By Chandra Jayaratne –
Post the Socio, Political, Economic and Governance Crises driving Sri Lanka towards a failed state classification, are our leaders in Power, the Executive and the Legislators, with responsibility and due accountability to deliver Sri Lanka and its present and future citizens out of the abyss presently precariously placed, effectively governing the country with cohesive long term nationally value adding sustainable strategic actions, supported by visionary leadership, placing the interests of the nation and its people first? and are they building coalitions internationally and locally, and especially with common citizen’s, seeking support for moving forward with the essential reforms, whilst proactively protecting in priority the interests of the poor, disadvantaged and vulnerable segments; and lead to the systems changes desired by the society at large ?
If not what next steps should the international community and intellectual and caring Civil Society do in response?
It is nearly three months since a new regime took office; and have they been able to attend to the needs and demands of our common citizenry and society at large who are seeking systems change oriented essential reforms and at the same time win the support of the international community?
The answer at a prima facie level appears to be a big NO as seen from validating the following questions:
1. Have steps been taken to form an effective and supportive national all party government for an agreed limited period to single mindedly focus on stabilizing the economy and society; and thereafter giving way to a people’s choice for leaders in governance via fresh elections to elect a new government to take charge of good governance based socio- economic recovery?
2. Have essentials necessary for daily life and livelihoods been made available, especially to a majority of the citizens who have been deprived ( eg. nutritious food, medicines, milk powder, fuel, daily in use public services)?
3. Has the Impact of cost of living increases, especially in above essentials, been minimized and steps taken to prevent hyperinflation led risks?
4. Have job losses, loss of local/export markets as well as relocation of value adding business units as a consequence of the crisis been minimized by strategic proactive actions? and towards the same has the state developed strategic actions to support vulnerable SME’s and attract new sustainable value adding and new job opportunities creating businesses?
5. Have new options for enhancement of factor productivity been facilitated? Have the best use of technology, innovations, best practices and creative restructures been promoted to improve quality, consistency and productivity of outputs essential for sustainable growth?
6. Have sustainable value adding new investments, especially in foreign exchange earning industries and services, global supply chains, and regional service linkages been attracted?
7. Have essential tax reforms to raise tax revenue to GDP to the minimum required levels of 18 % to achieve a primary surplus within 2 years been introduced, following the essential principles of taxing those with capacity to pay, with emphasis on direct taxation vs. indirect taxation?
8. Have essential state expenditure reforms eliminating all wasteful and non cash flow return based capital spends been progressed whilst allocating equitably scarce resources in protecting the poor and vulnerable groups, in achieving a primary surplus within 2 years ?
9. Have steps been taken to reform loss making and unproductive state owned enterprises and cut back on high resource allocations for defense, unproductive state employment and state assets not yielding adequate economic free cash flow returns?
10. Have all commitments, preconditions and best practice recommendations in governance agreed to with the IMF at staff level been effectively progressed?
11. Have necessary professional steps been taken with commitment in reaching agreement with creditors for the debt restructure without added risks of a consequential destabilization of the local financial and banking systems?
12. Have attempts to secure bridging finance until the IMF Loan facility and other commercial borrowings abilities been successful?
13. Have friendly states and international financial institutions/INGO’s other than India, come up with substantial humanitarian support and development finance facilities a d have these been effectively distributed to minimize the negative impacts on poor/disadvantaged and vulnerable segments?
14. Have effective steps been taken to reverse the unacceptable policies and lack of timely facilities for optimum productivity and outputs of the agricultural sector, especially making available fertilizer, agro chemicals and fuel on a timely basis, in order ensure optimum local production of staple foods and thus avoid risks of food shortages and possible famine?
15. Have the planned constitutional, legal and regulatory reforms to improve the democratic and rule of law based governance framework focusing on minimization waste, corruption, illicit financial flows been effectively initiated, enacted and implemented?
16. Have steps been taken to ensure the independence, integrity and capability of law enforcement agencies (especially the Attorney General’s Department, Police and Auditor General’s Department) and independent regulatory authorities/agencies (including Independent Commissions)
17. Have effective steps been taken to enhance transparency, integrity, economy, efficiency and effectiveness of procurement systems and decision making? are oversight mechanisms of audit and oversight committees of parliament operating with professionalism and independence armed with powers of surcharge and powers to refer for prosecution acts of misfeasance?
18. Have effective steps been taken to recover proceeds of crime, stolen state assets and to impose sanctions against economic crimes, misfeasance in public office, money laundering, corruption, serious frauds and illicit financial flows?
19. Have positive signals, recognitions and acknowledgements both locally and internationally, especially by key international state actors, been witnessed noting that systems changes have led to improved democratic good governance, protection of rights and freedoms, upholding the rule of law, justice, equitable treatment of all stakeholders of society, justice for victims of war, repression, control of risks and economic crimes and unjust enrichment, unfair discriminations of segments of society and effective compliance with international treaties and conventions?
20. Have strategic steps signaling that positive and thought leadership driven plans and actions meeting the needs and aspirations of the majority of citizens (including the youth, women, and elderly and vulnerable segment), entrepreneurs, investors, global markets/supply chains and value adding enterprises, a system change has begun in earnest led by visionary leaders placing the interests of the nation, its citizens and associated stakeholders their sole commitment?
If the last three months outcomes and the short term expected outcomes are not positive towards signaling the required systems and governance framework changes and thus are unlikely to effectively move Sri Lanka out of the myriad of crises facing it and only false hopes and empty promises and misrepresentations are the emerging signals along with continuing corruption and bad governance under the radar, what should caring citizens professional and intellectual community in society do to assure an acceptable future for the young and unborn citizens?
davidthegood / October 7, 2022
With the given 20 steps, if only our president shows a change of heart and releases the imprisoned but unarmed aragalaya, the world’s nations will understand there is a change of hearts and system change and will be sympathetic. But the politically hardened minds have no revelation and its just a repeat of May 9th revenge victory picture which will not solve the citizens lack. Better hold elections than have these idiotic trials without any sense of wisdom trying to improve our robbed economy. This land still has wealth.
old codger / October 8, 2022
“It is nearly three months since a new regime took office; and have they been able to attend to the needs and demands of our common citizenry……Have essentials necessary for daily life and livelihoods been made available, especially to a majority of the citizens who have been deprived ( eg. nutritious food, medicines, milk powder, fuel, “
I don’t know which country Mr. J. lives in, but I am firmly in SL, and from where I live, nobody is dying in petrol or gas queues, no one is hoarding sugar or milk powder, and fertilizer is available.
Mr. J, this country is BANKRUPT!!
Do you seriously expect Paradise in THREE MONTHS??
It seems to me that even educated Sri Lankans don’t know what bankruptcy means. Perhaps that explains a lot about the country.
Mahila / October 9, 2022
The best of my knowledge still lives, in Sri Lanka?!
Nathan / October 7, 2022
A passing thought.
Shouldn’t there be a limit to the # of words that make a sentence?
I want only the experts to speak!
Naman / October 7, 2022
What a long article, about putting the country in the RIGHT path. We can not expect these to happen with the current lots of parliamentarians. 90% of them are parasites who are still continuing to swindle tax payers money + international debts + any relief funds(Tsunami Relef Funds etc.)
Country needs a vermicide medicine urgently
cugan / October 7, 2022
How about the minorities issues, discrimination treating as 2nd calss etc
Makes everyone equal, cut out the “foremost “relegion/language ,treat all as Sri Lankans, if make fair ground for everyone, lot of diaspora willing to invest, but reality is far worst.
Govnt should focus on the betterment for the whole country, Kandy Mullahs should focus on their religious affairs,
Should come out of the palace ,travel to north,east meet the people of all kind,explain what exactly buddisam is
For us we seeing as yellow brigades.
That dosent mean to build …let the digging dept to slow it down,
Ajith / October 7, 2022
The writer clearly summarised what progress has made since the new administration towards the system change.
The country made progress in using PTA. Made sure people are at least to have one day a meal while Ministers and MPs enjoying the freedom of having 5 times a day expensive meals.
President made number of foregin trips within a month.
Foreign Minister brought victory in UNHRC.
Ministers enjoy free electricity, gas and water.
President protected all those who rob this nation including him.
What else we need?
davidthegood / October 11, 2022
Ajith, To answer your question, “What else we need”, it is urgent that leaders understand that the unarmed imprisoned aragalaya if released with kindness and compassion, could lead to less vindictive actions of those who use this opportunity to unnecessarily set on fire houses of leaders. It is wise not to provoke these evil opportunists who destroy rather than mend.