By Chanaka Gajanayake –
There is no doubt that there was a slowing of economic growth post 2015. Business turnover was down and almost all businessmen started to grumble. This was augmented by constant grumbling of the joint opposition that wanted to drive their popularity among the business community. To add to this the incumbent government was unable to strategise to have an immediate resurgence or even to make it look apparent due to narrow minded autistic thinking process of a leadership that avoided economic processes advocated by young blood in government by making them deputy or state ministers by giving power to apparently ignorant, corrupt or inefficient but “senior” members.
I am no economist nor even remotely connected to international affairs but a desperate citizen who has tried to understand the fallacy in simple ways and try to let people understand the ‘big picture’ very briefly.
During the previous regime I.e. prior to 2015, a lot of money circulated and businessmen were happy. The fact is that we were living in a fantasy world with borrowed money. When a loan is taken from a foreign bank at higher than normal interest, a portion goes to the pocket of a person/s often politicians and “wheeler dealers” who negotiate deals. Then when the contract is awarded to another local sub-contractor again there is oiling of palms for approvals. In this process not only the shark politicians but also high government officials who are often go-between’s also benefit. In fact they were allowed to benefit by the previous regime purposely in their ‘live and let live policy’. This also made themselves popular with this administrative hierarchy thus ‘econo-politicising’ the administration. It still lingers on often by sabotaging systems, using the so called ‘red tape’ in administrative manuals. At the same time the “inefficient” new regime brought in people who were also equally inefficient or petty corrupt opportunists. These factors together with introvert thinking process of the PM who was a sort of a dictator in economic policy dampened any efforts in at least apparent economic success.
When there is foreign money there will be projects for businessmen and although they are making money with inflated projects, there is a trickle down effect on the people below from executives to labourers. Then these projects are ‘visible’ projects such as highways, airports, harbours or coal power projects which will make people content with a false sense of ‘development’, although long term payments of loans is palmed off to the next generation!
Unfortunately the the pseudo economists in the incumbent government burdened with loan instalments attacked the most vulnerable income strategy by imposing huge taxes on almost everything and anything!! They are paranoid on loans and new projects to be shown to the people slowed down. The people were individually affected and thereby animosity developed, while the joint opposition was quick to show their period with a ‘booming’ economy which in fact was in fact a ‘hollow’ economy on thin ground.
Hence it is easy to understand heavy funding of campaigns by mega businessmen hungry for more projects and many professionals including doctors who will be beneficiaries of such an unaccountable system. Why couldn’t the government make people understand this logic? Simply because of their narrow thinking processes!!