17 April, 2024

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IMF’s Prescription: Panacea Or Palliative?

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

While President Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW), his cabinet of ministers and the Governor of CBSL are awaiting anxiously to the early release of IMF’s $2.9 billion Extended Funding Facility (EFF), in spite of China’s reluctance to offer financing assurance on Sri Lanka’s debt, the question remains whether that facility and in consequence of it an expected inflow of another $5 billion or so from the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and other sources would be sufficient to cure the country’s systemic malaise. The answer to this question depends on whether one looks at the economic crisis in isolation from or as part of a crippling systemic crisis that reached its apogee during Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidency. Besides, IMF assistance also carries geopolitical implications in the sense that its funds are used as leverage to win support from the receivers for US’ struggle for world dominance.  

RW, his government and all opposition parties or coalitions, except NPP and its partner JVP, seem to be of the view that IMF’s prescription is a panacea for the country’s economic and financial crises. The only source of quarrel among them is over the harshness of IMF’s conditionalities such as higher taxes and tariffs, cutting down public expenditure and privatizing state-owned enterprises, parts of which measures had been incorporated already in RW’s 2023 budget. Based on the IMF induced confidence RW is already bragging about a 25-year transformation of Sri Lanka’s economy into a high-tech export-oriented miracle. All opposition groups minus NPP also seem to be in cahoots with RW’s phantasmagoria by failing to respond to his challenge for a better alternative than the IMF agenda. NPP/JVP on the other hand identifies the economic crisis not in isolation but as part of a more fundamental systemic crisis.           

At the outset, credit must be given to the aragalaya youth for identifying for the first time (some may argue that the leftists of 1950s and 60s also said the same) that the problem is not in the economy as such, but in the super structure of a socio-political system and its culture, cemented by the pernicious ideology of Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism. In that perspective, economy is a victim of the system. The aragalaya youth detected further that it was the social license the system granted to its managers, functionaries and apparatchiks which ultimately ruined the economy and bankrupted the treasury. From that perspective therefore, replenishing the treasury with financial injections from IMF and other agencies may provide temporary palliative but they would not be the panacea for the systemic crisis. Hence, the youth’s uncompromising demand for (a) system change and (b) smaller and more capable legislature. There is therefore, a dichotomy of approach in tackling the nation’s “polycrisis”, a term popularized by the English historian John Adam Tooze.  

It is a pity that reputable economists, political scientists, experienced central bankers and even intellectual commentators and analysts seem to have fallen prey to the textbook approach to study economy by discarding the relevance of real problems and considering them as irritating variables that spoil the theoretical rigour of their analyses. This is a phenomenon not confined to Sri Lankan experts alone, but rather endemic to many analysts in the neoliberal academic world. It is this narrow focus that failed to predict some of the cataclysmic events like for example, the OPEC crisis in 1970s, 2007-9 Global Financial Crisis and 2021 Covid-19 pandemic, which caused untold agony and “deaths of despair” even in developed parts of the world. The Sri Lankan case however, is unique in the sense that its economy is the victim of a pernicious ideology that, in the name of a numerically strong community, seeks to claim total ownership of the country at the expense of other ethnic and religious minorities. This is an ideology that is totally alien to that community’s original beliefs and cultural ethos. Yet, there seems to be a strange unwillingness within the intellectual community to understand the link between this ideology and the system it created on the one hand and the economic crisis on the other.   

From the time of the disenfranchisement of Indian Tamils in 1948, right through decades of organized violence including a war against indigenous Tamils, and until after 2009 when systematic violence was unleashed against the Muslim minority, the majoritarian ideology had ignored its hidden cost to the economy. That ideology manipulated the country’s democracy in such a way that it not only and always produced a government, which vowed to protect and promote Sinhala Buddhist domination, but also created an economic system that benefitted that majority at the expense of other minorities. This narrow focus by creating a disconnect between the majority and minorities deprived the economy of enormous amount of financial, intellectual, entrepreneurial and social capital that are essential building blocks for sustainable growth and development. What is more diabolical in the system is the space it created for corruption and illicit accumulation of wealth by a few at the expense of many with no accountability to any authority. Every government institution, including the Central Bank and the judiciary were subverted to serve the system. How can foreign funds alone correct this decadent system?  

No doubt, the system boasted of producing periodic bouts of growth but they could not be sustained for long.  Projects were funded with borrowed money simply to enhance the personal prestige and popularity of system managers. The Mattala Airport, the Lotus Tower, Hambantota cricket stadium, the artificial beach at Colombo Port City and thousands of kilometers of unprofitable express ways and high ways are shining examples of this waste.  How much money was spent on them and where did that money come from are all still a mystery. There was absolutely no accountability. Even when the personal secretary of a Prime Minister was caught for misusing the PM’s bank card to withdraw money for the secretary’s use that culprit was magnanimously pardoned and not taken to the court, perhaps in fear of that offender spilling more beans about the PM’s own surreptitious wealth. In such an environment of misgovernance and misappropriation of public funds should it be a surprise that the economy reached its point of nadir and reached a state of historic crisis? 

This then was the situation when the youth rose in revolt with the demand for systemic change. When they proved that their aragalaya was not another demonstration of romantic revolutionary politics, but an ongoing struggle until success achieved, guardians of the system panicked. Out of that panic emerged a new autocrat, President RW, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the tri-forces and manager of the country’s finance. 

RW is no doubt the chief architect of the IMF experiment, which he advocated from the days when he was in opposition. He has now got the power bestowed upon him by a constitution produced by the system, and carries support not only from IMF and its shareholders but also, and more importantly, from the ones who bankrupted the economy in the first place and shifted the onus of repairing it to RW, by making him the new chief. With IMF he is trying to repair the economy and with the old mob he is trying to protect the system by smoothening its rough edges. Hence, he has separated the economy from the system and vows to develop it within the majoritarian paradigm.  Unfortunately, the opposition minus NPP seems to have no alternative but to go along with him. But there is one question left unanswered in the IMF model of reparation. What is the role of ordinary people in the implementation of IMF agenda other than to pay taxes and tightening their belts? Where are the incentives for them to get involved in not just repairing the damage but in producing an economic surplus that would be the ultimate solution to the economic crisis? To provide those incentives one has to go beyond the IMF agenda and remove the system that had been gnawing the economy for decades until it reached the point of bankruptcy.          

As the IMF palliative starts increasing the pain before producing any gain, public dissent is bound to worsen. As one observer put it RW is caught “between the repressive hammer and anarchic anvil”. Will the youth resume its aragalaya and join hands with NPP to hasten the change they demanded? 

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

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Latest comments

  • 21
    1

    Dr Ali has written a fine, provocative piece. The country was preoccupied with ethnic politics with 6.9 million morons creating a massive and cruel moron as President motivated only by ethnic and religious hatred. The IMF is not going to be a solution. It is the 17th time it has intervened and nothing has changed. The issue is who can effect a change that Dr Ali advocates? It is difficult to think of any group that has a clear vision of such a change. The JVP, despite attracting crowds, may not be able to pull it off. It would appear that the country would limp along paying off its karma for all the killings of innocent people and the burning of houses and libraries and other brutalities.

    • 6
      2

      As I write this, the name Ali comes to my mind – but not aobut current writer, but about Ali Sabri. He is currently doing a good work as an FM. I was against Sabry at the begining, but it is a relief him doing his job well currently.

      Beg to differ, I think it’s too early to jump to conclusions about pain rather than gain. If we have many other options, we could say so. First we must come down to earth and understand who we are.

      The situation is 100% similar to that of a critically ill patient entered to ICU. Pimps-like older brothers did not let take good decisions about the mother s state, while wiser siblings were making it very clear from the begining on. Nor would they allow fatally ill mother be provided with proper care. Ther decisions are similar to their selfish gains. Mahinda Rajapkashe promoted srilanken drug trafficking because his election campaigns were funded by the DRUG money apart from other illegal sources.

      Although the elderly mother as a patient was in the intensive care unit, the patient’s family deliberately ignored the patient’s terminal nature and it was not clear to the older brother of the family that death was imminent if she or he were not treated.

      • 6
        0

        cont.
        .
        What is this family like? They are 100% similar to Rajapakse led opportunists. Misleading everyone, they seized power. What did not they promise ?

        Playful 3 bastard sons of MR (most abusive father example of the stupid sinhala nation) and others were in MR’s head because HIS power should next be passed to his younger generation, no matter the majority of this nation (70%) would fall deeper, because without the power above this beggar nation, the greedy Mahinda Rajapaksa and his siblings, foresaw nothing to get away with the increasing numbers of CRIME investigations come on them.
        .
        All MaRa regime crimes and money laundering activities will be exposed if they leave power. IF NOT TODAY ANY TIME IN THE FUTURE: THEY WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO HOODWINK THE VERY SAME NATION FOREVER.

        That’s clear. This was unfortunately read by the Red Robe Brigade (Pinguttaraya community) not in favor of the squeezed majority in Sri Lanka.

        Rajapakse politics spread the country’s wealth very unevenly among the Sri Lankan population, making a few families richer than the average. These businessmen became Rajapaksa’s lifeline for his politics

        tbc

        • 5
          0

          That’s a rather honest upfront statement/admission from a Lankan pol before an election that’s canonically unfixed …… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR6cPyaZ-hw

          • 0
            0

            Native, are you supporting Ranil to get job …….. like Sagala?

            • 3
              0

              nimal fernando

              “Native, are you supporting Ranil to get job …….. like Sagala?”

              No thanks.
              I can feed my family with what I get for my honest days work.
              By the way why are you targeting just Sagala and not others.
              I hear Mahinda wants his job back as Prime Minister.
              We cannot understand as to why you seems to be soft on fraudsters, racists, murderers, …. and their family and their “….” carriers.

              • 0
                0

                “By the way why are you targeting just Sagala and not others.”

                That’s the only one I know ……. who are the other “advisers?”

                Do you believe Sagala deserves his free perks for his “advice?” :))

                You who are so good at targeting/target-shooting ……… why are you not targeting Sagala? …….. That is the question/puzzle!

      • 6
        3

        I quote “leelagemalli”: ” I was against Sabry at the beginning, but it is a relief him doing his job well currently.”
        .
        Depending on fresh developments, we all have to change our minds. There’s nothing wrong with that. Also, although we intuitively feel something, we sometimes reason our way into suppressing those instincts. Am I not being too theoretical in this paragraph?
        .
        “Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)” has now become LM’s bête noire. There was a time when he was singling me out as a shining example of an elderly guy living in Lanka who was doing the right things. No problem! I have long known the fickleness of humans.
        .
        I also knew that LM is a half-baked guy giving himself airs as an “Honorary European”. What I didn’t realise was how much of a racist he was. He hates simple, honest Lankans, and loves these fellows like Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa who will soon be Prime Minister again. Mahinda? Mahendra?
        .
        These confusions are probably common to products of Mahinda College. But then, I had this great pal (now no more) whilst in the Maldives, “Peter” Sumanasena who, like me, was crazy about snorkelling, and was a Mahindian.

        • 6
          1

          Hello SM,
          I don’t need to tell you that I am not a racist. Although I don’t like the majority of Sri Lankans, I still believe that a very small percentage of Sri Lankans are truly respectable.

          I really don’t respect racists either. So please don’t hang MaRa on my list. I hate him more than anyone.
          I feel you are still in the process of understanding me. In the beginning I respected you because you were the peacemaker in CT.

          Now you are in bad company; your thoughts and mind are no different to those of 89 murderers. Your offensive comments are similar to the offensive public speeches of Lalkantha and Nalin Hevey (you surely know who they are).

          In those days, your views were soft enough to be considered a true-hearted person. I have more respect for law and order but not for Europeans.
          -.
          If RW would appoint Mahinda Hora as prime minister, it will happen because RW is a prisoner of the current interim government.
          Btw, Inside news from my close friends in London reveal to me that Prof. Wickramasinghe (she is closely associated with one of our friends in UK) does not want RW to be involved in politics any more amid public criticism.

        • 8
          0

          Please let me know why you think you have become my bête noire.. It was you who changed, not me. In fact, you are now more close to the murderers who killed my own brothers in 89. If I don’t find that unusual, I must be mentally ill. Isn’t that so?
          If you are sane, it should be obvious to you.
          .
          I am not against anyone. I am no longer a Sinhala Buddhist but a practicing Buddhist. I recently learned lot more from some good Buddhists.
          .
          That’s why I can’t respect some people, I can’t hate anyone even if they are a bit emotional at times.

        • 3
          0

          “I also knew that LM is a half-baked guy giving himself airs as an “Honorary European”. What I didn’t realise was how much of a racist he was. He hates simple, honest Lankans, and loves these fellows like Ranil Wickremasinghe and Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa who will soon be Prime Minister again. Mahinda? Mahendra?”.
          .
          This is absolutely bs. As usual incoherent remarks being made by ultra naive ONE AND ONLY Sinhala Man.
          .
          That video about STeven Lorenzo was put to show u guys how criminal MaRa has been, sadly u took it a different angle, please read the comment added by OC. He did NOT react similar to u – most of our people are like u unfortunately. 🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔.
          .
          I started biting my nails after reading urs.😌😌😌😌☹☹☹

          • 0
            0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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

    • 8
      0

      “credit must be given to the aragalaya youth for identifying for the first time (some may argue that the leftists of 1950s and 60s also said the same) that the problem is not in the economy as such, but in the super structure of a socio-political system and its culture, cemented by the pernicious ideology of Sinhala Buddhist majoritarianism.”
      When exactly did the Aragalaya say any such thing? I believe Dr. Ali’s enthusiasm has got the better of him.
      It is true that SB majoritarianism is at the bottom of our crisis. It caused an unnecessary war, which was fought with loans, which were duly creamed off by the new class of arms dealers and military apparatchiks. It led to an unsustainable 300000-plus military. The SB ideology has a stranglehold on civil society to the extent that the SB mullahs can throw into jail anyone who has a different idea of Buddhism.
      If anyone can prove that the Aragalaya was against SB majoritarianism, I will wholeheartedly support it. But it wasn’t.

      • 6
        0

        “What is the role of ordinary people in the implementation of IMF agenda other than to pay taxes and tightening their belts? Where are the incentives for them to get involved in not just repairing the damage but in producing an economic surplus that would be the ultimate solution to the economic crisis? To provide those incentives one has to go beyond the IMF agenda and remove the system that had been gnawing the economy for decades until it reached the point of bankruptcy. “
        Okay, let’s assume the IMF is as bad as Dr. Ali says. Well then, what exactly is the alternative? As some sort of economist, surely Dr. Ali can tell us? But he doesn’t.

        • 5
          0

          OC,
          Just think, if MaRa was rejected by his people as a result if he quit politics, we could have saved a lot. Don’t think so? .
          While studying the video below,
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YO0yrJCsFEM

          I thought that our real criminal who should be punished for the entire crime record is none other than Mahinda Rajaksha.
          His backstabbing mentality, greediness to stay in power and underworld promotion etc. resulted from his total ignorance towards crime management. His direct involvement caused Sanga brigades be empowered in this country. Sanga criminals were the main catalysts to Rajapakshe crime politics.

          All evil men and companies are bound to him through octupus machinery

          . So he is the core of today’s mess.

          His wickedness and hypocrisy contributed to the mushrooming of crime in this country. Drug trafficking or other nefarious legal ventures started with his direct or indirect approval. Please watch the video below.
          .
          . Not only did he commit great crimes, but he repeatedly misled the same vulnerable nation.
          And the way he handled the public treasury is unforgivable. He committed more intentional crimes than the man in the video below.
          :
          So if Mahinda Rajapaksa can act straight like the man in the video (after studying Lorenzo’s story I respect Lorenzo more than Mahinda Rajapaksa) people’s pain will be reduced.

          • 5
            0

            cont.
            He must stay away from us forever to destroy this country as all evil forces are behind him.

            His wickedness and hypocrisy contributed to the mushrooming of crime in this country. Drug trafficking or other nefarious legal ventures started with his direct or indirect approval. Please watch the video below.
            .
            . Not only did he commit great crimes, but he repeatedly misled the same vulnerable nation.
            And the way he handled the public treasury is unforgivable. He committed more intentional crimes than the man in the video below.
            :
            So if Mahinda Rajapaksa can act straight like the man in the video (after studying Lorenzo’s story I respect Lorenzo more than Mahinda Rajapaksa) people’s pain will be reduced. He must stay away from us forever to destroy this country as all evil forces are behind him.

            Lorenzo’s desire was to put to death. It is now a given. However, this guy may have killed a dozen or more, but MaRa and his mismanagement killed a way many more, so MaRa is a major criminal compared to Lorenzo.

          • 7
            2

            Thanks, LM,
            .
            This video you have given us is just amazing. I hope that many will see it.
            .
            At first I thought that this was just some staged commercial drama, rather like the sentimental story of the doctor who gets fired (whilst the nurse gets “promoted”. that was done by actors who clearly got paid. LM gave us that a few days ago.
            .
            So stunning was Stephen Lorenzo’s behaviour that I explored the web, and found that he had been executed a week ago.
            .
            https://rationalinsurgent.com/lorenzo-steven-wikipedia/
            .
            This gives more details if his life and crimes. That he covered up his crimes for 20 years is something that I found strange. The YouTube comments were also interesting.

            .

            .

            • 5
              2

              SM,
              .
              That video made me honest and moved me and my evening. I also discussed his bravery with my wife.
              .
              I have never seen such a video before. How good was he in the 6 minutes the Judge gave him? He thanked everyone without forgetting anyone.
              I think Stephen is a lighter criminal compared to our great criminal Mahinda Rajapaksa. Don’t you think so? Am I alone in thinking so?
              A few days ago I got to know from a good friend of mine
              “To corrupt an entire nation must be the greatest crime against that country. What has been killed is unforgivable”: I pondered this. There I found Steven Lorzenzo’s video.

              • 4
                3

                Just wonderful.
                .
                I can hardly believe this. Almost 4.00 am. Must sleep.

                • 2
                  5

                  Its just narcissism. Lorenzo knows he will be executed whatever he says, so he puts on a final show of himself as a decent man who is so upright that he’s ready and willing to take his punishment. Centre stage as always, playing to the gallery, fooling the gullible.

                  • 3
                    2

                    What is the difference between Sri Lanka’s Mahinda Rajapaksa and Stephen Lorenzo? According to my study, MaRa’s criminal record is higher compared to SLorenzo’s criminal record. Because my information is correct, he has made two men.

                    Who committed more crimes? Who repeatedly called the gallery?
                    :
                    Wake up, Svensson! You are not the only one, there are people in this country who behave like you – that is why the whole people are suffering today.
                    Our people have brains!

                    • 2
                      1

                      It shouls be may our people be blessed with brains !

                  • 4
                    4

                    Forget Lorenzo!
                    .
                    The video was remarkable; no simple response was possible. Lorenzo was a cruel murderer. No excuse or his crimes. At the end of thee day, Rajapaksas and Ranil are also that. We’re not whitewashing the old JVP of some crimes, but there were two sides to that story.
                    .
                    For now, the criminal who is making life unbearable for us is Ranil Wickremasinghe.
                    .
                    I knew that I was physically too frail to go from Bandarawela to Colombo for that protest last week. It’s best for me to survive for now and at least denounce these horrible politicians; and I do so after identifying myself.
                    .
                    Stop saying these irrelevant things!
                    .
                    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

                    • 3
                      0

                      ‘Stop saying these irrelevant things!’

                      Says the King of Irrelevance!

                      PS the time here is 12:52

          • 4
            1

            LM,
            “I thought that our real criminal who should be punished for the entire crime record is none other than Mahinda Rajaksha.”
            Exactly right. But many people seem to have forgotten.

            • 3
              2

              IC
              If we remember it as none other than Mahinda Rajapaksa, then we will be forgetting the roles played by others before him.

            • 4
              0

              OC,
              .
              Thank u for getting my point dear codger..✌✌
              .
              Unfortunately pundit SM did get my point 😶😶😶
              .
              .A man who turned entire nation fool for his political maturbation is guarded yet by 200 soldiers at the expense of suffering majority..
              .
              Is that not a real liability to our poor people?.
              .
              May divine forces be awaken !!!!🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔🤔

              • 4
                1

                U MADE MY DAY CODGER.
                .
                BIG THANKS😇😇😇😇😇😇

              • 4
                0

                Unfortunately pundit SM did NOT get my point 😶😶😶

            • 2
              0

              OC,
              .
              I think holding elections until the facts are confirmed in people’s heads is pointless. Every citizen must be fed with facts by hook or by crook. It will benefit the future of this nation.
              :
              Even if some public money is spent, the result is the same. The same funds could be better used to feed the ever-increasing number of hungry people in this country. We should not hold elections for any purpose. It’s really a waste. What have we brought after the previous elections?

              Now experts are predicting that inflation rates may be favorable in the coming weeks.
              That’s what we’ve been hoping for all these weeks, right? I happened to listen to the current Central Bank of Sri Lanka, I mean Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe. … I think we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel given the signs of recovery in the shrunken economy.

              • 0
                0

                This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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            • 3
              0

              “I thought that our real criminal who should be punished for the entire crime record is none other than Mahinda Rajapaksha.”
              .
              CBK heaves a sigh of relief……hic!

          • 4
            3

            Unless I say that I heartily dislike MaRa and all others of his clan, you will say that I’m now supporting them, LM.
            .
            Well why cannot Ranil allow the elections to be conducted? He’s very active in preventing them.
            .
            [edited out]
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

      • 7
        0

        old codger

        “It caused an unnecessary war, which was fought with loans, …..”

        and grants from Hindia.

        • 3
          1

          Forget the past look to the future ……. China is the new thang ………. try and make it out with Mao’s lost granddaughter ……. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8jiQp5oDx4

          • 2
            0

            Unlike in the US where it’s mostly immigrant brain-power ……. China (like Lanka) has achieved this with mainly indigenous brain-power …… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xEUCkE04zg

            Native, stop dissing China. Unbeknownst to you ……… you have been influenced too much by Palki!

        • 6
          0

          NV,
          I think this English girl’s message is true in Sri Lanka today. I wonder how foreigners decide to marry uneducated men on the beach. In my case, if I marry an unknown culture, my whole life will be ruined.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U28qLA5oU4g

          • 5
            0

            NV,
            Sorry, to divert you from the topic above, by adding the link, however, what she has been telling is the truth about our people.

          • 6
            1

            LM
            I think you have grossly misinterpreted what this Young Lady is saying.
            She is not complaining about her husband or regretting her marriage.
            On the contrary, she is disgusted by the actions of the police in arresting her husband for no reason at all.
            It is good if you could go and watch some of her videos starting 3 years ago.
            You will find your assumptions are highly incorrect.

            • 4
              1

              HT,
              You may be right. I didn’t watch the whole video. But I listened to what she had to say about the plastic found on the beaches of Sri Lanka. She complained that people are not going to clean up.

            • 5
              2

              Yes, i had seen some of her earlier videos spread over three years, without dwelling on them, though.

      • 5
        2

        OC,
        Galle-face Struggle is not something that humans have developed out of thought. Those that gave the publicity to it was YOUTUBERs who the most abusive parasites to our eyes today. Youtubers of srilanka today are colombo crows. They behave like ” beach boys in Hikkaduwa and Negombo”:

        Most of them, do any lower tasks to gain their “likes”: The best examples were set by ” Sepal Amarasinghe” and “Sudantha Thilakasiri (Suda creation) (another unexmployed man from Australia). Both mentioned two men were equally complicit to have made false propapganda to inflate ” GOTABAYA” as the leader in Nov 2019 election.
        However, in retrospect it came to feed the majority of daily wage earners in Colombo and suburbs. It traveled from day to day at different angles with the saline provided by the rich and wealthy classes of Colombo. Discipline was displayed as many of them respected “completely harmless objections” to ward off the devil (Gotabhaya) who was clearly becoming a “red rag to the raging bull”.

        • 4
          6

          You’ve suddenly improved, LM .
          .
          I didn’t expect any of this from you.
          .
          Panini Edirisinhe

          • 4
            0

            I’m not the one who needs to improve. But you have to change your mind. So I have developed nothing like that in my mind. I’m not racist, but to be labeled as such is really insulting.

            • 5
              1

              Remember SM,
              .
              U are real clown.
              .
              According to u
              I should be
              .bloody idiot
              Absolutely despicable
              Half baked.
              Braun german
              Honorary European.
              .
              What will be next term comes to ur little mind ?.
              .
              All this could turn positive if I worship u morning to evening as u are to AKD, right?
              .
              Readers over to u.
              .
              SM is typical example to describe average citizen in our hell made by Rajapaksa siblings.
              .
              God bless our motherland 🤔🤔🤔🤔

              • 0
                0

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                • 3
                  0

                  You might have used another term to put me down.
                  -‘
                  Grow up SM ! thank you.

  • 11
    0

    “It’s a pity that reputable economist, political scientist, experienced central bankers and even intellectual commentators and analyst seem to have fallen pray to text book approach to study economy by discarding the relevance of real problems and discarding them as irritating variables that spoil the theoretical rigor of their analyses. AA, you’re are absolutely right. It’s same as physicians depending solely on clinical /patient’s history or investigations alone or clinical findings to treat a problem, without considering underlying causes, predisposing, precipitating, preventing factors. In fact in many instance, we see, where patients may feel better, but their real problems are never fully addressed. End result is, longer duration of treatment, making an acute problem into chronic , increase morbidity / mortality, increase / longer hospital stays, delayed recovery, more cost, more loss of days, disability, decrease functional level, and overall poor prognosis. I’m no economist but I did complete ICMA part 1 & 2, years ago, in which I found Economy interesting and still my favorite subject.

    • 3
      3

      “I found Economy interesting and still my favorite subject.”
      It “Economy” a subject for economists?
      Hmmm.

    • 8
      0

      According to Google search Dr. Ameer Ali received his education at the London School of Economics and received doctorate in Economics from Uni of WA in 1980. He taught Economics at the Uni of Ceylon, Murdoch ,Uni of Brunei and WA. Whereas Dr. Satha is an independent researcher who READ political economy for the PhD degree at the Uni of Cambridge. That doesn’t make AA any lesser, on this subject, isn’t it ???

      • 6
        0

        Regardless of the experience other countries had with IMF, Lanka will continue it’s own ways without any systemic/system change. Lanka may end up with a positive balance in treasury but 1) All the politicians, Rajapaksas, Ranil, Pissu Sira and the rest will continue business as usual. 2) corruption may get worse. ( with more PC, local council members) Apparently soon number of Ministers will go up with borrowed money. 3) Income may go up with taxation but the expenses will also increase disproportionately. 4) ethnic / religious/ race politics will continue unabated 5) our Democrazy, INdpendence and Constipation will remain same. 6) And come 2045 , Lankans will be still looking for IMF, WB , West to get more help and blame too 7) continuing political turmoil, instability will be an added feature.

        • 3
          0

          Lets look at facts before we make IMF as our scapegoat. 1) IMF, WB warned Lanka well in advance, of a potential bankruptcy. Did our retards listen or take to their advise ??? All they did was print more money. Did any other friends of Lanka advise ??? 2) There are countries which received help from IMF and WB in past, are doing so well, that they are contributing to IMF fund. Do anyone think Lanka can get to that position ever ??? 3) In an accepted treatment say 10 out of hundred may not get the benefit or fail, due to other/personal reasons (delayed treatment, other complications, noncompliance) does that make treatment a failure, when 90 % benefited from it. There are few basket cases like Lanka which are quoted as failure of IMF intervention. Say for example if Pakistan failed, is that a mistake of IMF ???? 4) Some complain that IMF is squeezing the poor, whereas the truth is our own governments have been squeezing them, all their life.

          • 3
            0

            Lets look at some of the IMF conditions for structural adjustments 1) Improving governance and fighting corruption, do anyone think Lanka will address without being told or pressurized 2) Privatization of state own entities running in loss. At last India decided to part with “Air India”, and we Lankans ???? 3) balancing budgets and not overspending, if we were that prudent,we will not have this discussion. 4) Cutting expenditure or raising revenue (austerity). Due to our BS policies , there is not much space to raise revenue, what else can IMF expect from us. Can we blame IMF for our racial / divide politics, Covid management, organic farming , white elephants, brain drain. . . . . . . . 5) removing price controls and state subsidies . Many will agree it’s part of our current problem.

          • 4
            0

            Chiv ,
            “There are countries which received help from IMF and WB in past, are doing so well, that they are contributing to IMF fund.”
            Yes indeed there are. One is our neighbour India, which just avoided bankruptcy in 1991 by getting a loan of 2 Billion USD against 67 tons of gold as collateral .
            The IMF imposed strict conditions, which resulted in an increase in income inequality, but eventually resulted in a full recovery and the current vibrant economy.
            Are our people willing to wait even 5 years for the same result? No, I think they will fall for the next false messiah that comes along. We are Sri Lankans after all….

            • 2
              0

              BTW,
              Cabral sold our gold.

          • 0
            0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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            • 4
              0

              You said something, SM?

              • 3
                0

                OC,
                Unfortunatly poor SM has lost his sense of propportion.
                :
                In his little world, I am the biggest problem right at the moment. In fact his threatening email last night proved me what a monster he should be.
                :
                Now it is becoming clear – birds of a feather flock together.. his thoughts and minds are exact that of JVPrs. To him, taking away my brother s life is “just crimes for him”. So nothing more needs to read his mind. We can only wish him sooner recovery. Hatreds on opponents would not bring anyone further.

      • 4
        0

        I remember he was at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, a few years senior to me. He may have done other degrees later.

  • 9
    2

    For a more rounded understanding of the IMF’s role read, “Sri Lanka’s Two Challenges: Economic Recovery & Political Devolution”, by Sachithanandam Sathananthan on these pages.

    • 6
      3

      Sarath
      IMF addicts will not hear of any cure.

      • 6
        0

        “IMF addicts will not hear of any cure.”

        ????

    • 4
      4

      Thanks, Sarath. I know that they both talk sense.
      .
      Sachithanandam Sathananthan is a bit more difficult to read.
      .
      What is easy to see is that Ranil Wickremasighe is a knave par excellance.

  • 8
    2

    Dr. Ameer Ali
    Dr Ameer Ali in this excellent piece as usual had focused on the key issues facing the country.
    The IMF loans as well the consequent World Bank,ADB,JICA Loans though Very Significant for short term solutions to the critical problems or .will it be the panacea for the long persistent crisis facing the country for all the time. The answer to this vexed problems depends on how the government is going to make use of the loans and how the loans will be settled by still more borrowing or from our own funds generated by the optimum use of these loans.
    Will it be used to fund the continues shortfalls in foreign exchange in procurement of essentials for the country and to fill up the pockets of politicians and continue the dependency syndrome and the governments will always have deficit budgets and printing money and be with a begging bowl to bridge the shortfalls..
    The problems will continue unless a viable systemic change is installed instead of ad-hoc solutions.
    A total systemic solution is next to impossible if the same corrupt politicians and the professionals continue to govern us or will there be a systemic change to enhance exports and move towards prosperity.

  • 5
    5

    A key component of the question posed by the title is missing:
    Or poison?

    • 4
      4

      “A key component of the question posed by the title is missing:
      Or poison?”

      Or Mao’s Red Book Communism.

    • 5
      3

      “A key component of the question posed by the title is missing:
      Or poison?”

      Or Mao’s Red Book Maoism.

  • 2
    0

    IMF’s Prescription: Panacea Or Palliative

    The president is chosen via parliament Democratic not from people in front of world it is the ballot box is the surest arbiter/peacemaker of disputes among free men. To fight for voting rights is to fight for human rights. This IMF prescription and all games well updated the restructuring of economy system has loophole the old system of RW managing obsolete

  • 7
    6

    Thanks for your excellent article, Dr Ameer Ali.
    .
    I have taken a quick look at the article; srikrish has said that it is good, “as usual”.
    .
    Unless we are absolute humbugs, we must acknowledge that none of us comprehends 100%. My main concern at the moment is whether a realistic (early) date has been for the LGE.
    .
    That topic has been discussed by Dr Harini Amarasuriya MP for 29 minutes earlier today.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdZSvRF1sjY
    .
    I have made a brief comment there; I must say some thing more comprehensive there later today.
    .
    Right now, 16:00 hours, I’m listening to this:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JSVWu6AQfJ0
    .
    | NPP Rally | 2023.03.03
    .
    When you will see this, I have no idea. It is live. Been running for 31 minutes. It has already been announced, as a certainty, that AKD will be arriving shortly, and addressing us.
    .
    I unashamedly state here that I intend voting for the NPP; many of you will vote otherwise. I hope that none of you will abstain or spoil your vote.
    .
    Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)
    .

    .

    • 7
      2

      Dear JVP Parrots,

      AKD seems to have nothing better than to cry foul over the allegations. why is that ?

      All what he says about highly corrupted culture in this country is the DNA of this nation. But we expect more than that from a leadership.

      Does he bring that ?

      Will he ever transition to maturity? SM and his teenage behavour is similar to that of AKD. This was what AKD’s predecessor in that party made him clear before he died Somawansa Amarasinghe (I mean https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somawansa_Amarasinghe)

      Today there is a “comment drop cyber army” hired by JVP. They dont seem to tolerate anything. Most comments being added by “using filthy sinhala terms”; what they ve been doing is similar to ” committing HARAKIRI” to JVPrs. Wait and see….. we are patient…

      This was similar to GOTA’s elevation. However, if people are misled, they will have to be beaten this time by going beyond level 89.

    • 11
      0

      S_M: You mentioned, “many of you here”. Are you referring to those who post comments on this page? If “YES”, please note many of them have no votes in S/L.

      • 8
        0

        Simon,
        Agreed with your sentiments!!
        However, Many of the “MANY” referred to by you have still greta interests and links in the country and contribute indirectly to the economy of Sri Lanka – sometimes substantially – as their extended family still lives in the country!!??
        So they have a great concern for the well-being of Sri Lankans and Sri Lanka, being a prosperous nation as it was in the past and Resplendent!!!??

  • 7
    4

    ‘The JVP is essentially a party of protest. When an opportunity to oppose something presents itself, they tend to quite literally, forget themselves. They do not possess the attitude of mind necessary to be able build or develop anything.’ https://island.lk/comparing-akd-to-king-parakramabahu/
    .
    Beware of the JVP/NPP. It’s easy to protest when you are not in Government.

    • 6
      3

      Paul,
      Truly saying that is all about JVP,

      but dont forget, JJB aka NPP are different.

      I dont think that Dr HA would have joined with them, if JVPrs would have the same barbaric tendensies as they brought in late 80ties.
      They have to be different because they would not want to adhere with killing tactics of JVPrs. If not agreeing, first thing you have to do is to make them clear not ” killing” instead. I see something big is lacking in JVP mind set which is ” they are not ready to make compromises”.
      .
      The term JVP was synonymous with “barbarians” in 89-92, remember ? My close friends were murdered and their body parts were hung on their house fences can you imagine ? See the difference notherna killers and southern killers… is there any difference hardly ?

    • 1
      0

      Paul
      The JVP was in government in 2005-2006 I think.

      • 3
        0

        Yes, they were then named as ” 3rd powerful force” in that CBK govt.

        • 0
          0

          Sorry
          That was their second stint of power sharing.
          The earlier stint with CBK was 2004-2005. They asserted themselves a little too much for their own good.

    • 5
      3

      Paul, thanks for the article from the Island.lk
      .
      It starts well.
      .
      It’ll take hours for me to show that what follows is neither sound nor valid.
      .
      It’s going to be hard work for you to understand what I write. Writing it out is going to be even more difficult. Shall I put it all t the bottom of this page?
      .
      I know that reading on a mobile phone is difficult when there are indents.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe

    • 2
      1

      ‘They do not possess the attitude of mind necessary to be build or develop anything’ to rule this country.
      Paul, In this country none of the political parties who were in power possessed the attitude of mind necessary to build or develop this country. They all had rich family background, western culture, blessings of Buddhist fundamentalists and racist attitude. Only three or four families ruled this country. None of the Left wing political parties ever had opportunities to rule this country. Those who shared power like LSSP, CP, JVP only had that opportunity only after they become part of Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism.

  • 5
    0

    There are illnesses that can be treated but not cured , in medical science .
    Some of them are cancers . I had a close relative who had a cancer that
    was completely cured . And another cancer patient , late to be diagnosed
    lost life after two years . The one who was cured was lucky to be diagnosed
    at early stage and if you develop a condition like hypertension , you will be
    put on lifelong medication . They call it Treatment . No Cure . There are
    surely many ways to diagnose our economic condition and prescribe the
    right medication and going through Theories alone may not work for us !
    Understanding How Money Works is still a distant subject to the Ordinary !
    There’s also something called ” Minimalism” which no one even wants to
    know about but Rogue rulers are trying to achieve it through forceful means
    they have learned in Theories ! They fail because People Are Not On Their
    Side .

    • 3
      0

      Dear WW,

      I think countries of our nature, with lack of oil or other earth resources, have no more options than to rely on external forces to lend help in a situation of current critical nature.

      So that is why we are to make the hobson’ s choice right these days.
      You are right saying that due to fake public perception, lankens chose other politicans. That has now become clearer to incresing number of the voters. However, voter mentality in this country is highly questionable regardless of their educational levels.
      .
      Recent analyses have revealed that not even half of what being spread by srilanken media houses are the substantiated news. The best example is that new coverage on ” Dr Safi Saga” which was even considered to be true by Fake Prof. Jayasumana

      https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#chat/dm/6WLvXgAAAAE

      (his MBBS degree should be subjected to scrutinization, if it was heard from a law bound country).

  • 5
    2

    I’m happy that the NPP has put together an impressive team of lawyers:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcUcngjORsg
    .
    They’ve just (the time now is 12:27) held this comprehensive 50 minute Press Conference. I have not yet met Sunil Watagala, the candidate to be the Chairman of the Maharagama Urban Council. He seems to be the person doing the bulk of the work, and does it well. My wife and I own this house in Maharagama, and my daughter and she will be voting there.
    .
    Harshana Nanayakkara, who is leading the Moratuwa team, was not present today, but he is another who has made an impression on me. That may be because I have met his grandmother, Irene Wijesekera Dissanayaka of the village of Urala. A tough woman she was! I have only vague memories of my maternal grandfather, Truton Wijeratne Dissanayaka, a gentle giant he was supposed to have been. They were related.
    .
    Do listen to the informative fifty minutes above – all in Sinhala.

    • 4
      0

      SM,
      We would have been happier if the majority would have turned be wiser.
      Unfortunately, your naivety (not only you, but senior people like you) will turn a blind eye to your eternally suffering people and stagnate. The need of the moment is to improve voter mindset/awareness among the eligible citizens for the general electorate of this battered nation. Nation rebuilding must be placed above all else.

  • 2
    0

    Much that has been said and done by President Ranil Wickremasinghe suggests that he just doesn’t want to see the Local Government elections held. I hope that nobody laughs at me for uttering a truism!
    .
    As for the opposition, they seem to have agreed on their demand that the poll be conducted before the 20th of March.
    .
    https://www.dailymirror.lk/breaking_news/Conduct-LG-polls-before-March-20-Opposition-parties-write-to-EC/108-255277
    .
    I’d certainly like to see that happening. I find that there are some people forecasting the results, Council by Council:
    .
    It looks as though the way to get at all their completed surveys is to go to the YouTube Tab and place “Vmax Politics” in it. They claim to be objective, and non partisan. Here’s one:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leDyanI8S4I
    .
    There is variety in the interviews. This is dominated by a seemingly Ranil supporter:, but then it moves to an AKD supporter.
    .
    We certainly get reminded of important statistics, etc.

    .

  • 0
    0

    India gave its $4B (that last loan or donation- because India agrees to write off most of it) in a suitable time. It is not just simply that the Royals could not make 40% commission out of it, it was only after Langkang declared a bankruptcy, so even Chinese loans were paid out of it. So, the double commission opportunity on the Chinese loan, i.e., taking a commission while borrowing it and taking another commission while paying it also is lost. In other words, no commission materialized at the paying time because India has exported some good stuff for all the loans. In 2015, India and America brought regime change. That was only giving a chance for UNP robbers, instead Royal robbers only stealing for more than 20 years. As soon as Evil came to power, he demanded his bills, for he had faith in the West, to be settled immediately. They, instead, like in the “Jingle All Way” movie” the Radio station operators, answered to the Evil Emperor, “Gentlemen, you thought we have the money in the Radio station? NO, you now must form a good government, improve the economy, and pay your loans, yourself.” The Evil Emperor immediately cursed the West and geared the Central Bank Robbery of April 2015 to pay for the arduous work of 172 Yahapalanaya & Royal MPs. Langkang then went with China.

  • 0
    0

    Sahala and Mangala negotiated the Hangbangtota Harbour deal with China. With that China Harbor commission, Sahala’s bending back by his senile age, started to stand like a Californian Redwood. Still Mangala was not that satisfied, so he kept going to Europe, Auralia, America, Japan, looking ……. for something more. John Kerry, the US Secretary, did not give Yahapalanaya enough lubricant for their hands (He only paid only $600M to Rangoon army Junta and Yahapalanaya Army Juanta.) So, the Evil’s relationship with the US started to sour, but Sahala & China remained partners. Having learned the hard way last time, West did not want to say to Evil “Sir, please listen, “No “” means “No,” so do not bother us anymore.” The IMF has not cut Langkang off or has not paid them either. This had caused West’s position to be exactly like the monkey which put his leg in the fissure of the wood split and pulled the wedge off. The West cannot give this IMF loan to Langkang and watch it settle the Chinese loan, saying bye to West and right away start to flitter with China on commission business. On the other hand, they just cannot sit and watch Langkang selling the Oil farm to China and writing off the harbor to another 200 years lease.

  • 0
    0

    Now the monkey cannot pull it out of the wood or exert some force and split the wood. The pain for India and West is many times higher than the Langkang’s Kleptocrats, who are without oil to their Benzes and their dinners without foreign Label. Royals have enough money to transport their pet dogs on Charter flights or decorate those’ dicks with 22 karat, 900 sovereign gold rings but have no foreign label to entertain the Thailand gals with whom they are tantalizing. Incredibly sad situation for Royals. IMF loan is spread to four years. China wants to have its loans paid before that time end. If not, China says that IMF wants China to get hair but, it wants to its loan fully paid. IMF said its loans are lower cost so cannot be written off. But who is beating up IMF to give loan to a country which has already let down its lenders? Why IMF cannot charge Langkang higher rate so China can get back its loan, but IMF can write off its loan? The problem is the Western monkey has put its legs into the wood that is wedged by China. Still China do not want to be sympathetic in action as much as shed tears for Langkang. Some opposition MPs said because of China’s reluctance, IMF loan may take as much as one year. 

  • 0
    0

    I do not have enough info to evaluate that, but I do not have to have much knowledge to say another thing. I.e If the IMF takes one year to release the loan, then it is not going to give that loan to “the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka” but to a country with another name, the “Democratic Socialist Republic of the Stray Dogs on the Road.” One year delay? Do the IMF think that Langkang will be alive by that time? Comedy Thamai! By that time, even the Royal would have moved to Uganda with their swindled wealth, dogs, and their golden rings on an ambassador piloted plane!

  • 0
    0

    The other one-year saga is that the LC election cannot come within one year. That is what PAFFREL is thinking. This is the story of wedged wood fissure where the Evil Emperor has inserted his legs. SC ordered that the election funds cannot be withheld (interim). Man, man, man……, this is going to turn out to be exactly like the 2018 Evil- Rowdy’s coup case in CoA. Election law says if anybody inappropriately interfered in the election process, then it is a free 3 year of jail time. Did anybody interfere in the LC election, this time? In 2015, After Evil, Rowdy and New King had some chit chats at 1:00AM some nights, even in the opposition of the Old Beauty Queen, Old Rowdy resigned, and CoA canceled the case. That time the ruling party brought the case and it lost. But this time the opposition brought the case and had a partial victory. My question is, the EC which was shedding tears saying that the treasury secretary is not giving it the money, instead of right away they are arranging the election, they have invited the people who were responsible for causing the election delay. Do not misjudge the situation of the Election officials trying to flip flop and join the ruling party on this election issue.

  • 0
    0

    The problem is, under Sinhala Buddhist Buddha Dhamma, not rapists, murderers, looters, or drug kingpins; but even the election criminals cannot be punished by any punishment, forget about capital punishment. Here the election Commission president is going to invent a reason how & why nobody attempted to cancel the election, by meeting with the perpetrators. He is trying to evade his duty of suing the criminal. That is the nicety of the land of impunity! But what about the letter that was issued by the cabinet and conveyed to all election agents and government agents of districts, not to collect the deposits or application? RTI found out that communist Dinesh had lied about that. At least, could communist Dinesh be taken to court and punished, after knowing well that there was a letter which was ordering the election agents to stop accepting money, disregarding the election commission’s directions? I wonder if the IMF managing director can understand all these dramas. lies, frauds are acted within Langkang only, to get the loans, but EP, PM, or not any other minister wants to take this matter with China and lose its favors and future commission.

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