30 September, 2020

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Mahinda Rajapaksa’s April 18 Lies & The Reality Of The Economy

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera – Former Finance Minister

At the time the country’s economy has been destabilized due to reckless action by the present government and I as the former finance minister completely reject the attempt by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to pass on the responsibility of their economic destabilization on the Yahapalana government.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse had released a statement on April 18, taking his political game one step further. I thought it would be better to remind that the result of this power politics that ignores the lives of the people of our country is a more tragic crime.

I do not think I should recall how the then Opposition Leader, Mahinda Rajapaksa, tried to politicize the Easter Sunday Attack in a shameless manner when it took place on April 21, 2019.

PM Mahinda Rajapaksa in his statement  has  made repeated attempts to convince that Sri Lanka had to face this corona epidemic at a time of severe economic downturn and the “Good Governance” Government was responsible for this economic debacles.

The increased GDP Growth rate shown by the MR Govt. was due to increased government expenditure due to the debt stock together with the cost of corruption  during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime which has benefited the people very little.

However, I take this opportunity to recall the key developments that the Government of Good Governance has rendered to the benefit of all the people for the economic development of this country.

* There was an unprecedented natural disaster of severe drought in  2016 and  floods in 2017  which caused a loss of 1% GDP to the economy.

* 52 days unconstitutional debacle orchestrated with the support of the Head of State in 2018 created public finance and economic havoc

* 21st April 2019 Easter Sunday terrorist attack created a set back in the tourism industry which was fast improving.

* Two party experiments in governance-stalled the speedy recovery, management and reform process.

Despite the man-made and natural disasters, the Good Governance Government has been able to bring about economic and social benefits for the people in a tangible manner.

1. Revenue of the government one of the lowest in the world by the end of 2014 at 10.5% of the GDP. Good governance government raised it above 13% of GDP. In absolute terms revenue levels doubled by the end of 2019 from what it was in 2014.

2. Not a single cent was added to basic salaries of government employees from 2006 and we from 2015 doubled the salaries of public servants in 5 years; more was added to certain sectors like, judiciary and police. Pensions of over 500,000 pensioners were nearly doubled. 

3. Pension increment due on the 1st of January 2020 benefiting nearly 90,000 pensioners was scrapped. Staff officers’ allowances were also stopped by incumbent rulers of this government.

4. During the post 2015–broad based distribution of development to over 14,000 Grama Niladari divisions across the country based on rapid rural development program- Gamperaliya began to bring about benefits of true national development was scrapped. 

5. So is the broad-based program for generating entrepreneurial culture through promotion of the private sector investment -Enterprise Sri Lanka programme was scrapped. 

6. Moragahakanda-Kaluganga with an investment outlays of about US $ 1500 Mn were successfully completed. This was thus far the biggest development program completed after the Mahaweli.Development Project.

7. Highway extension to Hambantota and Railway Line to Beliatta was completed. Highway to Kandy was partially completed. Many water supply schemes were completed island wide. 

8. With the massive investment on all manner of infrastructure programs, North and East was mainstreamed during the 5 years realizing a measure of true integration. Very comprehensive urban development program was implemented with a long-term in view. Health and education national budget locations were increased every year.

In spite of the above achievement, Sri Lanka has recorded a primary surplus in its fiscal accounts for 2017, 2018 and until we left in 2019. This was a record to highlight the successful economic management which the country has witnessed in six decades after 1954-55.

In addition, Sri Lanka maintained a healthy international relations program with all the countries benefiting everybody in the country. The then prevailing black spots by 2014 on the Sri Lanka’s international radar was completely cleaned during five years from 2015 and since then Sri Lanka had never been figured on in any issue associated with human rights, or political affairs- many of which were prevalent on daily basis prior to 2015.

Tax cut with no foresight introduced administratively effective in December 2019 has brought about a fiscal malady which will have far reaching negative consequences for many years to come. Before the two-month coming into power, Sri Lanka was downgraded by rating agencies for want of a clear program for revenue management, reserve and debt management. Sri Lanka had to beg postponement of debt repayments.

No  budget since 17th Nov 2019; Vote on Account  is going to be effective till 30th April 2020. Thereafter it is in question with no approved budget?

By now the world oil prices have come down tremendously signaling a negative value. Had the oil price formula introduced when I was the Finance minister is in force the people of this country would have had the opportunity to buy fuel at less  more than 50% of the current retail price. This government robbed the people of this facility.

The government’s short sighted economic policy has compelled it to go for money printing in millions paving the way for inflation and the debt burden has increased. As a result  Sri Lanka had to beg postponement of debt repayments.

In every disastrous event that has devastated, damaged and endangered the lives of our people, the political history of Sri Lanka has  proved that Rajapaksa political fanatics arrogated it to strengthen its power politics. The tsunami tragedy, the war against the LTTE and the Easter Sunday  attack  are just a few of the notorious instances of Rajapaksa politics.

Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa! you  have held the office of President for nearly 10 years. Anyone who remembers the serious damage done to the economy of Sri Lanka will surely feel very disgusted with these words. It is because of the 10 years of massive debt that the Rajapaksa government has taken, the commissions, the unsuccessful popular projects, the Greek bond transactions and the nepotism has lead the economy of the country in to the intensive care unit in 2015. As I have repeatedly said that good governance govt.not only helped to revive the economy but also brought the economy up to the level of a normal patient.

It doesn’t have to be easy or simple. We had to repay even the biggest installment of the debt obtained by them in the history of the country. . It is to liberate the country from the burden of huge commercial loans obtained by Rajapaksa govt. with the intention of making quick bucks as commissions. Instead of the commercial loans for large scale projects  if the Rajapaksa Government had concluded them as the BOO/BOT project loan the  economy would not have gone to this level.

I should say that it is in this backdrop that the economy of the country, as you have mentioned, has led to the most catastrophic situation due to short-sighted political decisions taken by the caretaker government of  President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa in which you are also the Prime Minister which came in to office in late 2019. Every relief provided by the Yahapaalana government to the people were cut under the guise of popular tax cut by this government where you function as the finance minister and the prime minister. It was you as the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister of this government  who made the cuts under the guise of popular tax cuts every relief provided by the yahapaalana government to the people.

The government of Sri Lanka has not expressed any concern about the coronavirus when it was spreading  in December 2019 in the world. Although the first coronavirus infection was identified on January 27, the government did not care for the safety of the people.

It is to be reminded  that even from the beginning of the Corona Plague, this government had enough time to formulate and implement a successful program to protect the lives of the people of this country.

However, due to the negligence of the government or certain actions of the government, while the coronavirus is gradually spreading in Sri Lanka, the government was in power greed made use the provisions of  Article 70 (1) of the Constitution read with Article 33 (2) (c) of the Constitution is a concession to the power of the Government  It is ridiculous for you to point out that only the provisions relating to the powers conferred by the President under Article 150 (3) of the Constitution have been conducive to the crisis created by your government itself. Even in the face of such a tragedy, your government wanted to dissolve the Parliament that is otherwise in force until September this year and make their political power project a success. A pandemic appeared, and the Parliament was dissolved not because of a national interest or a political crisis but simply because of the political will of the Rajapaksas, including you.

The true meaning of this statement is  that people will have to risk their lives to enable the government to consolidate their power. I totally reject that statement, which confirms your shameless political character.

However, as an opposition we are ready to work together to support the safety of the entire country at any time.Our Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Opposition Leader  Sajith Premadasa have stated on several previous occasions that we are prepared to assist the government as an opposition. I remind it once again.

We will not support the political fanaticism of the government including you. However, we are ready to assist the country to be free from the coronal epidemic and to end all efforts to protect human lives.

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Latest comments

  • 15
    1

    Although I agree with you, don’t you think you should also place the blame of Ranil and the Ministers of Justice Law and Order for not taking those who bribed to court and ensuring that the cases were conducted without repeated postponements?

    • 12
      4

      Buddhist,

      as one who studied it being outside, I dont think Ranil could do lot more than he did, under the leadership of that PULLIGONA Sirisena: Sirisena was the president who never respected the pledges made bfore the nation. So, Ranil s position was very difficult.. as I see it today.
      But today s situation is different, because both duo are blood related and they have their own exp prior to 2015.
      Apart from that, today you dont see any kind of unbiased media institutions that have balls to come forward and reveal lot more.. about the shortcomings of the criminal duo right ?
      :
      All along during the previous govt, Basil Rajakshes was the person who stood behind main stream media mafia of the country. Even if MINISTRY of Health and Mangala s ministries achieved a lot but none of them were painted as achievements because media stood against the govt.
      :
      I think looking back, this govt under Gota achived nothing sofar compared to the first 6 months of the previous govt. Thanks to them only, even today we have been able to save the people from COVID 19 let alone to this levels. Why I am telling that is, until ELECTION commission decided to cancell the election, bp duo was in the view that they should go for the elections.
      :
      There had been no EC under previous totalitarian govt of Mafia boss remember ? Today s style is also no different… yet today the bugger duo seem to be far from getting it,… how can they think of governing this country without reconvening the parliament in today s context. That is definitely a constitutional violation. There they can nt interpret going by their stupid thinking. He on this other hand sworn in that he would adhere to the constitution. May well be the uneducated men would take much more time to realize even the simple paragraphs:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7N0eVrGxpxg
      :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW6mf-saa8s

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KTHXi1VRt0

      May the gods come forwards and punish the duo ASAP.

  • 9
    5

    Thank you, Mangala, for countering the arguments put forward by “the family” who strive to retain control of us all by exploiting racism and other prejudices. On some matters like the price of petrol, I don’t agree with you. Let the State channel the savings from lower costs in purchasing fuel to something of more lasting value.
    .
    Stick to the essential principles that mark you out from the other politicians that this land is cursed with. Some of the things that you say here may come to haunt you if you attain the position that you deserve. Move away from the politics of patronage and promises.
    .
    It is true that you have kept to your topic, but rather than making those promises, I think that it would be effective for you to express sympathy for the suffering of the people, which is being ignored by the military dictator, Gota.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvJWpCAO6Bo
    .
    I haven’t listened to that yet. No time, and can’t afford the payment for data. Last night I did listen to this Trevor interviewing Governor Cuomo of New York. It may be that our politicians should be more honest in facing up to issues.

    • 10
      3

      Dear Sinhala Man,
      I still feel that GOTA could be no that dangerous for some reasons. It is he has lived in the US for a period of 15 long years. But problem with him, is he has failed to stand against his brother Mahinda who is proved to be the most abusive politician that the mother lanka ever produced. See, those who are in ground root levels today, support him are thugs and unedcuted bastards. And those media mafia runners in the country are thugs and business men that would go on supporting him regardless of what he has been doing is against constitutional provisions. And Mahinda is a shamless guy as proved in recent past.
      At the time, he was about to loose their seats in the parliament, that BP Mahinda Samaraweera as the secretary of UPFA issued a statement that none of the JOINT oppo men left SLFP. That then was instrumental them all to stay further in the parliament. Remember ?
      Sirisena though a fool, I now feel he was bit better than Nandasena Gota.
      Gota may be good by his thoughts and minds, but it is obvious, his reactions are very much submissive to his elder brothers. He lacks the widom a leader should bring with.
      Alone not to have done the due regarding closing down of BIA and Colombo harbour as of early March is the biggest blunder. There the nation cant forgive him any more.
      We are an island nation, we could also control it as Thaiwan, UK, Japan, and several other like minded countries did it.
      UK s death tolls are connected with varioius other reasons. None of them can be comparable that of SRILANKENs.

  • 14
    5

    During the war, GR(Mahinda Family) earned billions on MIC deals and armed deals, Chinese investment deals (Hmabantota). At the end of the they started attack on Muslims and there planned Easter Bombing & attack on hotels and Basils 15% deals made them billionaires. It is not a secret that they robbed everything. The poor administration and failure to catch those robbers gave them the chance to come back. They have not changed and they strengthened their power and Corona gave them the opportunity justify their militarisation. They want to have the election before the country become normal to put the blame on the previous regime. The country has to face the real nature of the dictatorship because there will be no parliament in future.

  • 7
    3

    Dear Mr Samaraweera,

    people in our home country in general would not know what lies and what not – to date, the media have made them utter fools for their own surivival. Those two channels that hve won the hearts and minds of the people through daily telecasting TELEDRAMA, SUPERSTAR or the like programs, according to the stupid viewer mentality, allow go on with fake news on and on.
    I really dont know why the srilanken average mind set is that indifferent today… while far poor nations in TRIBAL affica has been improving today so rapidy manner. Just take Ethiopia, they the many in that coutnry are into their economic growth through – trade pacts being made between rich nations. But in our hell, just naming a pact would be an aggressive pathogen to them. It is not based on their hearted feelings, but being serivle to some vicious politicians and their political masturbations. Those who oppose such pacts would not care to sign them when they are in power.

    Alone the FORMULAR you yourself introduced to OIL prices in the country was treated with vengeance but today I notice, each and every country europe are used to it setting such formular to be changed almost every minute. Why on earth our BPs did not notice it ? just because abusive Rajakashes spread lies through their biased media institutions, they were able to succeeded their perceptions being established in the society. So long people would not see it by their own, this can be repeated regardless of any good steps being introduced to them.

  • 4
    3

    Mr Samaraweera

    There is no point in passing the blame & pointing fingers at each other. The Rajapakse supporters are not willing to accept the massive corruption, nepotism, mismanagement & investment blunders, such as, the Greek bonds & hedging deals, & white elephant projects which squandered public funds but at the same time, your Yahapalanaya govt. is equally responsible promoting cronyism & turning a blind eye, legitimising insider trading (AKA the Bond scam) & allowing an incompetent & dithering President & blatantly corrupt Ministers, such as, Ravi K, to amass fortunes, yet get away unscathed because a lame PM was unable to crack the whip.

    Instead of forcing RW to step down democratically by party members for continued lack of leadership & failure, the upstart, Premadasa jnr, who probably thought that the UNP leadership was his old man’s legacy to him, created a rebellion, breaking up the party. Now that he has started his own party, it is better he goes his own way. The UNP, under a suitable leader, now has an opportunity to reform the party by getting rid of the remaining dead wood & undesirables, thereby, reinventing itself as a party of competent & able leaders to govern the country in this crucial time. I am sure the party can reach out to the civil society who will come forward if not for yob politicians running the party.

    At present, the only, somewhat, credible opposition is from the JVP but it is not strong enough to counter the Rajapakse might. Premadas jnr., despite his educational credentials & years in Parliament, has been riding on his old man’s popularity & yet to prove himself as a modern reformist. So, Mr Samaraweera, get a credible opposition sorted, instead of finding excuses for the Yahapalanaya govt. It is the failure of Yahapalanaya that brought back the Rajapakses to power.

  • 0
    0

    No doubt Mangala Samaraweera stands out as an honest politician, but he was alone among a den of thieves.
    After promising good governance and a corrupt-free administration the bond scam became an embarrassing, costly and high-blown scandal that damaged the image of the government beyond repair. The duty-free high ended vehicle licences given to the MPs, PC ministers and members emptied the Treasury. It was an exercise in anti-thesis to the concept of good governance. That money should have been spent on village development. Some Ministers like Rauf Hakeem, Lakshman Kiriella, Sajith Premadasa and others gave hundreds of appointments to their lackeys paying monthly about Rs.250,000 at state expense. It was exactly like what the previous government did. There was no budgetary provision for such appointments.

    The good governance achieved impressive gains in creating space for democracy and a semblance of progress in bringing reconciliation among the different communities. Crimes like murder and abduction by the armed forces came to a virtual end. Of course, trade unions like the GMOA, All Ceylon University Students Union, Railway etc. misused the freedom by launching strikes.

    The Gamperlia programme boosted the rural economy, but it came late in the day.

    After the first year in power, President Sirisena became a thorn in the flesh of the UNP led government. He was acting like a bull in a china shop. Surrounded by his cronies, he behaved like a drunken sailor after power and greed.

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