14 April, 2024


Mr. President, You Plan To Rapidly Transform The Country Into An Export Economy By Passing Two New Laws In April 2024?

By Chandra Jayaratne

Chandra Jayaratne

Dear Mr. President,

The Presidential Media Division and the Daily News released press releases and media news items titled “Country set for rapid transformation into an export economy” quoting remarks made by you at the inauguration ceremony of a historic temple in Kegalle[i]. As a caring citizen I said, “three cheers”, happily thinking that at last, the Country was on the correct governance path focusing on the creation of new strategic leadership options and policy changes to encourage present and new investors to produce tradable goods and engage in external services. I was delighted that the statement began with a reference that Sri Lanka can no longer continue to rely on borrowings (presumably external?) to address the imbalance between imports and exports, which if pursued will inevitably lead to another economic crisis within a decade.

As I read the rest of the statement, I was crying out in shame, noting that your plan for achieving such a transformation by holding discussions with the World Bank, ADB and the IMF to initiate a programme; and by passing two new laws in April? The only other reference even as a vague statement was in relation to implementing an agricultural modernization programme, where you anticipated results only after 6-7 years. Are you planning in addition to leverage the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) and its Secretariat as a part of your implementation strategy[ii] ?

I am sure that many highly competent Sri Lankan trade economists (including those who have guided you in the past), will be able to advise you on more important winning strategic policy/implementation and change management options. They would surely stress the relative importance of developing strategic networking options with supply chains in the region, assisting capable SME’s to upgrade quality/productivity, and enhancing public infrastructure productivity; along with the need to remove para tariffs, enhance ease of doing business, and one stop facilitation center benchmarking services in South Indian states. These can bring big gains, well before dreaming as your short-term goal, leveraging Free Trade Agreements with India, China, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and attempting a high jump by  joining RCEP.

[i] :https://pmd.gov.lk/news/country-set-for-rapid-transformation-into-export-economy/

[ii] https://www.presidentsoffice.gov.lk/index.php/2023/06/09/high-level-review-of-national-trade-facilitation-committee/

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Latest comments

  • 9

    If the President wants to improve the economy of the country rapidly all he has to do are:
    1. Make the Police and the Judiciary to follow the rule of law and act clean.
    2. Ensure all stolen money are brought back into the country and take legal action against the culprits.
    3. Issue a new category of permanent residency to Sri Lankan origin diaspora similar to what India has called
    Citizens of Indian Origin. This will enable those diaspora who are living abroad to invest in SL without becoming a citizen as most do not want the dual citizen status in a country where the Police and the Judiciary cannot be trusted.

    • 10

      For all that to happen, all the “Sinhala Buddhist” politicians should first stop, as entrenched “customs” dictate, mindlessly going and paying homage to the uneducated ignorant Buddhist clergy and getting “advice” from them.

      No offence to the Buddhist clergy …….. but just think about it …….. how can a group of humans cloistered in prehistoric environment of ignorance and backwardness ……. advice anyone about the modern world?

      Enlightenment is, opening your minds to the reality out there ……… not keeping it close for millennia ……. claiming/thinking that’s what Buddha meant.

      Buddha himself was a modern thinker in his time ……. who broke free from the entrenched beliefs of his era.

      The present day Buddhist clergy, should carry forward that Buddha’s tradition of enlightenment and expand the boundaries of consciousness.

      But their deeply entrenched “Sinhala Buddhist” traditions of living in a static set of beliefs and poverty of thought and mind, has brought Lanka down to this state.

      I wouldn’t hold my breath for that change to appear any time soon …… it won’t happen until the day the clergy and the politicians have to go out there and earn a honest living …….. in competition with the rest of the citizens.

      Until there are no positions of privilege for anyone. ……… If not they will try to maintain those privileges at any cost.

      • 8

        This has happened thereout history …….. where revolutions and violence has chased away the privileged ……. that lasts for a time ……. then a new set of privileges appear …… for a different set of people.

        Ranil goes AKD comes.

        Native is dead.

      • 4

        “No offence to the Buddhist clergy …….. but just think about it …….. how can a group of humans cloistered in prehistoric environment of ignorance and backwardness ……. advice anyone about the modern world?”
        Shush, stop insulting Sinh…..Bud……. You might be the recipient of dire threats from a certain quarter. In their opinion, one can acquire all necessary knowledge, from calculus to atomic physics, by simply meditating.

        • 1

          Dear OC and other rational thinkers,

          After watching this video, I got a very positive feeling about the youth of the country. The thoughts of the youth and the president are the world standard in this discourse. Proud to see.
          Some CT elderly commenters could learn from this younger generation. There is a huge gap between the boomer generation and the Z-genzers.

  • 1

    Dear Author, Chandra Jayaratne,
    Thank you for this succinct note that exposes the hypocrisy, incompetency and strategic and visionary banckruptcy of President Wickremasinghe, his party and the government. Your last para makes the most sense. Without addressing the concerns you have highlighted in the first two sentences of the said para no amount of trade agreements would work in our favour. If at all they may turn out to be detrimental by attracting rogue investors and investments that may form trade relations that are extractive in nature in the longer run. That our short sighted incompetent leaders may welcome with open arms for the ‘investments’ some of them may bring in.
    Thank you.

    PS: Did you ever wonder why this sudden rush “for rapid transformation into an export economy”?

  • 7

    “Country set for rapid transformation into an export economy”
    We have heard similar statements for very long time by the so called Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalist
    leadership for many decades by many including this unelected President RW but we reached to bankruptcy with negative economy. The two main factors that contributed to the economic crisis are domination Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism and Family influenced politics. Unless these factors remain in politics, there is no improvement in economy. The only growth we achieved is number of Buddha’s statues all around the country and expansionism of fake brutaity buddhism.

  • 5

    Only genuine Lankans think and express patriotic ideas along this line. I believe the one of the major export is the slave labour of ignorant women. General outcome is getting forex for the benefit of fat bellied politicians (who started as paupers and became multi billionaires in a few years) on the one hand and be victimised as sex slaves on the other. My query is how many of Wikramsinhes, Rajapaksas, Bandaranayakes, Jayawardenas, Senanayakes, etc among them. I would suggest some close relatives i.e. sibblings, and or own children of the rulers and administrators, every year for these menial jobs and have first hand experience in those atrocious countries.

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