16 May, 2022

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‘Remodel, Reconnect & Revive’, Recommend IMF & UNHRC

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

IMF in February and UNHRC in March had come out with two sets of recommendations, to enable Sri Lanka pull out of its economic and socio-political sickness. Both sets are interrelated. The underlying themes of the two, one mostly economic and the other equally non-economic, are not new, and in fact, a number of home gown economists, intellectuals and leaders of civil society groups had been reminding and warning the Rajapaksa regime of its misplaced priorities, misuse of economic resources and mistaken precepts of governance. But, to recall Lord Acton, power corrupted and absolute power corrupted absolutely. Populism and arrogance combined, and in the name of ‘alternative way’ to achieve “prosperity and splendour”, the economic locomotive was derailed shattering the local production base as well as its consumption associate. Without confronting the reality of the situation and willingness to retract from the dreamy path the regime went on making ad hoc adjustments while scapegoating the pandemic. But, no amount of scapegoating could hide the fact that it was sheer mishandling of the economy by a regime committed to an ideology of Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalism that created the current dystopia. As a result, while the vast majority endure economic and financial misery and deprivation, ethnic-minorities have, in addition, been left disconnected from mainstream development because of government’s discriminatory policies rooted in ethno-nationalism. Therefore, without remodeling the economy and reconnecting the disconnected, revival for growth and prosperity is going to be difficult.

On the economic front, there is no choice but to go to IMF. Delaying is extremely costly. Had the rulers gone much earlier without selling false promises and hopes, cost of reparation would have been far less and smooth. The chief culprit in this cheat had been the Central Bank (CB). Professor Lakshman who resigned in disgust and his successor Cabraal, an accountant turned politician, were handpicked with other members of the monetary board specifically to assist translating Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s alternate way into action. CB lost its independence and started pandering to GR’s wishes. Money printing went on over drive, actual inflation was camouflaged, exchange rate was controlled, and debt repayment and servicing was managed by resorting to more borrowing from friendly countries. With the subjugation of the apex economic institution, GR’s grandiloquent “vistas of prosperity and splendour” provided the coverage for proposing unaffordable and unrealistic projects in government budgets. For example, Rajapaksa government had gone crazy over the construction of express ways and high ways with borrowed funds, and on the assumption that such investment alone would promote economic growth and bring prosperity. Actually, it should be the other way round. It is the robustness of a growing economy that create infrastructure bottlenecks, which call for investment to remove those bottlenecks. Today with no money to import fuel, express ways are practically empty of traffic. Would the government at least allow pedestrians, cyclists and carters to utilise those roads? What a lopsided development strategy!

In search of homegrown solution Cabraal, presented a six-month road map in October 2021 calling it “dynamic” and promised that foreign exchange flows would exceed $10 billion by March 2022. Instead, the country’s foreign reserves had fallen below one billion. He is still the number one opponent to seek IMF assistance. Whether the reason for his persistent opposition is personal, professional or in the national interest only time would tell. (One should not forget that he was the architect of the Greek bonds gamble which cost the country $200 million during his previous term in CB). In the meantime, the economy is unstoppably spiralling downwards. The delayed free float of the rupee has sent prices sky rocketing. Starvation is knocking at the doors of millions of households.

Even if the regime finally decides to go to IMF, whether it would be able to clean up corruption and undertake structural reforms is questionable. Because, such measures would shatter the regime’s political foundation. Besides, economic revival and return to a new normalcy would be impossible as long as the country remains divided with nearly thirty percent of the population kept out of government’s care. One should remember that GR declared on several occasions that he was elected by the Buddhists and that he would protect Buddhism and govern according to its virtues. The fact that he is a president for all communities somehow or other slipped his mind. However, with “weaponised Buddhism” and with khaki and saffron troops marching in front, GR’s Buddhist governance is disturbing the ethnic balance in the north and east of the country where Tamils and Muslims are concentrated. His archaeological task force appointed to excavate and safeguard lost Buddhist ruins proved to be a smoke screen for land grabbing in Tamil districts for state aided Sinhala Buddhist encroachment. Prime Minister MR also said on few occasions that no district or province in the country should belong to any particular community, without extending that argument to the country as a whole. Didn’t BBS secretary Gnanasara Thera claim that this country belongs only to Sinhalese? Moreover, the saffron army’s conversion of Hindu temples into Buddhist viharas, erection of Buddha statues stealthily as recently happened in Mullimalai in Addalaichenai, a Muslim enclave in Eastern Province, and the gradual disappearance of Tamil writing in public sign boards are attempts at changing the ethnic character of this region. Finally, the One Country One Law task force headed by an ex-prisoner Bhikkhu is nothing but an attempt to homogenize the nation’s cultural heterogeneity. These measures had widened the gulf between the majority and minorities, and are adding to the stock of injustices and human right violations – the main concern of UNHRC. These matters have to be addressed and power must be shared with minorities if economic revival and peace were to return. IMF reforms are only one half of the remedies required and the other half should come from satisfying UNHRC’s demands.

Without any clue about how to tackle the ruling chaos, GR’s moves to convene (a) an all-party conference, (b) appoint a 11-member committee with 10 ministers plus the CB chief, and (c) to meet with TNA are public relation exercises to hoodwink the people and may be to please India. The regime has failed and failed miserably, and there is no reason why it should continue. A change of regime is therefore imperative to recharge the economy, reconnect the people and restart the struggle, at least to reduce the pain and sufferance of the masses.

*Dr. Ameer Ali, School of Business & Governance, Murdoch University, Western Australia

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Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    All agree we need an URGENT change in the GOVERNANCE of our motherland. But we the public DO NOT want most of those in current political scene. The Good ones should be empowered by the Defence Forces/Judiciary to take over the country as soon as possible. PTA need to be removed from the statutory.
    Stooges of the current rulers brought under control

    • 3
      25

      Naman,
      “PTA need to be removed from the statutory.”

      Can Tamil and Muslim communities that produced terrorists give an assurance that they will never ever promote terrorism against indigenous Sinhalayo?

      • 13
        1

        The bigger question is can the majority Sinhala Buddhists who have the power in this country, give an assurance that their saffron robed terrorists and mobs will not spread hate speech/fake news against the minority, and go around in their large angry mobs, attacking, stoning, burning, looting, and killing, members of the minority religions, in their homes and businesses? The Innocent people who have nothing to do with any terrorism?

      • 9
        1

        Mahindapala, the answer is simple.
        Tamil community will not produce terrorists, if government stops unleashing terrorism against indigenous Tamils, and allow them to live in dignity managing their affairs without interference by Sinhalese, in the lands of their historic habitation.
        Muslim community will not produce terrorists, if government stops support given to Muslim extremists, by funding and training them.

      • 0
        0

        EE,
        That is possible and implemented, if State terrorism is eliminated and ‘wiped off’, by the government of the “so called majority”!!!
        You must be ‘Day Dreaming’ after all these years!!
        Will that be a fruitful episode????!

  • 12
    3

    Urgent good governance has to include exclusively, truth, justice, righteousness and peace with no space given to religion, statism, humanism, communism, dictatorship, democracy or any other faulty human made concoction of any sort.

    • 6
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      davidthegood

      ” ……. and peace with no space given to religion, statism, humanism, communism, dictatorship, democracy or any other faulty human made concoction of any sort.”

      What exactly do you want?
      Given that you have rejected democracy could you now tell us what sort of model you are you contemplating?

      • 2
        3

        Native Vedda, A theocratic kingdom government of the entire universe, obedient under the perfect rule and reign and purpose of its loving creator without any idol worship, would restore this fallen state of everything created. Even the sun and moon received worship and is corrupt and needs to be restored. All must come back into true alignment.

        • 3
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          davidthegood

          Any chance you are closely related to Ramona Grandma Therese Fernando?

          • 1
            2

            Native Vedda, Dont really know who T Fernando is, but Acts 17,26 says all men are made from one blood.

            • 5
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              davidthegood

              Any chance you are being a born again religious nutter/fanatic?

      • 2
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        Native Vedda, Don’t give David a bad name!

  • 4
    1

    Ameer Ali,
    You’d recall the pet solution we always choose for our problems. Home Grown Solution. Something akin to our Fertiliser solution.
    No country has ever thrived with home grown answers. Adopting time-tested solutions should be the ONLY answer to our widening woes.

    • 1
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      Nathan,
      That “fertiliser solution ” was just a drama to cover up for the dollar shortage. Gota knew even before Covid that the crunch was coming. That’s why he started banning imports, starting with vehicles and palm oil. Even the contaminated coconut oil was a planned drama. Not surprising, from the same guys that gave us the Easter Bomb.

  • 5
    2

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  • 3
    12

    “Moreover, the saffron army’s conversion of Hindu temples into Buddhist viharas, erection of Buddha statues stealthily as recently happened in Mullimalai in Addalaichenai, a Muslim enclave in Eastern Province,

    Saffron army is not converting Hindu temples to Buddhist Viharas. It is racist Tamils and Wahhabi Muslim extremists who destroyed Sinhala Buddhist heritage sites in NE where Sinhalayo had their Kingdoms and built Kovils and Mosques on top of ancient Buddhist temples.

    Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera in his 540-page tome ‘Sinhala Buddhist Heritage in the North and the East of Sri Lanka (Colombo; Mount Laurel, N.J. : Dayawansa Jayakody & Co., 2005)’ has documented almost all these heritage sites and places where Kovils and Mosques have been built on top of ancient Buddhist temples.

  • 5
    2

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  • 2
    10

    As usual AA start talking about economy and end up talking about Muslims in Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      0

      Equally well, some start talking on many subjects in this forum and end with Vaddukoddai (Batukotte) resolution or Nandikadal episode, completely forgetting, in the process, all the corruption and/or misappropriation that virtually started (may have been other deals like at the ‘Mus boutique’ in one’s ‘Walauwe’ hometown) ‘Helping Hambantota fraud, adjudicated by then chief dispenser of Justice in Sri Lanka as “does not merit” punishment!
      Do you think it is any different from this episode?!!

  • 12
    1

    The first action to bring the economy into order should be to fire Cabraal. He has ruined the country starting from his first term as the Governor of the CB followed by his second term now. He is a crook of the first order, an educated white-collar crook.

    Secondly, Buddhist monks such as thug of a Priest Gnanasara, educated fool Abeyatissa Thero, and the priest who will change his policies for “santhosams” Muraththetuwe Thero. These guys together with the Ravana Balaya, Sinhale, etc are the ones who have ruined this country.

    The new constitution should give equal status to all religions and races without mentioning the names of any race or religion in its text other than using the words “religions” and “Sri Lankan”.

    I am also ashamed to admit that educated people who come into politics such as Cabraal, Gammanpilla, SB, Bandula, Rauff Hakeem, Kiriella, Dinesh Gunewardena, GLP, Ali Sabry are also to be blamed for the fate of this country.

    Above all the entire Rajapakse family should be permanently removed from politics for good and a special independent Presidential Commission must be appointed when the new President takes over the Government to investigate how the Rajapakses made their money.

    • 4
      1

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      • 4
        2

        WOW, thanks for making it short.
        .
        Get well soon !
        🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕 🐕

  • 2
    1

    I think that Dr.Ameer Ali clearly highlighted that two important factors or barriers for development are corruption and human rights violation by Buddhiat Sinhala ultra nationalism which I always called Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism, Why should we afraid of going to IMF conditions which focus on corruption and human rights violation, The fact is both are necessary for ruling Buddhist Sinhala Fundamentalism,

  • 1
    1

    No analysis can help any of the Sinhala Buddhist Governments, past or the present. All we can do here is repeat the same comment of the past.
    No Analysis can help any of the Sinhala Buddhist Government without changing the people. ” The problem is with the people living over there. There are two nasty groups thriving on the human pain and blood of the weak, from 1948, the time they fooled Lord Soulbury: they are the “UNP- SLFP factions”. Unless educated Ceylonese understand this and educate the masses & them to the shore, nothing will change there. Now, the way of life in Langkang is raping, looting, murdering, revenging, cheating, hording, eating & Biryani & drinking Arrack on women and children’s toil, impunity to criminals, torture and injustice to victims and doing all other low-class acts which has no words in English. Then they are calling that way of life as achieving prosperity and splendor though practicing Sinhala Buddhism. Democracy, competitive market economy & Buddhism are rewritten by the Kandy Ayatollahs to germinate cores of criminals, Island wide. Unless, by a new French Revolution, the Kandyan temple occupants are not taken to Bohambara & all other UNP-SLFPyears to Siberia, the country cannot be cleaned, and no government can be formed to take care of the people and the other forms life in that Island.

  • 5
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    • 3
      1

      Eagle,
      Racist Sinhala Buddhists have proven that they cannot run a country. Now the only alternative is to hand it over to racist Tamils and racist Muslims. In 5 years they will have 200 billion USD reserves. After that you can take over again and ruin the country in 10 years.

  • 5
    0

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  • 4
    2

    Goth apayam is a genocider of the island’s Thamizh people and an environmental destroyer, who is running the country with other clowns and buffoons of similar racist mindsets and ilk. Also aided and abetted by Buddhist monks, who are really only Buddhistby name and follow an extremist Chingkalla Buddhist cult, which is really not Buddhism but some racist religious cult now masquerading as Buddhism. He brings largely brings two reactions. either extreme jubilation amongst most Chingkallams or a shiver down the spine in the case of 99.99% of the island’s Thamizh and Thamizh Muslim. All successive Chingkalla led governments from the time of independence had only one main intention. Destroy the island’s Thamizh, their ancient language, culture history, and heritage on the island and convert the entire island into a pure Chingkalla Buddhist state. They did not care if the country was ruined in the process, the economy was destroyed and the assets of the island were sold to foreign powers, as long as the Thamizh are destroyed. The brainwashed Chingkallams were also supported this and voted for whichever party promised most to destroy the island’s Thamizh. They have all now ruined the country, but have largely achieved their aim with the overt and covert support of many nations, including the west and India.

    • 3
      1

      Within 70 years they have reduced the island’s Thamizh population from 26% to 15.4% and stolen 1/3 of their lands in the north and east and settled it with outside Chingkallams. Now on the verge of stealing the rest of the lands and converting ancient Hindu temples to Buddhist, using fake history and destroying the ancient history and heritage of the Eezham Thamizh.

      • 0
        2

        PK are you looking forward to that day?

  • 3
    1

    Basil is Felix, Wimal is NM and Gomman is Colvin, in that case Evil is ?? There is no comparison for Rajapaksas , they are on their own. (as long nepotism is concerned Bandas are the closest, but they are far behind in crime and corruption) How fortunate Silly Lankans are ??? Didn’t I say Lankans love compare and contrast study/ analysis between the BAD and the UGLY, there is no good.

    • 0
      1

      Educated Ceylonese must compel & grind them to sense it (Unara) that while they are here & watching, the country has gone to dogs just in 70 years. How wise they would be if they blame, not them, but only 6.9 M Modayas who vote their lifetime only either to UNP or SLFP criminals, and the UNP-SLFP criminals who destroy the country to care for them. Geetha said she is hoarding one year worth of gas. Why did she say this about her? Because she cannot say how many million dollars’ worth of oil & gas others are hoarding, without risking her life. After all, she is a partner in Royal Aanduwa. Parsing these messages for the masses’ understanding is the responsibility of the educated class; not that of Ayatollahs nor of Viyathmaga.

    • 0
      1

      Did these educated crowd ever asked the UNP-SLFP factions that who take responsibility for having spent $400B on the war to annihilate Tamils, while UNP-SLFP both want the credit to the Sinhala Genocide of Tamils. After swindling that kind of money from treasury & deposited in foreign Bank accounts, the model country that was praised once as eastern Switzerland in the 1940s turned into now a beggars’ Pariah’s land. In this land war criminals like Royals conduct the war of Humanitarian Rescue Mission Operation; Sadampi like hypocrites teach ethics. Whose responsibility is it to correct these thieves playing a police role? Not of the educated Ceylonese? No French revolution there within short while, no Island of Ceylon there. If educated Ceylonese don’t want to think for the masses wellbeing, all what going to left behind in that island is the excretion of forceful loan lenders like the Dragon, after swallowing the tear drop island.

  • 1
    2

    ‘Remodel, Reconnect & Revive’

    That will be achieved when all freemasons are thrown out of power!

  • 2
    0

    Terrorism act on 21/4/19 by the few muslims that had been brain washed by the deep state[ Intelligence services]. With so much military personnel in the north and east such an act could not be organised by any group of people.Tamils took up ‘arms’ after decades of “state sponsored’ TERRORISM……Mother of all evils in SL.
    Distorted history is used to bring up the differences between all SL CITIZENS.
    The New Constitution shouldn’t allow the majority to suppress the minorities EVER AGAIN.

  • 1
    0

    THE CURSE OF LANKA
    “Sinhala Buddhist ultra-nationalism”

  • 0
    0

    Re SB Ultra-nationalism fake, If Buddhist priests are not prohibited from politics, then politicians must govern the nikayas. Engineers should not usurp accountants work. Doctors do not qualify as street sweepers. 3 wheeler drivers should not be given planes to fly.

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