19 September, 2018

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Observations On The State Of The Economy & The Budget 2016

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Venerable members of the Maha Sangha, clergymen of all other faiths, and friends, I was happy to avail myself of this opportunity to address you on certain matters that I consider important in the budget for 2016. Before we can speak of the budget, we need to briefly examine the overall economic situation in the country.

When I handed over power to a new government on January 9 this year, the economy was on a very sound footing. In the nine years of my government, the per capita income grew threefold increasing from 1,241 USD in 2005 to 3,654 USD in 2014. In the last five years between 2010 and 2014, the growth rates were 8%, 8.2%, 6.3%, 7.3% and 7.4% respectively. Even at the height of the war between 2006 and 2009 the average growth rate was 6%. Inflation was maintained at a low average of 6% during the five years from 2010 to 2014. The US Dollar was Rs. 131.05 when the year ended in 2014. It had been held steady at Rs. 127 – 131 from 2011 to 2014. Between 2006 to 2009 the unemployment rate averaged 5.9% and after the war it declined to 4.3% between 2010 and 2014.

There was a steady increase in foreign reserves from 2,735 million USD in 2005 to a record 8,208 million USD by the end of 2014.Government expenditure as a percentage of the GDP was 24.3% in 2006 and remained at an average of 23.8% during the war years up to 2009. From 2010 onwards there was a steady decline in government expenditure year after year until it was reduced to 18.2% in 2014. Government debt as a percentage of GDP was 90.6% in 2005 when I assumed power and this too was reduced every year till it reached 75.5% in 2014 – the lowest level achieved in 35 years. The foreign debt component of the total government debt was 39% in 2005 and this was reduced every year till it reached 31.8% in 2014.Interest rates were held steady at around 7 to 9% from 2010 to 2014. When I assumed office at the end of 2005, the All Share Price Index was 1,922 and the market capitalisation of the CSE was Rs. 584 billion. By the time I relinquished office, the ASPI had gone up to 7,299 and the market capitalisation of the CSE to Rs.3,104.9 billion.

Since the change of government, there has been a palpable downturn in the economy. Work on many development projects was halted. Not a single new development project has been initiated since January this year.  Foreign reserves declined from 8.2 billion USD to 6.4 billion USD in a matter of months.  The Rupee depreciated from Rs.131 to the Dollar at the beginning of January this year to around Rs. 145 today. The IMF has indicated that economic growth this year could decline to 5.5%. The tea and rubber industries are in the throes of an unprecedented crisis. The bumper paddy harvest which should have been cause for a national celebration instead turned into a tale of woe for the cultivators who were unable to sell their paddy for the guaranteed price announced by the government.

The ASPI went down below the 7000 mark after the change of government and has remained largely stagnant hovering around this mark with no momentum. The market has remained bearish rather than bullish. Foreign holdings of Sri Lanka government securities have gone down from Rs. 452 billion at the end of December 2014 to Rs.303 billion by the third week of November this year – a drop of more than one billion USD indicating a lack of confidence in Sri Lanka’s future prospects. This depletion of foreign reserves has the potential to cause a balance of payments crisis in the near future. During 2015 the new government issued foreign currency bonds valued at a total of 2,150 million USD at an average interest rate of 6.5%. This is equal to the cost of all three phases of the Norochcholai power plant, the Hambantota Port, the Mattala Airport, and the Southern Expressway up to Matara all put together. Yet not a single development project has been initiated by this government. All the money borrowed from overseas at unprecedented rates of interest was for consumption and meeting day to day expenses. In October this year, the limit on issuing treasury bills was increased from Rs. 850 billion to Rs.1,250 billion and the government continues to print money with reckless abandon.

All this has been happening in a situation where there was a sharp decline in the price of crude oil since the beginning of this year from an average well over 100 USD between 2011 and 2014 to below 50 USD throughout 2015. Petroleum is our biggest single import item and the halving of prices was a substantial saving for the economy. Coupled to this is the fact that rains have been abundant throughout this year further reducing fuel imports for electricity generation. The coal power plant too has been in uninterrupted production and there has been a substantial saving on energy costs this year. Despite such favourable conditions, the government has placed the country in the throes of an unprecedented crisis due to economic mismanagement. The new government’s first fully fledged budget for the year 2016 comes in such a context. This budget seeks to make certain radical changes which raise serious concerns. I wish to highlight some of the most harmful proposals as follows:

1.      Foremost among the budget proposals that I am unable to agree with is the sweeping programme of privatisation. Strategic government owned entities such as the Norochchcolai power plant, the hydro electricity plants, the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, operations of the Hambantota and Colombo ports, the Katunayake and Mattala Airports the Water Supply and Drainage Board and all such bodies are to be brought under one public quoted company, the shares of which will be sold to investors on the stock market and this mega company is to operate as a profit making business. I believe that public utilities like water, electricity, transport and fuel supply should not be run as profit making businesses, but as services to the people. Charges for these services should be fixed with the wellbeing of the public in mind. Therefore I am opposed to the privatisation of these strategic government owned entities. I wish to remind this government that the people of this country have not given their approval for any privatisation of these assets and on that basis, I wish to caution possible acquirers of such state assets, that a future government will not hesitate to vest the ownership of such assets in the people once again.

2.      According to the budget proposals, certain named non-strategic enterprises in which the government holds equity such as Lanka Hospitals, Hilton Hotel, Waters Edge, Grand Oriental Hotel and Mobitel are to be sold off to the public outright. These are profitable enterprises that contribute to the non-tax revenue of the government. I see no reason why these enterprises should be sold off other than the present government’s insatiable thirst for quick cash.

3.      I also cannot agree to the proposal to allow land to be given on long leases to foreigners without the taxes introduced by my government. The last time the UNP government liberalised land ownership, the Galle Fort and a good part of the Southern coastline passed out of Sri Lankan hands. This kind of policy may bring in some foreign exchange in the short term, but will have serious long term implications.

4.      Another unacceptable and potentially catastrophic proposal is to liberalise the import of cheap tea to be blended and re-exported. This will cause an immediate decline in the demand for locally produced tea. Hundreds and thousands of small holders and estate workers depend on the production of tea in this country. The proposal to allow the importation of tea will benefit a few tea exporters, but will deprive hundreds of thousands of people of their livelihood. Solutions have to be found for problems like the high cost of production and low productivity without destroying the tea industry.

5.      I am also opposed to the phasing out of the fertiliser subsidy and the free school uniforms by issuing vouchers and giving cash grants instead of the fertiliser and the cloth. Both these can be categorised as production subsidies. These are not consumption subsidies. The fertiliser subsidy had a lot to do with making the country self sufficient in rice.

6.      I am also opposed to bringing new recruits to the government service under a contributory pension scheme from 2016 onwards. The pension is a privilege that the government servants enjoy and it should continue. My government wanted to create a completely new contributory pension fund for private sector workers, but without amalgamating or in any way touching the existing EPF or ETF. The present government however, wants to amalgamate the EPF and ETF and create a contributory pension fund out of it for private sector employees. Nothing of the sort should be done without the concurrence of the private sector trade unions. Furthermore, the administration of the EPF should not be moved out of the Central Bank.

It is with profound disappointment that I also note the fraudulent manner by which the government has tried to convey the impression of increased spending on education. Though Rs 186 billion has been allocated for education in 2016, two thirds of this amount is taken up by just one item – Capital Carrying Cost of Government Lands & Buildings – which means the year’s value of the government buildings and lands used for education. You cannot consider the present value of what has been built with past allocations to be an ‘expenditure’ item for the coming year.

The approach of the budget is not consistent with the ideology of the SLFP even though the SLFP is supposed to be a partner in this government. Historically, the SLFP (with the exception of the 1994-2001 government) had built up national assets and placed trust in local entrepreneurship. The selling off of valuable state assets and enterprises has been the practice of UNP since 1977. After I became President in 2005, I halted all sale of state owned assets and the selling lands to foreigners. No true member of the SLFP or progressive UPFA member can support this unbridled liberalism that make our nations dependent on the West for survival. We must build a production based economy and promote domestic entrepreneurs to the maximum and help them compete and win in the global economy. This budget like all UNP budgets has placed trust on foreigners and imports.

While the budget provides extensive concessions to foreigners, it places considerable burdens on the ordinary people such as the vehicle emission tax, increase in passport charges, motorcycle, trishaw, lorry, handtractor and vehicle duties, licence fees, etc. The pledge to add the Rs.10,000 allowance to the basic salaries of public servants has been sidestepped. If the Central Bank were to curtail its foreign exchange market intervention, many traders expect further sharp declines in the value of the Rupee. With the depreciation of the currency, the debt levels of the government will soar and rising inflation will lead to a higher cost of living and higher interest rates, resulting in macro-economic instability. With banks being asked to exit the leasing industry, there may be an unnecessary increase in vehicle leasing costs. The move to guarantee all deposits of all finance companies will place an unacceptable burden on the Central Bank which in turn has the potential to destabilise the entire financial system.

The gross fiscal irresponsibility displayed in the mini-budget earlier this year has continued in this budget as well. The government expects total government revenue to increase from an estimated Rs. 1,478 billion in 2015 to Rs. 2,047 billion in 2016 – a year on year increase of Rs. 569 billion. This increase was to come from a Rs. 300 billion increase in tax income and a threefold increase in non-tax revenue from an estimated Rs. 126 billion in 2015 to Rs. 378 billion in 2016. Projecting an increase of anything more than Rs. 50 to 100 billion in government revenue year on year should be done with immense caution.

No responsible government will project a near 40% increase in tax revenue. The projected 300% increase in non-tax revenue in 2016 is obviously from the sale of the earmarked government owned entities which means there will be a sharp increase in non-tax revenue in 2016 and virtually nothing thereafter. It should be borne in mind that the tax and non-tax revenue for 2015 has also not yet been collected fully and it may well be that given the downturn in economic activity this year, the projected amounts may not be realised in 2015 – thus increasing the gap between the amounts actually collected in 2015 and the revenue projections for 2016. When the projected revenue fails to materialise, there will be cuts in expenditure. Since salaries and other such recurrent expenditure have to be met no matter what, the cuts will mostly be in capital expenditure.

Hence what we are looking at is yet another year without any development at all. Even foreign funded projects will not get off the ground if the government does not have the money to pay the 15% upfront local component. Despite an attempt to create an impression of a populist budget with reductions in the price of gas and several foodstuffs and lower income tax rates, the budget as a whole is guaranteed to drag the country backwards. The Achilles heel of this government is fiscal and external sector management, which has placed the entire country on a ticking fiscal and balance-of-payments time-bomb.

Thank you.

*Text of the speech made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita on 28 November 2015

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Latest comments

  • 34
    6

    Your govt cooked up figures as you wanted else would there be fraud and corruption investigations against you, P.B. Jayasundera (former sec.Ministry of Finance) and Nivard Cabral (former Governor of Central Bank)?
    Also, when you took over as President there was more gold in the Central Bank, more money with the people of this country and less money in your family’s foreign bank accounts.

    • 32
      7

      BULL SHIT, Mahinda Jarapassa – you should be hung, drawn and quartered for the billions you stole from our national per capita income!

      Per capita income of 3,650$ in 2014?! My ASS! Is this bugger Jarapassa insane?!

      20 percent of Lanka lives on less than 2$ a day and income inequality has sowed because Maindha Jarapassa and his family and cronies stole so much from the people of Lanka.

      This bugger, Jarapassa, should be locked up for peddling Bullshit with his so called Economic Minister Basil who stole from the Samurdhi poverty fund. Basil is a high school drop out and the figures were fiction, income inequality has soared.

      Jarapassa please commit suicide.

      • 15
        3

        DECENT PUBLIC TRANSPORT needs to be on the agenda for ordinary people and elderly to travel in decent transport and for cities like COlombo to have decent rapid transport is a must. Singapore has air conditioned buses and we need them in cities.

        Jarapassa has forgotten his Hambantota White Elephants and the massive national debt on every citizen of Lanka.

        He goes around in Benz cars and invents statistics instead of talking about real needs of people.

        Last week commuters attacked train driver. The public transport in the Miracle of Modayas is appalling. The trains and buses are over crowded, people travel like cattle, the stations have stinky toilets and cafes. People who travel like animals, behave like animals. Even though decent public transport should be an UREGENT POLICY PRIORITY The Minister of Transport is a clown – Nimal SIripala Silva and nothing will be done. Colombo needs a sky train on the Battaramulla, Mt. Lavinia and Nogegoda lines to ease traffic congestion and pollution. Yet all the focus is on CAR PERMITS for the political and administrative elites.
        The UNDP waxes poetic on climate change but does not pursue a serious agenda of decent public transport in cities because the car manufacturers are so powerful and benefit the Western countries and Japan.

      • 8
        1

        See the vibrancy we experience today- even king of the all varioius type of thieves too have right to add his thoughts in today s press freedom permitted world. Was that the case in MR s regime during the last few years ? That alone say, how the things work today for the lankens and any others who are interested in SL issues.

      • 8
        1

        Figures galore by MR to confuse, confound, diddle, muddle and cheat a nondescript audience. Information false and falsified will take MR nowhere.

  • 22
    3

    Bloody [Edited out]., if you have the balls, go to the parliament and take up issue in the legislature and do something meaningful for the fools who voted you to be an MP, instead of talking to Maha Sangha and the gullible masses.

    We know that you are an actor turned politician and also a Tsunami Crook, who swindled the devastated people’s money and went on to pillage the country to it’s core.

    It is a tragedy that, even your successor is towing the same line. What a legacy you have left behind for us to cope with. You have corrupted our society to the tilt and ridding the cancer you have inflicted has become next to impossible.

    The only good thing is there is no racial tensions after you have gone, let us at least cherish that.

    • 13
      3

      Ansar

      If you could for a moment put yourself in his shoes perhaps you may understand.

      He and his clan controlled nearly 40 to 50% of the Budget since 2010. Here is some stats:

      2010 – 40%

      2011 – 39.4%

      2012 – 50%

      2013 – 47.90%

      2014 – 49.60%

      2015 – 55.7% (Expected).

      The stupid people have cheated him in Jan 15.

      It seems that he has been suffering from withdrawal syndrome since Sirisena denied him the third opportunity.

      He must be counting his forgone income for the next five years.

      • 3
        6

        Dear Native,

        We have Southern Expressway, Katunayaka Expressway, Mattala Airport , Hambantota Harbour. and fully carpeted A 9 for your Vellala mates to rest their bums in comfort, all the way to Yarlpanam.

        Thousands of Dalits were earning a quid, at least shovelling dirt for the comfort. of the Elite, when they were driving their hybrids.

        And Marine Drive was clean when the Vellalas take off on their power walks in the morning, to burn out the ghee in Masala Thosai. and Ulundu Vadai.

        What have Batalanada and Boru Sira have done for nearly 12 months now.

        Not much except White Court , with imported Judges,

        Plus LKR 22.5 Million commission cheque to Perpetual every month to share with Malik, courtesy of a Singaporean,but of course with our Tax money.

        Another mammoth commission cheque is in the offing , this time for the Sira clan when the acquisition of Hutchinson goes through for USD 100 Million.if Harin’s Lid can contain the enthusiasm of Galleon & Kumaran.

        And the Singaporean again will have to organize the funding, because even our Colombo Elite can’t cough out that much Dosh in FX unless the UNP London and their new ally Surendran’s British Tiger Forum chip in.

        And if the Budget gets through we will have Onions growing in our paddy fields,

        Or forgot to mention that porno star Sonny entertaining the Colombo Elite at the Ballagio..

        And Batalanda has waved the Deposit to get in to the Casinos.

        How cool..

        Didn’t realize how well endowed the chick is, until my mate showed me a clip after I mentioned to him about her appearance to entertain our Elite in Colombo..

        Wonder whether your mate Ansar will have a spin at the Roulette with his UNP Mayor in Colombo who is a self claimed Casino tragic, while watching Leoni in action..

        • 5
          0

          KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera

          You can’t go on like this forever.

          Find some creative writers to help you with your typing. If not here is a solution for you to enhance your energy and creativity:

          Read excerpts

          Just hit tab: why Silicon Valley techies are dropping LSD at work

          Full name: Lysergic acid diethylamide.

          Age: First synthesised by Dr Albert Hoffman in Switzerland in 1938.

          Appearance: Small squares of paper with pretty pictures on them.

          Indications: When you want to laugh continuously for no reason for several hours while the walls melt and the carpet turns into almost like a sea of microscopic creatures. Also, when you have a tricky day ahead at work.

          Smoking high-strength cannabis may damage nerve fibres in brain

          Seriously? Taking acid at work? Yes. According to reports, LSD microdosing is now widespread in Silicon Valley offices.

          Isn’t it quite hard to debug software when your monitor is the mouth of a giant fish and all the code is just strands of flesh and seaweed caught in its teeth? Yes, that would be challenging, but this is microdosing – taking such a small amount of acid, or mushrooms, that the effect is only just noticeable and never becomes a full-blown trip. It’s said to enhance energy and creativity, and LSD lacks the addictiveness and physical side effects of traditional performance-enhancing drugs such as speed or Ritalin.

          Yeah. Traditional performance-enhancing drugs are so lame. CNN quotes a Cisco employee called Kevin Herbert. “There was a case where I had been working on a problem for over a month,” Herbert said. “And I took LSD, and I just realised: ‘Wait, the problem is in the hardware. It’s not a software issue at all.’”

          Far out. You may scoff, but quite a few computing pioneers were psychedelic drug users. Steve Jobs reportedly considered it one of the most important things he’d ever done.

          I thought he was a massive control freak? Maybe the acid smoothed him out.

          theguardian.com

          • 0
            3

            Dear Native,

            Are you still on LSD?.

            Now I can guess not only your age but your mental capacity as well…

        • 1
          1

          K A S,

          They say proof of the pudding is in the eating, no ? I was promised a pudding in January., still waiting to see it.

          Meanwhile, lets see how many new roads and infrastructure projects the New Pudding People create., my guess is that big fat zero

          Just like in the past where America was BFF, we will get pretty much nothing except a whole heap of condescension and assurances that we are now “On The Right Path”..

          • 0
            3

            Dear Native,

            Are you still on LSD?.

            Now I can guess not only your age but your mental capacity as well…

            • 2
              0

              KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera,

              “K.A Sumanasekera
              December 1, 2015 at 11:48 am”

              “K.A Sumanasekera
              December 1, 2015 at 11:50 am”

              You snapped, even before taking the stuff.

              Were you already on high?

              Take it easy KASmaa, I can assure you, that you will never be asked to fix a computer problem.

          • 0
            2

            M M.

            Batalanda’s American buddies only know how to destroy Infrastructure.

            Our Colombo Elite ,and Anglicans have been on rich X Mas cake with extra almond icing, while you are waiting for the Pudding.

            The way things are going our Dalits wouldn’t get even broken rice and pol sambol..

            Vellalas wouldn’t know X Mas cake except perhaps Abraham. who seems very quiet after getting booed and threatened by the Aussie Tigers down under.

            Vellala Sambandan is so clever that he hired our one time custodians of the Sinhala Buddhist Rural inhabitants the JVP to do the dirty work on our Sinhala Pollies in Parliament.

  • 19
    3

    The writing is definitely not MR’s. One of MR’s stooges has become very active suddenly. This physician should have healed himself during his tenure. He could not do it then. After messing up everything and making it very very hard for the incumbent government – now he is talking. He can still talk like this because both MS and RW are not cruel like him. Keep on talking MR until they come to the end of their thether and start taking drastic action LEGALLY.

  • 13
    3

    Mahinda Rajapaksa

    RE: Observations On The State Of The Economy & The Budget 2016

    “Text of the speech made by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpita on 28 November 2015”

    Did you distribute Sil Clothes, “Sil Redi” as well ?

    You Say:

    “When I handed over power to a new government on January 9 this year, the economy was on a very sound footing. In the nine years of my government, the per capita income grew threefold increasing from 1,241 USD in 2005 to 3,654 USD in 2014. In the last five years between 2010 and 2014, the growth rates were 8%, 8.2%, 6.3%, 7.3% and 7.4% respectively. Even at the height of the war between 2006 and 2009 the average growth rate was 6%. Inflation was maintained at a low average of 6% during the five years from 2010 to 2014. The US Dollar was Rs. 131.05 when the year ended in 2014. It had been held steady at Rs. 127 – 131 from 2011 to 2014. Between 2006 to 2009 the unemployment rate averaged 5.9% and after the war it declined to 4.3% between 2010 and 2014.”

    The difference this time is that, you are coming up with figures that may be checked independently, because you have a track record of lying, such as saying that Mattala Airport Makes money when planes fly overhead, and the 8-month old baby saying Jayaweva, even before saying Amma and Thatta.

    Assuming the figures you cite are ACCURATE, you do have a great point. However, your claims need to be wetted by an independent economist, who is NOT BRIBED, to get second and third opinions.

    Facts and truths, even if it comes from from liars, will ultimately prevail.

  • 19
    5

    Why on earth is CT giving this thug and criminal publicity. He is a nothing now and these articles written by the fossilized and brainless and atrophied DJs and GLs should not be published. CT, don’t waste your readers time by publishing this crap.

  • 17
    6

    You cheap scumbag. you ruined the economy with the massive corruption that you and your family perpetrated. You have demeaned the presidency by now coming back as an ordinary parliamentarian. You should be ashamed of yourself and if you have any self respect don’t open your corrupt mouth from which lies and stink emanates. Getting these articles written by your scumbag cronies is not going to change the impression the people have of your decadent and brutal regime. CT should not be allowing such articles to be published. would like to know what stand CT will take if other parliamentarians also write such crap to be published.

  • 18
    5

    Probably MR is the most foolish head of the state ever elected in this country.

    Now he blames Yahapalana Group of Companies. Instead he should blame himself for his removal from office for his foolishness, 2 years before the end of his term of office.

  • 10
    4

    According to international expert Rohan, Mrs Srimavo Banda told him what her husband did in 1956 was the root cause of many problems that emerged subsequently.
    Whether Mahinda’s above speech has merits or not is secondary. If he is honest and sincere that Mother Lanka should go forward and do well, he should have made this speech in parliament. But he chose to deliver it from Abhayarama Temple in Narahenpitiya. He has not learnt from the mistakes and blunders SWRD the founder leader of SLFP made.

    Will the majority of the real patriotic citizens of Sri Lanka agree with concluding message of Tisarane Gunasekera from the district of Maha Nuwara? She wrote : ie – ” the past is not a place we can afford to return to even for a short visit “.
    Sadly Mahinda has started to use Religion as a short cut to come back to power again with the help of gang of 4 and other extremists.

  • 10
    4

    Did Mahinda made this speech in parliament first ? If not why not ?
    Parliament is the supreme place for all the political matters of the country.
    When politics is mixed with religions the country will never come out of the mess that set in in 1956.
    I stand corrected but this was the message given to LLRC by an International expert who was a former proud or smart patriot of SriLanka who boasted to “Mawbima” that he loves the country and never give up his citizenship or something like that.

  • 11
    4

    I still cannot understand why you choose to discuss the Budget and the state of the economy from a venue other than the Parliament. In a way as an elected MP from Kurunegala, you are not representing your own constituency and the constituents in the venue that such representatives must contribute to the governance of the country. I have yet to see you participating in a meaningful way on matters relating to Government in the Parliament. Is it because you are so incapable to stand on your feet and speak or at least read from a written statement? OR is it that you do not have any confidence or care for that institution called the Parliament? If you do chooses to air out opinion on matters of importance of Governance from outside the Parliament, I suggest you tender your resignation from that peoples’ constituency and give that chance to someone who can represent them in Parliament, the proper venue for guiding the destiny of the country.

    As for your past records, the worst damage you did was to FIRMLY establish a CULTURE of “Corruption”; “Cronyism” and “Family Banditry” and that has eaten into our whole of physical structure including that of Governance. Even you did not spare the Judiciary in that pursuit and we are struggling so hard to bring about a change. You speak of those “Public Ventures” that are slated to be handed down to “Private Sector” participation and find fault with for such economic moves. Yes, we know it and also why you are against such a move. You are the one who CONVERTED those Public Ventures to “CASH COWS” to your benefit and that of your cronies and family. One good example is the Sri Lankan Airline. Where is your Brother-in-Law who has to answer for “Mismanagement” and “Frauds” committed? Even when you campaigned for election you plundered the Public Venture funds (e.g. SLTB;SLT,SATHOSA;etc) and compelled those gullible executives to commit financial frauds and today they are struggling to explain their involvements in courts. You know what your closest CONFIDANTE, Sajin Vass did during your tenure of office and also you are well aware how your Governor of the Central Bank behaved in signing those “Agreements” to hire services of Public Relations agencies in USA and the purchase of real estates in some countries that are being now questioned by the Auditor General and how he “cooked up Accounts” to give that “Rosy Picture” you now speak of.

    Mr. Rajapakse, why don’t you contemplate on your past sins with assistance from those CLERGY in the temples and churches and kovils and make genuine attempt to reform yourself during the coming years. You are now seventy (70) years old and isn’t it high time to practice “SAMMA VAYAMA” (Right Effort) for PURIFICATION of your CONSCIENCE – some may call it SOUL or ATHMA. Please think of it SERIOUSLY. Isn’t it better than indulging in this analysis of muddled politics for which you are mostly responsible?

  • 7
    8

    Well, can’t argue with his numbers so may as well try to discredit him by villifying his appearance, moustache, family background or something else,

    right boys ?

    By the way, his numbers are EASILY verifiable if one really wants to do so. But lets take the easy, Lankan way out, hey ?

  • 12
    8

    I am from the Kurunegala District. This clown of a politician is supposed to represent us in parliament. For heavens sake why does he not speak up in Parliament without “defeacating” in temples. He dares not. Why ? he will then have to face the wrath of his fellow MPs and he cannot defend himself. Also this so called speech of his is obviously not his own. May have been written by PBJ or Nivard C. The country should know at least now that MR is a FOOL / Idiot who got thrown into power.

    Btw, My regrets for having called him a clown. Clowns are good men. This guy is a CROOK, CHEAT and Bluggard. Resign from parliament for the sake of the Kurunegala people and let some one else represent us in a proper manner.

    The Kurunegala voterswere taken for a good ride by this rascal

    • 2
      4

      Why not in parliament???? Because CT is a good place where yahapalanaya sychophants are looking at! Good place than parliament noh, to get them see the reality they don’t see?

    • 2
      0

      Kiribanda, you may be right.

      But is it not because of the stupid majority folks that we too have to suffer today- So long those majoirty gawkyy monkeys would go on supporting MR and his wandibattayas nothing would change in this country. Right at the moment – almost everyone put the blame on MY3 to have appointed MR men as ministers to his cabinet. Were their any other option RW and MY3 in selecting ministers ? Had RW appointed young men as candidates, what could have been the case – when considering how Harin Fernando performs. All in all UNP has no more senior men to lead the ministries and while knowing that only way out would be to decide for former corrupted men of the MR regime.
      It is very unfair to put the blame on current rulers since they have no better option. They have to go through the current kind of a national govt. And it will take some time to realize all these. Until MR and his key thugs are convicted, it will take few more years. Time will show us how the current govt would work to corner all high corrupted men of MR. Even today, all thease men work underground to topple the current govt. Most of them are so corrupted as nothing can be comparable to them.

  • 5
    2

    Privatization is not band, the question will bed how they manage it.

    Even Mahinda Rajapakse ran many institutions as govt propeties. But, he gave those to his firneds ans relatives and they played with those.

    the best example is what Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother in law did to the Sri lankan Air lines.

    There are many projects like that.

    • 8
      2

      Jim softy

      “the best example is what Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother in law did to the Sri lankan Air lines.”

      Isn’t it a typical tribal behaviour? MR felt kinship with fellow crooks.

      • 0
        3

        No one can work without making mistakes. MR made budgets and handed over to thieves. that included his family members as well as one that MR trusted.

        Everybody knows, MR wanted them to steal because that is how JRJ and RP did things. Mr followed their ways.

        Now MR come and criticize this govt.

      • 3
        0

        NV

        “the best example is what Mahinda Rajapakse’s brother-in-law did to the Sri Lankan Airlines.”

        B.I.L. Nishantha was given a free hand on everything. He even flew some of his flying angels to Singapore for “delivery” !

  • 14
    6

    Wow.. so much hate on Mahinda Rajapakse. Looking through the comments it seems the majority of the Sirisena and UNP voters is using CT as means of venting out frustrations of their election choices. He is a crook you say.. Then why has he not yet been found guilty of anything? Same old story of MaRa Hora. The yahapalanaya took you for fools and took a ride on your votes. So many lies to get them to where they are now. Mahinda is a Hora for sure, ofcourse he is. All politicians are thieves, didn’t you already know that? But the difference is that he was an excellent thief with a good management team. Now look at the state of the country? Instead of disparaging the bugger why not listen to what is saying? He is making some excellent points, the way i see it. Why don’t you talk about the real problem here, the problem of our economy going down the drain? Mahinda is out of the picture, you made sure of that on jan 8th. The new government is screwing us up and all you people do is blame Mahinda. What good is that going to do?

  • 5
    4

    Those numbers that Rajapaksa give are very correct. However, they are due to China’s involvement in the region. Global realities would probably have not retained the numbers for too long. UNP building from ground-up, is a better representation of Sri Lanka’s reality that will sustain the country for a long time. However, given a third term, Rajapaksa might have been astute enough to bring things to a balance (trouble is, too much of the country’s wealth was concentrated at the top without adequate taxation).

  • 6
    4

    MR left our economy in dire state with our debt payment was more than our income. He attempted to bribe public sector workers by offering free motor vehicles and all sorts of pay increases. How can a country when politicians who haven’t got two brains cell together run industry that should be in the private sector. Look at our health service its creaking at the edgiest because the Government cannot run a piss up in a brewery. MR borrowed money from the market place at massive interest payments and invested the money in stupid and non profitable outfits like the airport in the south of Sri Lanka. We need more privatisation so that small business are encouraged to generate income and move the economic status up words in the future. Business and private industry should be encouraged. We need to reduce the size of the public sector. The latest at the final stages of MR’s rule some 70% of the working population was working for the public sector. When will MR begin to realise that small businesses and the private sector are the engines of economic growth. Thank god that MR has been removed from office he was not only a dictaator but was also economically illiterate.

  • 10
    5

    Obviously this bugger MR can not speak in Parliament because he is not capable to do so. He has only released what some other stooge has written giving figures to impress that he is knowledgeable. I wonder whether he understands what he has read out?

    • 4
      2

      gamini

      “I wonder whether he understands what he has read out?”

      He would not have become president if he understood the process of budget preparation.

      Do you remember while he was the president he also held the finance minister portfolio? There were two consecutive years for which he refused to prepare budget.

  • 2
    3

    Sri Lanka is an Island Nation similar to Singapore and Hong Long. The transfer of best practices from these successful economies is evident in this budget.

    The income tax rate of 15% is comparable to Singapore & Hong Kong. If stable policies and conditions are retained, we can expect foreign investments to flow in to this country. There is no local market. They will cater to export markets and exports as a percentage of GDP which halved during the Rajapaksa era will show a continuous upward trend.

    FDI will strengthen the balance of payments and then the currency will gradually strengthen. Then there is room for the economy of Sri Lanka to follow the pattern of Singapore, Hong Kong & China.

    The move to bring all the loss making State Owned Enterprises will reduce the massive losses sustained by the crooked deals of the Rajapaksa Government. Hence, there is hope for a bright and prosperous Sri Lanka in this budget.

  • 10
    3

    Yahapalana stooges are scurrying to prevent the reality from being exposed. Their hate for the former prez has no bounds!

    Those who screamed that MR was trying to bring in casinos, now have taken away the $100 fee that all patrons have to pay… It is free to go in and lose your money, and the prostitutes who had to stay in the parking lots can go in and do their job at leisure. Also the $120 million tax the casinos had to pay per year has been brought down to 5 million! But, The taxpayers are in for a surprise….. those who paid ~ Rs. 15000 in taxes now will have to pay ~Rs. 27000!

    Yes, the economy of the country was in a great sound footing when the govt. was handed. The great bank robbery by ravi karunanayake, and mismanaged ministries have left the economy in a very unstable position. The port project is going on, after all, and the ‘yahapalanaya’ been trying to catch ‘robbers’ and deceiving the public along with it. All those who have profited thus far, seem to be relatives or cronies of President Sirisena.

    • 4
      2

      Vis8

      “Their hate for the former prez has no bounds!”

      Don’t you think the war criminal deserves condemnation for what he did during his reign?

      “and the prostitutes who had to stay in the parking lots can go in and do their job at leisure.”

      What made them prostitute in the first place? Is Casino the only venue where they could find there punters? How confident are you that this island does not have men, women, boys and girl prostitutes now?

      If you don’t like prostitution first you stop procuring them.

      • 1
        6

        “War criminal”??? LOL! Your blind hatred shows in your comments.. Terrorists are gone, thanks to MR… and your my3 is setting them all free :)

        • 6
          0

          visu8

          “Terrorists are gone, thanks to MR”

          Thank VP and Hindians.

          “your my3 is setting them all free”

          If the prosecution has evidence let them charge them. The courts will decide on sentences if they are found guilty.

          No Evidence, No Charges, let them go free. Some of them are in custody for more than ten years.

          Isn’t it as simple as it is?

          Are you sitting on your brain?

  • 6
    1

    Most leaders are enjoying their retirement after loosing their power.
    Most leaders resign from their positions after they are defeated but This Brainless Rajapaksa is the only man who still roaming and wondering around like a power hungry ghost.

    Shame…..Shame….Shame….

  • 3
    2

    Now the Sanga and the people know that This beast is the worst thief on earth.

    He is trying it again on the gullible people.

    This thief should not be hanged that will be easy escape for him.

    He should ROT in Prison ( R.I.P) for ever.

    You are not excellency any more you are a Scum bag you idiot.

    • 0
      1

      You don’t sound like a ‘human rights activist’

  • 2
    4

    Can’t contest the figures given by the former President so just hurl abuse at him. What kind of people are these CT readers?

  • 1
    1

    MR did not understand how precious is to keep the trust that people gave him. Politicians try to things and fail. that is not important.but, when just step on peoples trust, that cannot go any lower than that.

    HE used peoples trust and did every thing he could do with that.

    Now he is trying that again.

  • 5
    1

    MaRa, you dirty douchebag. You not only plundered this beautiful country, you murderous rascal with that petrol station cashier murdered countless number of people, not you are talking about observation of the Economy of SL? I know how the economy of yours and your family’s pockets grew to 19 billion dollars. Bloody scoundrel!!!!!!!!!

  • 2
    0

    Sri Lankan govt emplouyees are lazy, corrupt, destrcutive and want every thing but does not give anything. govt higherups are worse. Because of the Privatization is the best.

    but, it should be to overseas investors.

  • 2
    1

    What a miserable twit? Why don’t you bring your income and expenditure statement during your time in the glass house, and show all the commissions and into which banks they have disappeared.

  • 2
    0

    We have something now Mahinda could never get, international respect.
    No amount of interest free car loans laptops or sil cloth is going to bring him back.
    Start bringing the crooks before courts MY3?

  • 0
    1

    obviously , the most commentators are old stoogers who are out of touch with the reality nor upto date with technology, If you look at the social media you will see how much the grass root is for MR again.
    NO the very people who sip cocktails and talk bullshit of privatization will not be affected by the unscrupulous deeds of Yahapalana thieves who promised good governance but pardon their thuggery and daylihgt robbery,
    Hora Hora. did you catch any or did you guys embraced the Horu from previous government such as Rajitha. About delivering a speech in the parliament, if one is allowed by the ever cunning Ranil one would.
    truth of the matter is these bunch of hooligans who don’t get along cannot put a team together so they are falling apart slowly but surely.
    the old stoogers who still hang on to newspapers , you are soo out of reality.

  • 2
    0

    Per capita income increase all went to MR and his cronies pockets. None of it was seen by the average Sri Lankan. MR’s economic performance was due to the Chinese largesse and not a real economy building from ground up. As can be expected, the Chinese were sent packing and the largesse economy also went along with them.

    But there is no argument that the Yamapalanaya is mismanaging the country in every sphere. All the rogues are back in high positions, most of them the traditional pole vaulters who were formerly aligned to Rajapaksa’s mafia palanaya. My3, his family and cronies are more interested in making as money as possible and the economy of the state is of no consequence. As usual RW is not squeaking up on any issue.

    Mahinda can sense the disillusionment of the people with My3 and surreptitiously is making a come back. Who best to woo first but the saffron robed army. Hence the budget reply delivered at the Sangaramaya and not in Parliament.

  • 1
    4

    One thing is clear….
    Comments on this thread prove one thing….the Colombo Telegraph is a near total anti-MR website.
    The ex- President did hand over an economy that was thriving, but the Central Bank financial scam PLUS the utter waste of both money and time on pursuing the previous regime’s projects as being fraudulent, but with no change to any etc., etc., all in the name of VENGEANCE, CONTRIBUTE TO THE ONGOING FAILURE TO TAKE CARE OF THE ECONOMY.

    The ex-President deserves a chance to be heard, and what he says does make much more sense than MOST OF THE COMMENTS.

    ISN’T IT TIME THE YAHAPALANA CONTRIBUTORS HERE GREW UP AND BEHAVED LIKE ADULTS IN RATIONAL DEBATE?

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