The controversial Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with India continued to face protest after protest, with the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) too calling on the people to join hands and rise against the government decision to sign the agreement.
Addressing a seminar on ‘Trading, Sacrifice and ETCA’ in Colombo this week, JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said that the agreement will see the influx of low grade IT professionals to the country, which will result in the country’s youth losing job opportunities and Indians gaining.
“If talented Indian IT professionals want to go abroad they select Europe and America. Hence, the highest strata in India would never come to Sri Lanka. The middle strata would remain in India. It is the lowest strata that would come to Sri Lanka. There is a huge unemployment issue in India. As such, youths in Sri Lanka would not get any opportunity in India through the ETCA,” Dissanayake said.
“We must launch a struggle and defeat the government’s plan of signing this agreement in India. They are lying about this agreement,” he said.
Dissanayake said that when ETCA is signed that would mean the future of Sri Lankan youth will be sacrificed and they will have no jobs specially in the IT sector. “The government is also planning on signing such an agreement without the basis of any scientific evaluation,” he said.
He also accused both President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of being ‘property auctioneers’ by attempting to sell the country’s resources as well as focusing on wrong economic policies. “Some said Ranil was an economic expert. But his strategy is all about selling, and sacrificing. He wants to sell state enterprises; sacrifice state institutions and natural resources – by signing agreements such as ETCA to open the service sector which will have dangerous repercussions,” he said.
Dissanayake said that the JVP is against selling. “The economy in our country is very small. The goods and services trade is only Rs.11, 000 million. The total investment is only US$680 million. Our share in the world market is only 0.05%. Exports earn only US$ 10000,” he said.
He added that the JVP has launched a campaign to educate the people on the ETCA and to garner support against this government’s decision to sign the agreement with India.