of Sri Lanka, removing barriers for cross-border international trade. A platform for cashless payments will also be created. Digital technology will be included as a new subject in the school curriculum. We plan to foster entrepreneurship opportunities in digital commerce while providing training in cyber security monitoring and response.

MODERN MANUFACTURING ECONOMY

We shall strive to attain the status of a modern manufacturing economy that will include state-of-the-art equipment.

We plan to overcome the bottleneck of being a middle-income country with low wages in our pursuit towards greater prosperity for our people.

STATE-OWNED ENTERPRISE (SOE) REFORMS

We will establish a Public Commercial Enterprise Board by law an organization that will manage SOEs enabling them to be more efficiently run on a commercial basis ensuring value for money. We are creating a Public Wealth Trust through which the shares in state-owned entrepreneur enterprises will be held in trust for the people.

FINANCIAL INCLUSION

With the passage of the Microfinance legislation in Parliament early this year, rural microfinance is now a legitimate activity. Urgent measures are being undertaken to link foreign microfinance providers with local communities to promote greater credit penetration in rural areas. The Ministry has already allocated five billion Rupees for a special SME financing scheme to empower business formation and development. A National Financial Inclusion Policy will be evolved by the Central Bank to set quantitative targets for opening of accounts, disbursement of SME loans etc. To enable this, we will be consolidating rural development banks (RDBs). Rural Development Banks have become the main channel for concessional lending to Small and Medium Enterprises. Their decentralized management structure is reinforced with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, through its newly created regional departments. We seek to initiate a nationwide campaign to encourage banking and endow a spirit of entrepreneurship among all.

TOURISM

The plan to make Sri Lanka a high value destination is on the cards. It will herald in prosperity that will showcase our cultural pursuits, wild life and the environment via provinces developed as unique tourist hot spots. We believe that Sri Lanka will be one of the finest travel experiences for the global traveller.

MODERNIZING AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

It takes over a decade to modernize the sectors of agriculture and fisheries. We plan to establish a Rural Modernization Board, which will include all stakeholders. Fisheries and Poultry will be the first categories to be promoted for exports.

The difficulties faced in the tea and rubber industry will be reviewed. The Government will restructure the plantations sector to invite new capital and eliminate inefficiency.

NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL MARKETING AUTHORITY

Marketing of agricultural products is the most important link between the producer and consumers. We will establish a fully empowered National Agricultural Marketing Authority to coordinate the marketing of agricultural products, and develop existing markets, transport and storage facilities. In addition, new infrastructure facilities such as cool storage will be added at a divisional and regional level, for preservation of food before or after purchase. Providing large storage facilities for purchasing and storage during the harvesting season is an essential pre-requisite for implementing a guaranteed purchase price. It is planned to create 250 ‘polas’, farmer markets island-wide for farmers to bring their produce to local markets.

UPDGRADING HUMAN CAPITAL

The country’s current education system, particularly the higher education system, is being recalibrated to produce graduates who will meet the skill and knowledge requirements of the corporate sector. We will ensure a culture where job-oriented skill development will take precedence over the passing of exams, while introducing more real-life vocational situations and simulations to the curriculum.

INCREASING FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN THE ECONOMY AND GOVERNANCE

The Government is committed to creating good and safe working conditions through sufficient investments and promoting entrepreneurship to create quality and high paid jobs in the country while targeting to increase the female labour force participation rate to 40% by 2020. It is also acknowledged that female-operated Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) could well cater to the demands of the rising middle class, which is important to Sri Lanka now given the country’s move towards an upper middle-income economy. The Act has reserved 25% of representation for women in local authorities.

RECREATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE

In addition to the recreational parks developed around the country, life enrichment projects are underway to introduce recreational spaces in every province, complete with synthetic athletic tracks and Olympic-sized swimming pools.

EDUCATION

13 YEARS OF COMPULSORY EDUCATION

A fresh policy initiative for making 13 years of education mandatory is now in place.

A pilot project on providing 13 years of mandatory education will commence next year. Those who do not pursue higher education after O/Ls will be trained under an upper Secondary Vocational Education system. We will recruit teachers and instructors required for this purpose as well as enhance the additional number of teachers needed to fill the cadre requirements for the next three years. Our focus will be on ensuring that there will be no teacher shortages by 2019 and ensure all schools will have complete cadre. We will bring in a law for providing separate cadre for every school.

We will also commence school inspectorate to ensure that high quality levels are maintained in teaching. School boards consisting of parents, staff and past pupils will work towards maintaining high standards.

We will also commence a pilot programme to provide tablet PCs to all post O/L students.

Development of school infrastructure will be given to those needing to build capacity for new intake of students.

PROMOTION OF PRE-SCHOOLS AND DAY-CARE CENTRES

A five-year programme focusing on early child development (ECD) has been launched for improvement of systems and quality, to enhance the overall effectiveness and increase the enrolment of children for ECD programs. Early childhood development is not only meant for pre-school education, but includes interrelated segments such as health, nutrition, psychological condition, child care, probation and protection which are also essential components that will be considered in ECD.

EMPLOYMENT

In order to overcome the mismatch between skills acquisition and employment, we plan to empower young people without skills needed for employment, by providing them with additional training opportunities.

We will pool the services of Government and private sectors and utilize the Government network of state affiliated training institutions for this purpose. The accelerated Training and Employment programme will be a Public Private Partnership. The Government will make funds available both for training as well as supplementing the income of trainees in the Private Sector. This scheme will start in 2017 and will be fully operational in 2018.

HOUSING

The Government plans to construct 500,000 housing units for middle class and the working class, which will give them house ownership at a subsidized rate. These will be in the form of successful private-public partnerships and will be private sector driven. These will be based around vital nerve centres such as emerging cities, while encouraging the concept of sustainable urbanization; thereby strengthening the Government’s socio-economic pursuits and sustainable development goals.

The Budget proposal will include detailed information on these initiatives.

Today, what the economy needs is not more governance but to achieve a goal of prosperity that can happen via the liberation of the economy. The first generation of economic reforms introduced in 1978 set the country free from the ill effects of a closed economy. Today before us is the challenge of introducing the third generation of economic reforms. We have the potential to become Asia’s next economic success story if only we can face those challenges successfully.

A booklet that contains detailed information on the planned economic measures will be made available soon.

Mr. Speaker,

In the past, Sri Lanka has missed many opportunities to achieve truly viable economic success. We cannot let the opportunity before us slip once again. That’s why we must be able to comprehend the current global conditions and make the best use of our strengths, utilizing it successfully towards emerging an economically robust nation.

All of us may have personal opinions and different political affiliations but we as a nation must be able to rise above it all, to come together to take our country forward.

We have the best opportunity for that under the National Government.

We cannot hold the past accountable for not going forward into the future. There’s no use in shedding tears over the wrong economic pursuits of the past. Instead, we need to focus on the path forward, on our ability to compete successfully in a dynamic global market place and carve out our niche among the prosperous nations of the world.

The future generations will depend on us for choosing the right economic path. As a nation committed to sustainable development and success, only then can Sri Lankans become the empowered citizens of an economically sound nation.

PRIME MINISTER’S ECONOMIC STATEMENT IN PARLIAMENT ON 27TH OCTOBER 2016

 

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Latest comments

  • 11
    20

    Good dreams. There are others who have better alternatives.

    • 23
      2

      “”With regard to the current state of the economy and the Way Ahead, I would like to recall the speech I made in the House on the 05th of November 2015″”

      15th January 2015 India swapped $1.5 billion for SLR’s.then CB bankrolled $10 billion bond etc. now you need $4 billion and in January $4.5 billion.
      (a helping hand to avoid devaluation)
      #
      Greedy old rouges royalist lied and stole the vote but not to ditch the people- Just resign gammya and go beck to your village kapurala colombo is not your uncles vasthuva of CBK’s panduva.

      As leader of opposition Ranil wriggled like satin and silk about the economy.
      Ranil wriggled once more with the Chinese after paying them the cancellation fee and pawning more land on lease as if that was election pledge.
      Economist is outdated political school drop outs like oracle who is clueless about exports and imports perhaps his mother, sister, wife are in the middle east slave market
      Ranil admits to Forbes he does not know anything.
      Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, rattle and shake
      Wiggle like a big fat snake

      Why is no one seeing the credit crunch coming?
      Wiggle—you can raise the dead with an extended begging bowl.

    • 1
      4

      Such as the Gonbas Rajapakshes eh?

  • 20
    25

    Sri Lanka’s largest source of foreign income remains the remittances of unskilled workers employed overseas . A major part of the local work force consists of unskilled,unregulated three wheel drivers .The government employs thousands of graduates in dead end,unproductive jobs. Everything looks very rosy on paper, but only politicians and their henchmen seem to thrive in Sri Lanka.

  • 18
    15

    “The future generations will depend on us for choosing the right economic path”

    Is the path that the PM is laying down the right path? Are we going to chase a mirage? Isn’t the Singapore model rather outdated nnow? We are in the 21st century, which is evolving differently! Is Sri Lanka the same it was, when Singapore embarked on its path of development? We could have done a Singapore then, can we now? We do not have the Human Resources, educational skills and of course the national character to repeat that experiment. We stand a nation that missed many opportunities and now stands stranded forelonely on a wild stretch of road hoping for the gravy train.

    We are perversely preoccupied with our mythical past and a disgraceful present. We have not learned lessons from our past and are sinking deeper and deeper into very deep quagmire.

    Should aspects of the Bhutanese economic model be more appropriate for Sri Lanka, where we will cut our clothes according to the cloth we have and live within our means, without aspiring fort goods and services we cannot afford? What do middle income and high income mean for our country? These numbers are only averages that show that the poor are getting poorer in terms real income and savings,and the rich are getting filthy rich with mostly ill-gotten wealth.

    Someone big and mighty has suggested that we should cut our trees and capture and sell our wild elephants to settle our debts! What a brilliant idea from a White Elephant we have fattened for long years! Such ideas abound and will be sooner or later implemented as we are playing games with a past we know little of.

    If we wage a no bars hold war on bribery and corruption, our economic circumstances will substantially improve . It will be a miracle we will see happen. However, our President does not want to touch the big sharks, because his conscience hurts!

    ( The rambling thoughts of an old man)

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 2
      9

      “Should aspects of the Bhutanese economic model be more appropriate for Sri Lanka….”

      You are not serious?
      Firstly we should acquire a King.
      Secondly we should become a neo-colony of the big neighbour.
      Thirdly we should un-educate ourselves of all things modern (both good an bad).
      Fourthly we should severely depopulate the country. (That we can do with planned communal violence.)

      • 1
        8

        Sekera,

        Why are you reaching these extreme conclusions. Bhutan has taken care to preserve natures bounty and an economy that is sustainable. It’s political system is also more democratic than ours. On the UN happiness index Bhutan scores much higher than Sri Lanka.

        Dr.RN

        • 1
          7

          Sekera,

          Please find below a very detailed report on the rankings and parameters that go into computing the World Happiness Index:

          http://worldhappiness.report/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/03/HR-V1Ch2_web.pdf

          I think even the PM should read it to understand that many other parameters matter to humans than per capital incone, GDP and GNP. Please look at Bhutan’s and Sri Sri Lanka’s rankings.

          Bhutan adopted the early versions of this index, using principles underscoring Buddhism, under directions of her Prime Minister.

          Let us pause to think where we should be going, before it is too late.

          Dr.RN

          • 1
            6

            Dr.Narendran

            i think one of the reasons srilankans are so unhappy is because the incomes are not enough to meet their basic needs. if you look at the first 40 in the happiness index only guatemala is hving per capita income on PPP basis, less than srilanka,and is ranked 39.

            Can you ask ranil to give us some funds so that you and i can go to guatemala and see how come they are so much more happier than us even though they are poorer than srilankans.At least 2 of us will be happy.

            Also having noticed that in the first 40,other than south american countries and mexico,thailand and algeria,the others are all having more tha thrice the incomes of srilankans on a PPP basis.Just imagine if srilankans have incomes through which they can purchase three times more ,than what they currently have how happy they will be.

            As for the south americans and mexicans,they seem to need very little money to keep them happy.Do you think it is the hot latino women keeping themselves and their men happy with loads of sex?If so you and i should immediately make a visit to do some field research and find out first hand whether this is the main reason.It is our patriotic duty,i think.

            AS for the thais and algerians wonder what makes them so happy with only about 50% more incomes than us.I will find out in bangkok,while you make a beeline to algeria. ask ranil to give us the funds through aloysius.

      • 1
        4

        Dr RN:
        “Why are you reaching these extreme conclusions.”

        Sorry: Those were not conclusions of any kind, but only hints at the invalidity of the analogy.

        Bhutan, effectively an Indian colony (like Sikkim once, which has been integrated with India in 1974), where India tampers with election outcomes, is a far less valid than Singapore as a model.

        Valid comparisons need common characteristics of real relevance.

        • 1
          4

          Sekera,

          Is Sri Lanka not being dictated to by other countries, international agencies, NGOs and INGOs? No country in this world can be isolated from world politics and think of itself as an isolated island. Sri Lanka thought so, erred grievously and is now paying the price, while pretending to be not so.

          Bhutan is next to China in the World Happiness Index and way ahead of Sri Lanka. What made this possible is the question I am asking ? It is demonstrating to the world that it is not material wealth alone that matter but many others that were intertwined with our culture in decades past. The connection with Buddhism and its fundamental values , makes the comparison quite valid.

          The fundamental Hindu/ Saivaite values of renunciation, sharing, compassion and frugality, are no different. Excessive consumption based economics is not the way forward any more.

          Dr.RN

    • 5
      3

      McKinsey report (2011): Bangladesh as next hot spot, next China
      Currently Bangladesh is now second largest ready-made garments (RMG) manufacturer after China, by the next five years Bangladesh will become the largest ready-made garments (RMG) manufacturer.

      Even I am not a fan of Prez Premadasa, in his time SL started more than 8000 garment factories.. There was a big boom, supported by then Gov… What happened to all those manufacturing??.. By about 2005 or 2010 (??), 80% of those factories were bankrupt and closed down.. Now in 2016, Bangladesh is second largest garment exporter and wayyyyyy ahead of us..

      • 3
        11

        AVB

        “. By about 2005 or 2010 (??), 80% of those factories were bankrupt and closed down.. Now in 2016, Bangladesh is second largest garment exporter and wayyyyyy ahead of us..”

        Ask Mahinda Rjapkasa and cronies. hey were in charge.

        Clearly the Bangladeshis know how well to manage their economies, compared to the Sri Lankans. Why?

        They are basically the same geriatric stock, Indian, the average IQ for Bangla Desh 81 and for Sri Lanka 79. Sri Lanka got independence in 1948 Bangla Desh in 1972 after the war of independence and several million dead.

        The other difference os that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala “Buddhist” country, where Bangla Desh is Muslim Country, but not a Wahhabi-Salafis-ISIS country.

        Is Sinhala “Buddhism” bad for you? Do the Sinhala “Buddhists” follow the teaching of Buddha or that of Mara and MaRa?

    • 3
      12

      “These numbers are only averages that show that the poor are getting poorer in terms real income and savings,and the rich are getting filthy rich with mostly ill-gotten wealth.”

      Couldn’t agree more.

      Soma

  • 8
    12

    Well said PM

  • 12
    21

    Lokka, what ever you do, be mindful of India,
    They never had any good intentions towards us, ever!

    I am pretty scared to be lead by you simply looking at your past performance!
    ie Nothing!

    The first thing you did when you came to power, got a buddy to run the central bank and screw up the whole thing!

    You had been denouncing Chinese all along and then ran to them with the bucket when you realized that West got nothing to give other than advice and they are currently empty pocket.

    Your finance minister is not trust worthy and man cannot even bring bill to the parliament correctly,

    All you have been doing is borrowing money and paying perpetual treasuries!

    You are kind of imposed on people by the west, for the west than elected, by the people for the people!

    Isn’t it better if our people drive safe cars made in Japan than Malakada coming from the India?

    You and with what team are you planning to lead our economy to success?

    I have nightmares!

    • 4
      12

      Sri lankan politicians could not do it since 1948. Now, only they want to do it. But, when it comes to result it is completely a different picture. They are the great visioneries with the Froeign remittances among from workers work overseas. They don’t treat even those workers properly. About 500 women comes every year in coffins, YEsterday, it said they are being traded from house to house. but, these people are always talk and are present at many openings. They always talk about how much they be baid in order to do this “do nothig job”.

      Ranil Wickramsinghe always comes talk economics and technology. When it comes to results, Central bank Scandles in a raw. VAT is for poor people. but, car importers are given humonoug tax breaks at the port, Ministers are transported in helicopters are the roads are overcroded. Duty free car permits.

      It is completely a fraud.

      • 2
        11

        jim softy

        “Sri lankan politicians could not do it since 1948. Now, only they want to do it. But, when it comes to result it is completely a different picture.”

        Well said, Jimbo. So you admit that the Sinhala “Buddhist” Politicians could not do much other than destroy things. Where does the Problem lie? Sinhala, “Simhala Buddhism” ot Buddhism, and Tamils, Muslims and Veddah People?

        What happened to you? are you drinking Kola Kanda, and avoiding alcohol, Arrack, Kassipu, toddy, cigarettes, caffeine (tea, coffee), whet products ( gluten), diary products, * too much cow protein) that cause inflammation and disease, and eating more red rice, vegetables, fruits and getting enough exercise.

        • 2
          9

          Amarasiri,

          Jim or bumsofty has never been consistent.

          He seems to be talking from his both orifices. This is no means reliable.

          I realyl dont know what goes through the head of Jim.

    • 4
      1

      srinath.gunaratne

      “Lokka, what ever you do, be mindful of India, They never had any good intentions towards us, ever!”

      When we are unable to stop being mugged by our own bigoted muggers, we cannot avoid bigger muggers.

      You have a choice, stop mugging.

      Wise up.

    • 0
      4

      with the dislikes you have got it is clear that more people endorse all the failures that PM Ranil has done so far. When majority of such people exist how can you expect the country to move forward. I too feel sorry. Plus CB scam was done with Ranil’s approval so he did not screw up but was exposed.

  • 9
    11

    Thank you Mr. Prime Minister. We know YOU are with US. May you have the luck and courage to carry on regardless of the hounds of those street dogs. Be assured, we are with you in Good Times & Bad Times. Ever loving “Uncle & Nephew”.

    • 4
      2

      Douglas
      How dare you take the micky out of our Right Honourable PRIME Minister??

      Uncle & Nephew——???

  • 5
    7

    I think this article is all about showing arrogance, dishonesty and lack or respect to voters from Mr. Ranil Ranil wickramsinghe. His Yhapalana UNP factions is doing so many corrupt thngs. Even his trip to Belgium for GSP+ is a failrue. That worst filture is Mr. Wickramsinghe is a part of the Central Bank Scandle, and he all along knew it.

    Now, he comes and talk about economy.

    What change he did for the last alomost – two years time. they are running the govt borrowed money and with money that mostly house maids women send.

  • 6
    4

    What a load of Bunkum.

    6 % plus Growth rate of the past 10 years , the most recent 5 years in particular has been brought down to under 3 % in two years of Yahaplana Economics.

    Debt to GDP has been jacked up to over 90 % from the 70 % which the previous regime maintained even with the Tamil Terrorism which destroyed the Nation.

    Have Japan,, Asian Bank, IMF, and World Bank developed any third world Nation to become even mid Income ,let alone a rich one?.

    Will Batalanada and Aiyo Siras’ 3 percent make our inhabitants USD 8000 per capita income Nation in 2025?.

    I don’t think one need 13 years of Yahapalana Compulsory Education to work it out.

    But I can name a few who have done it even many times better than USD 8000 though, in just 21 months of Yahapalanaya.

  • 4
    3

    Mr. Prime Minister, what’s your say on the Central Bank Bond Scam?? :P

    • 1
      7

      They have fined the dealer Rs 21 million for all that.

      What kind of high way robbery is that ?

  • 2
    11

    Mr. Ranil Wickramsinghe is trying his best to hide the following. that is not a leader like.

    the process adopted by the Central Bank during Arjuna Mahendran’s tenure as its Governor to raise funds for the government through Perpetual Treasuries owned by his son-in-law Arjuna Aloysius had been seriously flawed and largely contrary to the mechanism in place in respect of issuing of bonds.

    Referring to the report prepared by a Special Parliamentary Investigation Committee that probed the alleged insider trading and favoritism in the mega treasury bond issue of February 2015 and the one compiled by Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) headed by JVP MP Sunil Handunetti, Science, Technology and Research Minister Susil Premjayantha explained the circumstances under which those in authority at Mahendran’s behest exploited the system.

    Investigation took place in the presence of the Auditor General to ensure legitimacy to the process at the highest level.

    The alleged first bond scam had taken place during President Maithripala Sirisena’s 100-day project.

    Former UPFA General Secretary and SLFP National Organiser Premjayantha asserted Mahendran’s direct intervention on behalf of Perpetual Treasuries.

    Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, a member of the COPE, asserted that Mahendran shouldn’t have accepted the post of the Governor as his son-in-law functioned as one of the 16 primary dealers tasked with raising funds for the government.

    • 2
      13

      RW is a personality living reputed internationally.

      SO he should have been well aware of all these long ago. This bond scam issue is connected with all complexities and probablities. The CB experts only could be well aware of the gravity of problems and its truths.

      Jim or other softies being caught by lanken Frog in a well theories will see it next days how the issue would be investigated so that the general public be wellinofrmed. God bless.

      It is always better people to open their eyes as it is the case today, and as had not been the case for them in the days of Athigaru Uthumano.. the social scum of the nation.

  • 5
    12

    All fart but no shit. Batalandage boru talk.

    In a recent interview Professor Samarajeewa stated the following:

    Q: How do you see the commitment of the government towards the economy in Sri Lanka?

    A: President Sirisena during the extended 100-day programme had achieved many of the set objectives. But nothing much has changed since the UNP came into power after the general election. They are basically killing time rather than undertaking some drastic economic reforms. It is close to two years but nothing has been delivered. Had they got their plans in place by now, the government could have taken up the time to strengthen the economy. But unfortunately we do not see that happening. People must feel the change …

    “IT IS CLOSE TO TWO YEARS BUT NOTHING HAS BEEN DELIVERED”

    Soma

    • 1
      14

      Soma, please be reasonable. Even Trump has mooted a 100 – day plan. May be he has copied it from Yahapalnaya.

      • 8
        0

        it’s just that you are an ignorant fascist to not adhere to precedence.

        The concept of the first 100 days in office is widely used in the world of politics

        Training the source of professional development
        AN ACTION PLAN FOR NEW CEOS DURING THE FIRST 100 DAYS
        Action steps new CEOs should follow to create a positive impact in the minds of all stakeholders.
        Posted: October 8, 2014

        Here is the classic sinhalaya administrator liar coward, thief. The majority cannot govern even its own flock of majority as humans but beggars of the world.Still sucking onto a notion of independence and sovereign?? You fool self and the captive like North Korea in mindset.

        Maithripala Sirisena’s 100 Day Work Programme; Detailed Diary Description.
        January 2015

        Saturday January 10

        The new President, Maithripala Sirisena, will take his oath of office

        Sunday January 11

        A Cabinet of not more than 25 members, including members of all political parties represented in Parliament, will be appointed with Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister

        Monday January 12

        In order to strengthen democracy, a National Advisory Council will be set up inclusive of representatives of parties represented in Parliament as well as Civil Society organizations.

        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/maithripala-sirisenas-100-day-work-programme-detailed-diary-description/

        FIGHTING MINORITIES IS THE FASCIST GAY SKINHEAD BEGGARS PASTIME LOVED BY THE IDIOT MAJORITY.

      • 1
        7

        Dear Edvin

        IT IS CLOSE TO TWO YEARS, not 100 days, BUT NOTHING HAS BEEN DELIVERED”

        Not conceptualised, initiated.

        Soma

        • 8
          0

          “”BUT NOTHING HAS BEEN DELIVERED”
          “”
          Why your auntie Sobita delivered it many moons ago.

          Saṃsāra,Saṃsāra,Saṃsāra,..

          all the swollen headed invertebrates be they village tamil, muslim fascist village sinhala say this for always.:

          1-Mine is not a personal agenda, and my motivations are not career, fame, nor fortune. Pinguttharayas fascist gay skinheads.

          2-We carry out our duties conscientiously, with the best interests of the Sri Lankan people at heart and to the best of our abilities, placing at their service our long experience and knowledge of CT trolling, more than 30 years of which was spent within the Mahabodhi.මැර කල්ලි, Hingannage Thuwale

  • 2
    4

    personally, I’m hopeful. However, in terms of human capital, we need much more attentive work, investment and focus in order to reach these targets in the stipulated time-frames. The technical knowledge is good/needed but it’s not everything! What about soft skills that are lacking in our people big time! As a solution we have launched a new initiative (www.skillconference.com) which we tested a couple of weeks ago on young people with a pilot programme – 91% agreed that soft skills are vital and they would recommend this initiative to their friends and family :)

    • 2
      9

      Gal

      Governments rarely develop a country, They make policies suitable for the business.
      That is how Singapore is what it is today.

      Our lot try to make money to send their children to foreign universities!

      Tell me how easy it is to register a business today?
      How easy and reasonable the tax system?
      How easy to pass a building application?
      How easy to find land for development?
      How easy to buy delivery van to do a business?
      How easy the legal system?

      What infrastructure developments?
      Public transport?
      Wasted energy and vehicle depreciation in traffic?

      Cost of food production? Things are cheaper in UK than in SL!

      We do not need cepa
      Adjust the policies and hand over the development to our blue chips, they have the capability and capacity to develop this country.
      Utilise the army too.

      It is not rocket science to build a railway or motor way! Our people have proved it in southern express way.

      These suckers talk about innovation, nano technology mega polos, when we cannot help to develop, even a dairy to produce milk at a reasonable price!

      Miracle of Asia!

      • 5
        1

        Srinath.gunaratne

        Are you disappointed the economic statement didn’t include a promise of free rice imported from Moon, Mars or Neptune every week?

        • 3
          1

          He is just disspointed seeing nothing being given Athigaru et al to criticise in volumes. That is it. This bugger being in UK has been doing no good job but licking the asses of the high culprits like Rajapakses and their goons. I thought a man in late 60ties may have sensed it – i mean the basics: Just to stay supportive to the virulent group that seek to return to power by hook or crook is no means acceptable. Those men have big mouths, today only they can abuse the free media offered to them, in the days of athigaru, had they behaved so, could have landed in missing groups. Just the kind of low lives can only spread their hatreds in this torn island NATION.

          • 1
            8

            Well Sam, It surely is hatred!
            It is the hatred to all the political third class we have including Mahinda, because our people deserve better than this.

            Only Premadasa and Mahinda who tried to make a little difference to our poor sods, Well I guess you do not like neither.

            • 6
              1

              srinath.gunaratne

              “Only Premadasa and Mahinda who tried to make a little difference to our poor sods, Well I guess you do not like neither.”

              Mahinda and his clan made a huge difference to their domestic wealth and overseas bank account.

              Are you the clan’s overseas bename?

              Leave Premadasa out of your very silly typing.

              • 3
                1

                Please get the facts Srinath,

                Premadasa Era: Took over 50000 youth in 89 insurgency – We dont know who did it then, JVPrs and UNPrs were accused of. But i know how many fathers, mothers went mad not knowing what their sons (inlcuding me myself ) had been to that time. Lucklily i had the chance ot leave the country for Europe and continue my edu but others failed to do so.

                Rajaakshe Era : Countless numbers of harm being done to all srilankens – statistics to be made even today
                numbers will follow.

                That is what your beloved leaders and their administrations left in this country.

      • 1
        8

        Governments rarely develop a country, They make policies suitable for the business.

        In Sri lanka, politicians does every thing. Politicians come and declare single handedly do every thing. but, people never see results.

        Only thing they do is go overseas often. They go to declare open many new construction works and release lot of press statements.

  • 6
    13

    Ranil had the reputation of being clean and I think he was. A cooking pot may remain spot clean until one starts using it. The process of getting dirty starts when one starts using it.

    Ranil is nothing but a cooking pot.

    Don’t take seriously anything he says.

    • 15
      2

      like uncle he is surrounded by Muslims for a good cause- Mr Clean and Watalappam.

  • 4
    6

    Just like this, just before the election Ranil wickramasinghe talked about Dasa Rajadharma and Lichchavi Style governing, Another thing was 10 million jobs.

    But, what can we say about results up to now ?

  • 3
    10

    He says: “We shall strive to attain the status of a modern manufacturing economy that will include state-of-the-art equipment.”

    This is not clear. Is he speaking about ‘state of the art equipment’ in the manufacturing that we already do or is he going to manufacture ‘state of the art equipment’ here? Ex – 3D printing of modules including everything needed such as the microprocessor, sensors, communication IC’s etc.? One of the latest developments in technology. A tall order indeed.

    “We plan to overcome the bottleneck of being a middle-income country with low wages in our pursuit towards greater prosperity for our people.”

    Meaningless words. He is putting the cart before the horse. Wonder who wrote it. Surely he must be just reading the thing parrot like without understanding what it is. It is like saying we are going to overcome the bottleneck of being stuck on Kelani Palama in our progress towards Borella. The bottleneck is the Kelani Palama. Not the fact that we are stuck there in traffic.

    May I suggest 2 things he can do if he really wants development?

    1) Stop the frequent policy changes like as if you are driving a 3 wheeler put put. For instance, how many times did they change the vehicle import tax? Does he know that a good businessman makes something called a ‘business plan’ and a cash flow for a number of future years before he decides whether to invest or not? How can anyone make a plan when such drastic and frequent changes are occurring?

    2) The majority feels that a lion’s share gores to the politicians and their cronies. They do not feel like partners in his plans. Take steps to avoid that.

    Energy: I did not find the words ‘energy’ or ‘renewable energy’ mentioned even once in his policy speech. What a serious omission!! In the Western world that he is looking up to, these are very important factors for future economic plans. The cost of energy and its reliability is among the first things that a new investor considers.

    The future lies in the use of renewable energy. Not coal, oil or gas. Several EU countries are reaching 100% renewable for their energy requirements.

    Overall it is a highly disappointing report. Our Gamey Baiya could have perhaps done better than that.

    • 8
      0

      even western economist never knew credit crunch was coming with the dodgy burgers out after X’mas 2007.
      How can anyone expect a 4th rated university graduate to do better than send in a bluff speculation.

      Be your size folks.- he wants to sell as much as possible and of course the proceeds go to the warlords first then the pecking order.

      nationalisation finished in the 70’s. Cyntex, Hirdaramani were burnt in 77 and 83.

      Ideally sell the country and ignore politicians, bikkhus saints, forces all ballot power. No army rule taboo. Just sell. problem solved democracy in a global world – few people with clout kill and live lavishly.

  • 4
    1

    The man is mad, raving damn mad, living in his own weird world with his own weird friends. There is something in him that is most disgusting and stinks of selfishness and arrogance that is getting him nowhere.
    If he wants to do as he says then the bugger needs to put his bum up and chin down and work damn hard to take the country out of the quagmire it is slowly sinking into.
    In reality and truthfully he does not care a tuppence for the country, all that he cares for are his cronies surrounding him and when the time comes for him to go he will shamelessly retreat to his comfortable surroundings at 5th lane Colombo 3.
    It is with regret, sincere regret that the following has to be stated.
    The man is a self centered, spineless, blubbering, back boneless, shameless, whimp of a human being leave alone being a politician.
    A walking talking disaster to all good honest, patriotic sri lankans and a blessing in disguise to the corrupt.

    ” DISCE AUT DISCEDE”

    • 1
      5

      “The man is a self centered, spineless, blubbering, back boneless, shameless, whimp of a human being leave alone being a politician”.

      Change the words ‘wimp of a human being’ to ‘full blown ass’ and I cannot agree with you more.

    • 1
      5

      You said it.

      Soma

  • 1
    9

    Most are vague ideas without any detailed analysis.

    Even high school children can write this kind of statement as those are just statements.

    • 7
      0

      Without money is what you see and what you get.

      Next year Xi would be dealing clearly with Ranil while MR would be skipped for an year.India deals with him.

      How much is he going to sell to pay back $50 billion interest?? $10 billion?
      He sure would think of 5 generations of his kind first- that is the danger of ballot people power.killing the public softly, appe mineha. sell the island wholesale no boss local.

      Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.

  • 0
    0

    dear hon. PM,
    this appears to be a technical presentation and i fail to see a vision. there is not a single major econ. project like mahaveliganga or export processing zone put forward by JR. there are four only lines on ‘digital economy’. your economic advisers have completely forgotten about the emerging knowledge economy in SL.if they are against it that is another matter. pl. see world bank report on emerging know. economy in SL-2007. it appears to be inevitable that we make ours a knowledge economy and we have to seriously consider establishing those 4 pillars of know. economy, namely,1) high quality education system, 2)innovative regime,3)sound infrastructure for ICT and 4)conducive political and social environment for business (as put forward by the World bank institute). look for our scores on these pillars. if you go along these lines you will be mahathir mohamed of SL . there are experts in SL on this subject and as PM you can easily identify dr.request dr.harsha athurupana -WB expert.
    -DAYAL

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