4 December, 2020

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Reject The ETCFA: Joint Opposition

The “Joint Opposition” has today called upon the Sri Lankan business community, professionals, and the general public to oppose foreignisation of the Sri Lankan economy.

Dinesh

Dinesh

“The proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Framework Agreement (ETCFA) which is vague and has no specific provisions.” the group said in a statement.

The Joint opposition said; “The government has not tabled the proposed pact with India in parliament. Furthermore parliament has not been informed that the government has granted approval to set up an Indian ambulance service in this country with state patronage from both sides. Minister Malik Samarawickrama did tell the media that the government would be opening up the IT and maritime engineering services to Indian professionals but he did not say anything about pre-hospitalisation health care. The Joint Opposition met on Thursday 18 February 2016, and after due discussion we thus place our views on this matter of utmost national importance before the people.”

We publish below the statement in full:

The proposed ETCA with India

The government intends entering into an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ECTA) with India. The previously proposed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India had to be abandoned due to the lack of public support. The government has not revealed the provisions of the new agreement to the public and only a select few have the draft. According to the latest draft of this agreement, we understand that what is proposed is in reality not an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement as originally thought, but an Economic and Technical Cooperation Framework Agreement (ETCFA) which only sets a ‘framework’ for future agreements.

The agreements that are to be entered into later under the framework of the ETCFA include an agreement on trade in goods, an agreement on trade in services and an agreement on investment – the same components that made up the old CEPA. The difference this time however is that the ETCFA does not have specific provisions relating to any of these areas and the specifics are to be worked out only after the ETCFA is signed.

While the proposed ETCFA is still pending, the government has already started opening the country up to Indian service providers. The Prime Minister himself presented a cabinet paper dated 2 September 2015 on the setting up of an Ambulance service by GVK Emergency Management and Research Institute (GVK EMRI) of India which will commence in the Western and Southern provinces first and then be expanded to the rest of the country. The Indian government is to provide a capital infusion of 7.6 million USD for GVK EMRI to purchase ambulances and pay staff for the first year of operations in Sri Lanka. The cabinet paper implies that this is to be a fee levying service which is expected to be self supporting after the first year.

GVK EMRI is to have the power to recruit personnel independently and will work with government as well as private hospitals. The Indian company is also not under any specific obligation to recruit Sri Lankans. The Sri Lanka government will contribute by allowing this organisation to import their vehicles, medical equipment etc duty free, provide space to set up their rapid response centres and provide work visas for the Indian managers and trainers. The cabinet paper does not explain why an Indian organisation should establish an ambulance service in Sri Lanka when there are many government, private and NGO ambulance services in this country which can easily expand their services in the Western and Southern provinces if they are provided the same facilities as GVK EMRI of India. It should also be noted that the existing government and private health care services have enabled Sri Lanka to be ranked among the best in Asia in terms of health care indices.

An economic and technical pact with India will make sense if Sri Lanka can obtain from India some technical or economic input which Sri Lanka cannot provide for itself such as for example in the automotive, chemical or pharmaceutical industries. However the present government seems to be intent on handing over to the Indians what can easily be done by locals. The UNP government of 2001-2004 sold a part of the Petroleum retailing business to the Indian Oil Company. However, no real economic or technical advantage has been gained by the IOC’s presence in this country. The substantial reduction in the price of crude oil has now resulted in huge profits for petroleum retailers (Rs. 34 from a litre of diesel) and a good part of these profits now go abroad.

The deliberate strategy of the government appears to be to follow the IOC principle even before the ETCFA is signed through cabinet papers such as the one relating to the ambulance service and in the end there will be no need to have any specific provisions for economic and technical cooperation in that agreement. It is very unusual for a Prime Minister to put forward cabinet papers relating to a matter like an ambulance service and this shows the level at which this foreignisation is being spearheaded.

This creeping foreignisation of the Sri Lankan economy through executive fiat has to stop, because it is a violation of our constitution in the first place. Furthermore, before any new agreement is entered into, the shortcomings in the existing Free Trade Agreement with India should be ironed out and the bureaucratic blocks that Sri Lankan exporters have experienced in India should be eliminated. In 2014, we imported 4,023 million USD worth of goods from India and exported goods worth only 625 million USD to India. After more than 15 years of the FTA, Sri Lanka’s largest export item to India is arecanut. If the FTA with India was working as it should, nobody would object to further expanding economic cooperation with our neighbour Furthermore, we believe that a satisfactory solution to the Indian fishermen’s issue should be found before going on to other bilateral matters.

We call upon the Sri Lankan business community, professionals, and the general public to oppose this foreignisation of the Sri Lankan economy by surreptitious means through executive fiat and the proposed ETCFA which is vague and has no specific provisions. We must engage in trade with our neighbour. We stand for more trade with India and to achieve this aim, we have to ensure that bureaucratic blocks and complications arising from State level trade regulations in India which prevent the growth of Sri Lankan exports to that country should be ironed out. Furthermore we believe that any foreign investments in Sri Lanka should be channelled into areas that Sri Lanka is unable to develop on its own.

The government has not tabled the proposed pact with India in parliament. Furthermore parliament has not been informed that the government has granted approval to set up an Indian ambulance service in this country with state patronage from both sides. Minister Malik Samarawickrama did tell the media that the government would be opening up the IT and maritime engineering services to Indian professionals but he did not say anything about pre-hospitalisation health care. The Joint Opposition met on Thursday 18 February 2016, and after due discussion we thus place our views on this matter of utmost national importance before the people.

Joint Opposition

Udaya Gammanpila (MP) on behalf of
Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena (MP)
Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Opposition Group)
Lanka Sama Samaja Party
Communist Party of Sri Lanka
Mahajana Eksath Peramuna
Democratic Left Front
Jathika Nidahas Peramuna
Puvithuru Hela Urumaya

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Latest comments

  • 8
    0

    RE: Reject The ETCFA: Joint Opposition

    “The “Joint Opposition” has today called upon the Sri Lankan business community, professionals, and the general public to oppose foreignisation of the Sri Lankan economy.”

    This is going to be the second colonialism.

    The Economic Colonialism.

    The positive is that the locals will have to shape up and compete. This will not remove political corruption.The Foreigners will bribe more.

    The negative is that many will lose out to better trained and more intelligent foreigners.

    Need to find a middle ground.

    • 2
      3

      “The negative is that many will lose out to better trained and more intelligent foreigners.”

      Why should the country lose out due to less-intelligent and poorly trained locals somehow thinking they have some divine right to have access to whatever roles are available for skilled staff? Look at the university graduates protesting on the roads – who on earth would want to hire people who behave, act, and speak as they do? The sudden influx of poor quality ‘western’ universities set up by money grubbing institutions like ACBT, IIHE, etc. selling MBA qualifications that are not even accredited by a reputed university and have no worth beyond our shores (ask anyone holding one of these qualifications as to the obstacles they face when trying to find employment overseas) does not mean we will miraculously become economically competitive. THe only option is to open out our job market as Singapore did, which was a wakeup call to all Singaporeans to strive harder to upskill themselves.

      • 3
        0

        Contrary to what Bagehot says,i.e., that ” many will lose out to better trained and more intelligent foreigners.”…

        Practically everyone who had left the island and worked abroad has done well, and even excelled, although many may not blow their own trumpets. Even those labeled “failures” per the Sri Lankan competitive examination systems have found opportunities to succeed abroad. So the problem seems to be the selection procedures for University admission and the availability of employment opportunities for progress, and finding the right niches as far as the creative talents of the people are concerned. The ‘NATIVE INTELLIGENCE’ IS ALIVE AND WELL.
        The talk about “merit” being the only acceptable criterion is a lot of baloney…as merit depends on so many social and genetic factors as well, and in the usually accepted context of SL’s examination results that Merit is the recommended criterion, would select positively for the “Elite” and those able to find finance for the necessary “private tuition” and other amenities for success.
        With CEPA/ECTA, the question arises as to how the local talent would compare with the Indian imported talent, especially when accreditation becomes a very complicated issue due the highly varied Univ. standards in India.
        Realistically, CEPA/ECTA can only lead to much social unrest that will undermine the stability of this country, with increases in corruption as well as disparities seriously impacting on the economy. There is no investment finance forthcoming, and the only country that could have helped was kicked and shoved, with such BAD TIMING TO BOOT!

        Basically, IT IS HIGH TIME THIS EXPERIMENT ENDS, and Sri Lanka ceases to be tinkered with as a laboratory for all sorts of crazy political and economic ideas. We see already that the recent propaganda-based project to bring about “CHANGE”, has caused the political engine to become seized into gridlock, and with it the economy is also gripped in a seizure as well.
        But all the while, in the style of the “Emperor’s New Clothes”, all and sundry are extolling the “DEMOCRACY RESTORED” in Sri Lanka!
        Lat’s face it..the world has been messed up by WAR and the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL basis of the global economy. SUSTAINABILITY is just another coined word as yet… but Sri Lanka can be reset to muddle through with that goal in view, although we have to set our messed-up political house in order first.

  • 7
    3

    This [Edited out] man , has proved that he is a parasite of the state. He will do any thing , will cover up blatant theft to live off the state. [Edited out]go home we have enough literature on the net. We know how to access them.

  • 8
    2

    The same old crooks played out the state finances in the last government are talking.
    Would it work ? would it not work ? the oppositions argument, certainly not work, because of nether Education system which brought swabasha medium had destroyed the generations since the Nationalism took over had destroyed the nation. , that was since SWRD.
    Now the SINGLISH EDUCATED WITH SUB STANDARD TEACHINGS AT SCHOOLS HAD CREATED GENERATIONS WHO CANNOT COMPETE THE WORLD SCHOLARS.
    If our country need to progress internationally , financially, scientifically , and so on we need international scholars.

    The frogs in wells think our country is first world with scientists and professional of home bred can compete internationally.

    Srilankans are backward they can only survive in SL with their present day qualification and lack of SPOKEN ENGLISH THEY CANNOT PROGRESS.
    SO the oppositions argument has no meaning except they are only speaking for their own survival.
    This is the sad state of Srilankan politics.
    Trying to whip up the masses with another of their pointless argument.

  • 10
    3

    These Dinesh Gunawardena and Udaya Gammanpila are downright racists and are bogey men continuing to cheat the Sinhala people with their deceptive behaviors. They title themselves Hons. But they are real Cons.

    The meaning of honourable is: worthy of being honored; entitled to honor and respect; “an honorable man”; “led an honorable life”; “honorable service to his country.

    They are not Hons but are downright Dis Hons.

    Honourable means – adhering to ethical and moral principles; “it seems ethical and right”; “followed the only honorable course of action”

    Dis-honourable means: disgraceful, shameful, shameless, shaming, disreputable, discreditable, degrading, debasing, ignominious, ignoble, blameworthy, contemptible, despicable, reprehensible, shabby, shoddy, sordid, sorry, base, low, improper, unseemly, unworthy; unprincipled, unscrupulous, corrupt, untrustworthy, treacherous, perfidious, traitorous, villainous; informalshady, crooked, low-down, dirty, rotten, rascally, scoundrelly; informalbeastly; archaicscurvy, knavish etc.

    Let us join force and put them in their place and call them fearlessly as Dis Honourable men.

    Let national reconciliation send them to the corners of the dungeon they belong to and let them face the fate of the South African white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche.

  • 7
    3

    This man is suffering from defeat of Mahinda Rajapaksa.
    This man is mentally now very weak.

    We feel very sorry for him.
    He is acting like wild animal in his old age.

  • 6
    3

    What does this man Dinesh know other than Mahawamsa Buddhism? Bloody Joker he is. Very soon they will be in Political Oblivion.

    • 1
      1

      Dear Gamini,

      Pl do not downgrade the fellow. After all he is a son of a two legged lion.

  • 4
    7

    Will Batalanda Ranil go after the Armed Forces next?..

    This is the question , the peace loving people should focus on, after the article in the Economynext, about Mangala Samaraweera ‘s interference in Military Command in the North.

    General Gallage was transferred for expressing his commitment to the country and the nation after Samaraweera’s provocation..

    Can Batalanada Ranil keep transferring the whole Command Unit who eliminated the Tamil Terrorists?.

    Just imagine what will happen to these Generals after the White Judges and their Hybrid Courts conclude the trials?.

    Is the Field Marsahll the hit man ?

    After getting rid of Rajapaksa, the only influence the great majority of the inhabitant population , who are the poor Sinhala Buddhist people still have is in the Armed Forces, A few main Stream Media Publications, Sangha in the South and the GMOA .

    Sangha has been attacked and their voices have been muzzled.

    GMOA is under heavy artillery fire from Batalanda and Rajitha

    Media has been warned and were issue Red Cards by the Batalanada PM himself..

    Now this attack on the Army.

    These are the issues which will determine the future of our Nation going forward .

    These Trade Agreement are part and parcel of the overall strategy..

    • 3
      1

      Sumanasekera- “Sangha has been attacked and their voices have been muzzled.”

      The Sangha has no “voices”, at least to fulfill their duties or they wouldn’t tolerate the level to which Buddhism has sunk with the phony priests like Gandasara and the others who desecrate the Buddha’s beautiful philosophy. This is not to mention banning the rogues who use temples to spread their venom!

      So go try to sell your apologist crap to the idiots who will swallow it and stop trying to impress your former masters – they have more legal problems to deal with rather than listening to one of their minions who continues to be servile to them.

      • 2
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        @Bandara,

        Sumanasekera lives in Australia and is unfortunately treated very poorly by white Australians. He is a misfit over there and transfers all his feelings of inadequacy in these comments. Goes on and on about ‘Dalits’ which is what I believe they call him over there ( also a boat person / aborigine). Also resorts to name calling. His other theme is ‘Batalanda’, specifically the sexual assaults that supposedly happened there. Goes on about it so much, and with such glee, you can tell he wishes he was a recipient of them!

        @ Sumanasekera

        What’s your problem with ‘white judges’, is that not the colour of the judges where you live? Also, where you live what happens to people who put external charity money, into there own personal accounts? Do they get to hold public office? You are a hate monger. People who live in Sri Lanka do not think like you. I am sure most people who live in Australia don’t think like you either. Just the misfits. Like you. Haha.

    • 1
      0

      @Sumane

      Why do you refer to ‘white judges’ ? Somewhat hypocritical no? You live in Australia, of your own free will, with ‘white judges’ no? What if the judges are chinese ? Jarapassa liked chinese people , does that mean you will too? Not Indians though right, as you call them ‘ hindians’. So vey funny you are Sumane. Ado Sumane, what to do with you. A mess of contradictions and hypocrisy. Stirring up animosity in your homeland, so far away now. Do you believe in karma?

  • 6
    4

    Reject The Joint Opposition.

  • 6
    4

    Reject Dinesh and the Baffoons.

  • 6
    4

    Reject corrupt politicians the MR etal.

  • 3
    5

    All professionals in the country will struggle to compete against Indians. We are not efficient and not productive enough and that is the bottom line. Hence we will oppose this at any cost.

    From a country perspective we need trade agreements with all trading partners and not just India.

    Our engineers and doctors and accountants and IT specialists will all protest and that is natural. Our doctors are the worst since they have had everything free from the time they were born and maintained by the tax payer. Imagine an Indian doing your job at half the cost!!!

    Even now many IT professionals are in the country at any given time. Ate east 2 banks have hired Indians to upgrade their IT systems at present. BoC hired McKinsey from India for strategy and before that JKH hired them. What is wrong when we don’t have the skill sets?

    We have sent 1 million house maids to Middle East without any trade agreements to reside and work? Why aren’t these people talking about this!!!

    Get the trade agreements ASAP.

    • 1
      3

      The only way the Island will progress is by employing skilled people maybe from abroad and learn from them.

      Not all foreigners want to financially abuse the people of Sri lanka. Sometimes people really do want to help.

      The problem is over the last ten or so years people have been misled into believing all this conspiracy nonsense.

      Move forward and stop being so suspicious of the West.

      Put all your eggs into the Chinese basket and one day the basket will fall and you’ll have no eggs elsewhere :)

  • 3
    3

    People will reject the following political parties in the next general election

    Sri Lanka Freedom Party (Opposition Group)
    Lanka Sama Samaja Party
    Communist Party of Sri Lanka
    Mahajana Eksath Peramuna
    Democratic Left Front
    Jathika Nidahas Peramuna
    Puvithuru Hela Urumaya

    • 3
      0

      To so-called “Patriot”….
      Wishful thinking, Patriot??? And you do not mention JVP?
      The Socialist psyche is too ingrained for what you say to happen…and our countrymen and women, ‘self-styled patriots’ included, should be grateful for that!!
      Sri Lanka is unique in having achieved levels in Education and Health Care that put it ahead of all other countries in the region. Are we going to dismantle all of that and bring ourselves down to the level of other less developed countries in South Asia? All in the effort to emulate the USA where standards keep on falling??? And where people are realizing that they are falling behind ALL other Western countries with more socialist values?
      It was the parties mentioned in your List that were responsible for Sri Lanka’s development levels to have reached its current high Human Development Index…LET US KEEP IT THAT WAY & NARROW THE DISPARITIES!!

  • 3
    2

    Fool, because of British rule, we still have the same complicated railway through upcountry hills (tunnels), we have mission schools, even we use under pants otherwise we will be using piece of clothe like vedas and many more things we got free or we have copied. The day British left, the bad luck started, we became racist and started to kill each other, like white cells eating red cells – eventually we all perish. Long time ago British found out we can by good labourers but can not be masters or leaders. We have a mentality even if we can not do a certain job, we will never allow others to lead, that is the curse from the GOD, that what happened to Prabaharan. We can not make even a nail without foreign help or their technology – think before open mouth.

  • 0
    0

    “The day British left, the bad luck started, we became racist and started to kill each other” — Senthil

    Are you serious?
    Have you not heard of the Kochikade riots?
    About 1915?

    The Brits cunningly played one against the other and handed over the state to DS Senanayake to prevent an anti-colonial alliance coming to power.

    All the communal politicians had their teeth well ground during colonial times.

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