13 July, 2024

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RW’s Rocky Road To Export Driven Valhalla

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

President Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW), having inherited a devastated economy from his predecessor, has drawn up a plan, which is more a dream than a plan, to transform Sri Lanka into an export driven economic paradise by the centenary year of independence, 2048. Whether he would live to celebrate the realization of his dream or mourn for its failure, at the ripe old age of 99, none can predict. While wishing him success, it is worth looking at the reality on the ground which, like his predecessor’s dream of “vistas of prosperity and splendour”, points towards a rocky road with lots of pot holes. 

The primary task that confronted RW was to restore some semblance of economic stability to arrest the rapid descent towards the point of nadir. Without any indigenously drawn economic agenda, the only alternative available to him was to seek external help and that too through the celebrated IMF – the lender of last resort to troubled economies in the neoliberal world order. For the seventeenth time in its history, Sri Lanka went to the IMF for instructions and funds. To any student of international economics, the typical prescription from IMF is a familiar lesson. Accordingly, the first instruction by IMF to any economy that suffers from a twin deficit, i.e., in budget and balance of payments, is to repair the first to tackle the second. However, both repairs could be undertaken simultaneously if the government in power could structure an inclusive economic plan with a fixed timeframe. RW’s government does not have it.      

To repair the budget and turn it into surplus, government expenditure should be reduced and revenue increased. This is where RW faces the main obstacle. To make his dream becoming reality, both sides of the budget balance sheet, should be drawn in such a way that it provides enough incentives to exports driving privately owned economic enterprise while raising enough revenue through direct and indirect taxes and profit from state owned enterprises to meet government’s essential and welfare expenses. Even without IMF advice this is the most sensible thing to adopt by any responsible government. But RW seems to be interested solely on raising revenue while the incentive side of the equation is left out. 

Firstly, raising the rates of direct taxes on personal and corporate incomes is no way to provide incentives to export oriented enterprises, which have to be the backbone in RW’s transformation strategy. Yet, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) has accepted these rates although with a piece of advice to RW to discipline public expenditure.  The question is will CCC also advice its own members not to indulge in tax evasion exercises in the name of tax minimization by way of expert or shoddy accounting practices and exploit the weakness in government’s tax administration. While imposing his taxes RW has not taken any step so far to improve the efficiency in tax collection. CBSL’s chief Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe’s advice not to allow any exemption from tax obligation should be taken as a hint at the unethical practices prevailing in tax administration. In the area of personal income tax also the burden of payment would fall more on public servants whose pay packet would be net of taxes while employees in the private sector would be allowed to report their taxable income at the end of the financial year. In short, without reforming tax administration and punishing tax dodgers there is no way RW would reach his revenue target through direct taxes. If private companies feel that tax rates are excessive, they would try to shift their theatre of action to low tax countries, which would jeopardize RW’s export strategy. Everything hinges on tax administration which is operating in a system infested with corruption.

This is why the onus of collecting tax revenue falls heavily on indirect taxes notably the VAT. In the name of broadening the tax base low-income earners are netted into the tax scheme. Even an unemployed person who goes to purchase a couple of tablets for his or her headache for example would be paying VAT. There is obviously economic injustice in resorting to indirect taxes. To balance that however, IMF has recommended the implementation of a safety net, and to meet the financial burden arising from it RW has introduced a welfare tax. Once again, in a system that has no up to date data on families and individuals entitled to receive welfare payment on the one hand, and with corrupt administrators on the other, distribution of welfare benefits would be a source of wide discontent. The target of raising government revenue by 65% in 2023 of which 90% is expected to come from taxes is unrealistic given the short comings of tax administration. In the meantime, to make the tax burden acceptable and ease the pain it is causing, there had been occasional announcements of price reduction on selected consumer items. Having raised the price of an item by 100% for example and then reducing it by 10% is a form of cheat.   

Secondly, on the expenditure side, RW is faced with two major issues on which he has said nothing so far. An over-sized public administration with an army of an otherwise unemployable staff, and a 300,000 strong security-personal including the army, navy, air force and police are an unaffordable dependency burden placed on government’s meagre resources. The first is the product of swabasha education and the second the result of war against Tamils. The genesis of both lies in the politics of ethno-nationalism, the bane of the country. IMF would have advised RW to downsize the two, but he would know the political danger in listening to that advice. This is another pot hole along his road to transform the economy. 

Thirdly, the SOE white elephants. They are a drain on the economy, but privatizing them, which IMF would love, is not the solution. They are continuing to run at loss, because of corruption and nepotism. Unwilling to clean them up, because of political fallout, RW has decided to sell them for dollars. Once they are sold and privately owned either by local or foreign agencies, consumers would be forced to pay the price set by the monopolists for goods and services delivered by them. Will there be any control or ceiling on those prices? When a SOE sets the price there is also a welfare element added in it, which will disappear under private pricing.       

In whichever way one analyses the difficulties facing the economy in moving forward, politics and the ideological foundation on which it operates present a stumbling block. One cannot tackle the economy in isolation without tackling the political environment in which that economy functions. It is not pure economics but political economy that matters for economic growth. None of the party leaders who are currently in the field had said anything so far on the need to renounce this ideological foundation, which keeps the country divided and gives social license to its practitioners to cross legal boundaries set for their actions and escape without any accountability. RW too, without addressing this fundamental issue, hopes to create the unity needed for his economic transformation, just by offering pardons and amnesties to victims of this pernicious ideology. 

To illustrate how ethnonationalism has affected the economy one has to look at the fate of the plantation industry, particularly tea production. By the time the British left, Ceylon tea had already captured a niche market internationally. After independence, in the name of export diversification and industrialization, this industry received only a stepmotherly treatment from successive governments. But one of the factors that drove that policy was the fact that tea plantations were dominated by Tamil labour. It is this ethnonational politics that still hinders economic development. Today, Ceylon Tea has lost its niche status to other competitors, a historic tragedy.   

In the final analysis therefore, without an ideological transformation that should be reflected in the constitution of the country, even if the President were to achieve zeroing the budget deficit, the dream of transforming the economy to another export driven mini dragon and raising Sri Lanka to First World status would, in all probability, remain just a dream.

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

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Latest comments

  • 17
    5

    Ranil dreams / plans, “to transform Lanka into an export driven economic paradise by 2048”. He also promised to address ethnic issue which in turn will help fixing our broken economy, without, it will be just a dream.

    • 12
      4

      “Once they are sold and privately owned either by local or foreign agencies, consumers would be forced to pay the price set by the monopolists for goods and services delivered by them.”
      There have been privatisations in the past. Dr. Ali seems unaware that customers had to wait years for a telephone. Does he not remember the decrepit state of filling stations until IOC turned up? Shell ran its LPG business well, even invested in a modern terminal. But we know what happened after they exited.
      The cure for monopoly is competition, as in telecom. Voice and data charges are at an all-time low in real terms, and service levels are high. The ceramics monopoly exists because it was created by the Rajapaksas for the benefit of their prime financier, the Casino King.

      • 10
        0

        OC
        It was not privatization alone that enabled easy access to telephones. The changes in technology and with it the reduction in cost of installation and operation were important factors
        Take public transport since privatization. Buses were crowded before it, are they not even more crowded after it in buses with even smaller headroom.
        What has privatization achieved for Rail transport in UK? Water? Electricity? People started to pay more for less.
        State monopoly can be a millstone in some industries. But privatization is no panacea.
        Given the complexity of issues, I will go for a mixed approach in cases where competition with the state makes sense.
        But Dr Ali’s transformation into a sworn opponent of privatization amazes me. Do we owe it to just one person I wonder!

        • 6
          0

          SJ,
          “But Dr Ali’s transformation into a sworn opponent of privatization amazes me.”
          Me too.
          And this is from a Professor of Economics in Australia!

          • 0
            0

            OC
            There is consolation from Twitter:
            “Dr.Ameer Ali
            @aali01123250
            I am a lecturer in economics at Murdoch University, WA. I am also a keen observer of and commentator on Muskim affairs.
            Perth, Western Australia
            Joined June 2016″
            *
            He is not a professor down under, and does it make things better?

          • 0
            0

            Dear oc,
            .
            I wouldn’t want to lock horns with either Dr Ali, Dr Kumar David, Dr W.A. or with you, on matters related to Economics. Not at this level.
            .
            I know the simple truth that individuals (and countries) cannot get by with ostentatious life-styles for long unless they work hard and produce enough of what they find themselves suited for. Here’s Handunetti whom we considered doctrinaire:
            .
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7sgrNzStss
            .
            Three minutes; Sinhalese.
            .
            That I can understand, and every rational villager has always known. Unfortunately we subvert the thinking of some of them by dangling “get rich” schemes from lottery tickets to casinos. Such thinking must be discouraged.
            .
            I don’t pretend that I have much to contribute at the other level. I read, and I try to understand. Competition for aerial signal telecommunications has succeeded in lowering what we pay. The major cost was putting up the towers; there was some duplication, but now one company rents the use of its towers to another. It happens even between Mobitel and its owner, Telecom. Telecom is partly owned by this very old Malaysian Buddhist, who is a Tamil with roots in Jaffna:
            .
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Krishnan
            .

      • 3
        0

        Sri Lankans of the day have become allergic to both federal solutions and privatization. Media dogs along with RAJAPKSHES criminals, cemented by putting SINHALA buddhism above. This time, I did not offer “free lunch” to yellow pets, amidst a big strikes made by relatives. Instead, permament beggars, street dogs were my target. I offered, them meals and enjoyed myself looking at the manner they glutonesly and greedily ate them. This I suggest to you too.
        :
        This is in different fields but not consistent. If MEADAMULANA is close to bps then privatization will work well. It all explains how BPS became untouchably rich.

        This curse must be shared with Sinhala Buddhism, the Rajapaksa mantra and the various myths that exist in this country.

    • 8
      1

      chiv

      “He also promised to address ethnic issue which in turn will help fixing our broken economy, without, it will be just a dream.”

      Ranil also tells Speaker to get Oversight Committees’ act together.

      Please note the state is kaput, rulers are behaving like headless chickens ( for 74 Years) except their focus is on gathering as much wealth as possible in the process looking for ways and means of how best to abuse power. The functionaries are ever ready to make it happen.

      The problem is that Tamils and Sinhalese are too keen observing whats wrong with India particularly Tamilnadu than finding out real curse of whats wrong with themselves and the island. Or how aboutism, US, UK, Europe … has done it why not Sri Lanka?

      We must watch out what is burning in the pot on our cooker when we cook than what Modi, Biden, Rishi, ….. cooking or burning. I have left China out because China does not burn, Xi under Mao’s guidance cook perfectly.

      • 9
        0

        Native, thank you so so much for pointing out what has been bothering me lately . Lankans should be the LAST to criticize or worry about any country including Bangladesh who inturn is worried Lanka defaulting and not paying back loans as promised. What more comedy can there be?? when Lankan’s try finding all the wrongs in countries, helping them to survive. IMF has delayed 2.9 BILLION payment in December, courtesy China not agreeing to restructure their 7.9 BILLION debt trap.

        • 10
          0

          chiv

          “courtesy China not agreeing to restructure their 7.9 BILLION debt trap.”

          Could you find out why Weeping Weerasekere, Wimal Sangili Karuppan, saffron Rathana, …. and Vasu are unable to have the loan fully or at least partly written off by China? SJ being a long term loyal supporter should have appeal to Xi, very disappointing.

    • 6
      0

      Chiv and all,
      .
      This is what a tuk tuk driver told me on a recent trip. He was happy that the RW-led government succeeded in the “cooking gas issue” and the “fuel issue” using the same resources that blessed Gotabhaya’s brutal rule. He said that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s other failure must be his talent. Thanks to Ranil, today the whole world respects us…..however, today people are attacking him and according to him it is the nature of Sri Lankan parians, he added.

      He kept me asking is it not a talent of a leader `? No new funds or IMF funds or any other donations came in, but RW has managed it to the top… according to him.

    • 2
      0

      This monk sets an example for the lazy people of this country.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caz5RPvkBv4

      At first I didn’t like him, but because of his hard work, I thought he would be a better mentor to revive the new Sri Lanka.

      • 0
        3

        Dear “leelagemalli”,
        .
        The monk’s language and tone are shocking. You live ten thousand kilometers away and seem to base your judgement on videos like this. You made a flying visit here recently; it may be that you’d have met him, but I doubt it.
        .
        Let other readers listen to this and tell us if this isn’t the voice of dictatorship?
        .
        Please let this be understood. I don’t, in any way, cast aspersions on the decency, honesty, and sincerity of LM. It’s just that he gets taken in by all sorts of people. He doesn’t want anyone to know his name or where, in Germany, he resides. I know that he travelled around Sri Lanka recently using public transport, and tried to get views by people (I’ll point out his fallacies where it will be more appropriate.). I’m sure that he did so without revealing that he makes around fifty comments on the Internet every week.
        .
        The common people whom he accidentally met would have known that his inquiries signified more than met the ear and eye. He, like the monk, is a great admirer of our illegitimate President.
        .
        The tragedy here is that LM is unaware of the damage done by dilettantes like him.

        • 1
          0

          1
          Dear Sensitive Readers,
          Let me be very clear, I did not force anyone of you to watch the video I provided, but just added as many of you reviewers usually do. It should be my right as well. However, some schizophants might be interpreting it in terms of their pathetic thinking.
          FYI, I will try to be cautious to add the sentence ” if you would like please watch the video” from next time onwards.

          If this country spent enough on ” human rebuilding” immediately after long driven war was over, things would have worked well for many of us, at least to some extent, as of today. Entire srilanken society is, to my eye and knowledge is made upside down till date. Healthy citizen building should be given the priiority number one in a country which was caught by a brutal war for a period of 3 decades or more. After that only they should have started with road and development projects.
          .
          I said I just like the present of the monk, I did not appreciate him in every aspect. I usually respect everyone that work hard. That has been
          my nature. I love youth working hard for a common goal.. Once upon a time I hated this monk as “bird of paradise”.
          tbc

          • 1
            0

            2

            We have diverse kind of monks and we have diverse kind of laity people. However, our people are constantly being misled by these monks for no good reasons.

            But today Reverend Samantha Badda has proved that something can be done with hard work.He might have gone wrong in his previous years. But it should be forgiven. This monk is thousand time better than racist dog Ghanasara. I have no biasedness when it come to speak out about good characteristics of some monks.
            mOST OF Our people scold each other and waste precious time on TV dramas or gossips. An analysis of Sinhala man’s background and what he has been doing since he joined “Guru Vishrama” will reveal it better.
            I will not show another example, but the example of this man is enough to prove the indifference of retired men and women in Ceylon. He neither eats nor sleeps properly, he does not visit his loved ones, he keeps himself in his own prison, but his foolish nature does not show him the way, so he is alienated from his loved ones. Whatever he argues, this is a typical South Asian mentality. Most of them are like poisonous reptiles. Our youth can wait decades for such a mindset to leave their future society.


            tbc

            • 1
              0

              3

              He indulges in equal measure of “gossip and hero-worship,” and the ignorant masses cannot help but turn to sorcerers for their cures. If this nation is ever to be progressive, a large number of people must change their attitudes. When termites build their burrows, they must work equally hard, contributing their labor. If citizens do not contribute what little they can to the rebuilding of society, no social rank or status will help. I have traveled a lot around the world and know how many nations live their lives and how Southeast Asians work to achieve their goals. I usually compare it to our ULTRA lazy Sri Lankans.

              A proper look at his CT archives will reveal much more about the loneliness of the Sinhalese man. The whole world now knows where he lives, but many of us, the anonymous CT reviewers, are hounded by him for some hidden reasons. Did someone give him a lucrative contract to do that, something I can’t figure out?
It could be his hobby. We keep telling him to be quiet, but he doesn’t seem to respect it. What does he want from us? What is the motive behind him? The wealthy Amrit of Velwatte worked with him against the liberal views of the “old codger”. –
              tbc

  • 9
    1

    “the dream of transforming the economy to another export driven mini dragon and raising Sri Lanka to First World status would, in all probability, remain just a dream”
    RW is right to think that because that he never thought at his 73 years of age the President status so easily without any difficulties, without any effort. He is not going to loose anything to promiose that he will bring this country to First World status. It could be possible if USA or China become the rulers of this country. This is only a promise and who bothers of promises. Sri Lankans are happy when Srimavo promised to bring Rice from the Moon. Almost all Presidents promised to remove the ececutive. Who bothers about it? Similary how many times Ranil promised to solve the ethnic problem, Mahinda promised 13+. Since 1956 they are working on it. For Sri Lankans, whether it is ruled by Raman or Ravanan no one is bothered.

    • 6
      0

      Ranil was always unfortunate with full majority in Parliament, but without the support of the President. Now he is the president without the majority support in Parliament.

      On both occasions it is a pity, but it was his own making.

      He has a road map with neo liberal policy backed by the West. He will fail again, but who else has a clear workable road map?

      • 4
        1

        RW never had a ‘full majority’ ever. It was an alliance of squabbling partners at the start, but later the squabbles were inside his party itself.
        The UNP was and is no more sincere than the SLFP or the JVP (plus all their offshoots) about a fair resolution of the national question.
        No parliamentary party realizes that this country has four distinct nationalities (three speaking one language), and other ethnic and religious minorities to consider.

      • 0
        1

        Dear srikrish,
        .
        You’re right about RW.
        .
        For fifty years he has tried to ensure that there will be nobody from his cohort who will be around to challenge him.
        .
        There are younger people:
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela


        .
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juDfoHdhLnE&t=2s
        .
        I have faith in the NPP; they are now organsing themselves. Language is a barrier. Most NPP activity is in Sinhalese. I have heard AKD speak only in Sinhalese. Saroja PaulRaj is another name to keep in mind: from Matara.
        .
        Her Sinhalese is excellent.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe

        • 0
          0

          See this old man, Panini E. has confused readers by inserting his name twice in the above comment.
          .
          In the first instance he seems to imply that he’s one of the younger people. No, the now 74 year old thought that he had come to the end of that comment of his!
          .
          What will nimal make of that? I shudder to think of what LM, in his present mood, will make of it!

  • 8
    3

    His uncle wanted to modernised like Singapore

  • 10
    4

    By 2048 it will be fully sinhala Buddhist country

    • 9
      3

      cugan:
      Looking at the state of the country I think it already is.

      • 5
        1

        Bert and cugan, If this is what you call a fully sinhala Buddhist country, then it needs to change into an all ethnic, all religion honouring nation in constitutional conformity with all the global nations of this world. It is time for this insecure limp to walk again with accountability and responsibility to authority outside of self will, to benefit all its citizens.

      • 0
        1

        Not there yet fully but almost closing in……

  • 15
    3

    Why wait till 2048? Ranil has been in politics for over 50 years …….. enough time to succeed, if he could

    He’s a born failure/loser …….. with a lot of promise

    For over 40 years, all what he did was de-sexed the opposition and made it into an impotent image of himself: neither man nor woman.

    Hi is a bigger curse to the country ………. more than even the Rajapakses.

    With any other opposition leader/leaders the Rajapakses wouldn’t have got away with so much …….. and some in the SLFP wouldn’t have been ministers most of their lives


    Then there are Ranil lovers …….. at times even myself ………. :))


    When a man loves a woman
    Can’t keep his mind on nothin’ else
    He’d trade the world
    For the good thing he’s found

    If Ranil is bad, he can’t see it
    Ranil can do no wrong
    And turn his back on his best friend
    If he puts Ranil down :)))

    • 3
      8

      Wonderful stuff, nimal fernando.
      .
      Some of us, even me, are envious of you, everybody’s favourite commenter.
      .
      Now you have spoken out so clearly! After pointing out all those indubitable truths about Ranil, you cannot possibly opt out and support him, The Tyrant.
      .
      Where’s old codger? Let it be granted that he’s a brainier Economist than you, but he’s been silenced by SJ, who unfortunately won’t read this comment, or any other by me. O readers new to CT: skip this comment. ’Tis too full of esoteric references.
      .
      Anyway, SJ has silenced oc, who is beholden to Ranil for reasons suspicious. This will be the last straw for Ramona. She will cleave to nimal. That may even be the reason for nimal to attack Ranil; so as to win Ramona.
      .
      In these matters, the end matters more than the means.
      .
      Therefore, nimal will now support me in my hour of need. Behold the many red thumbs I’ve been getting! Well those are the vagaries of life on this paradise island.
      .
      Ranil: Respice finem. Disce aut Discede is what you were taught sixty years ago.
      .
      Manel Fonseka: Can you correct the Latin, please?

      • 4
        0

        Nimal Fernando ,
        “Wonderful stuff, nimal fernando.
        .Some of us, even me, are envious of you, everybody’s favourite commenter.”

        “August 31, 2022
        That fraud, nimal fernando, who mocked at me from Cumberland, while munching on scones?”
        You’ve certainly come a long way in the opinion polls in a couple of months. Don’t let it get to your head, though, and never mention scones, OK?

        • 7
          0

          In popularity contests in school, I always came last ……. even among gals, I was next to last just one spot ahead of Native!

          Nothing has changed …….. over the years.

        • 2
          0

          OC,
          *********
          Quote
          “Some of us, even me, are jealous of you, everyone’s favorite commenter.” 31 August 2022″
          Unquote
          *********
          Why on earth is this idiotic COMMENTER describing how “even I” feel?

          First, it should be clear that he is no different from others. What other qualifications does he have to overestimate? Often his comments are nothing more than gossip. Unfortunately, these people are easy prey for the political parties of the land that Rajapaksa destroyed.

          For some reason he seems to feel he needs to be our mentor.?????? Maybe I’m wrong about that… ?
          All honest commenters are kindly requested to discuss this issue in this forum. I hope Manel and others will respond to this.
          ….. Is it a mental issue for many of our self-proclaimed inner geniuses? It needs to be fixed today.

          • 2
            0

            LM
            Take it easy. Just words can’t cause you any physical harm. The people who use those words will be taken for jokers, not you.

        • 2
          0

          I am speechless when I am forced to watch the video below

          Cabral should long have been kept in a jail cell. Please listen what he has to say today.
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvReY3O7gjo

      • 7
        0

        SM

        Like I’ve said before …… you shouldn’t take things so personally; get too personal.

        Whether you agree with them or not …….. in a free world people need the space to have their opinions they are entitled to: you need to respect that – in the same manner others respect your right to support JVP/NNP or whoever you wish.

        I have differences of opinions with OC, NV, SJ, Nathan, chiv, LM, et al ……. from time to time …….. that’s the nature of the beast ……… but I have tremendous respect and regard for them and their opinions, their real-world experience (some of which I lack.) I use them to test out if the opinions I hold are true. I don’t come into it believing it’s my opinion ……. or nothing.

        Sometimes one can be wrong …….. that’s the point in exchanging ideas/opinions. …….. But one must always offer a robust defence/challenge for opinions/ideas one holds. …….. Things are more nuanced than sledgehammer.

        • 5
          1

          continued

          It’s shameful for Ranil to appoint 37 ministers and jail people who have committed no crime ……. but one has to grudgingly accept that he has brought some stability to the dire situation in the country. I haven’t experienced the situation back home but people (family and friends, whose opinions I respect) who live there – who are no fans of Ranil – have acknowledged that. We can’t throw away the baby with the bathwater.

          Having said all that, I believe a violent overthrow of the current utterly corrupt status quo is the only solution. Many countries have recovered after utter devastation. Ranil’s patchwork remedies spoilt that and will prolong the corruption that’s entrenched.

          All the best “systems of governance” around the world have a high turnover of leaders/pols/legislators. I don’t believe your JVP/NNP is the solution ………. if they come to power they will never leave: they’ll be worse than the cabal of Ayatollahs in Iran.

          Look what has happened in Iran.

          • 2
            1

            Nimal
            “I don’t believe your JVP/NNP is the solution”
            Now you’ve dropped 15 places in the polls.

            • 3
              0

              OC,
              .
              This will cause some blind believers to attack NF next.
              All these weeks I have been their easy prey. I watched some of AKD’s videos recently and I agree with him, however, these were all theories. This is why the people of this country chased them away for 3 decades. Sri Lankan society is full of stupidity. It is like the composition of a garbage heap (reptiles and all various other creatures are in it). People are like animals to me. So how AKD or anyone with real intentions will be able to make tangible changes is a bigger question for me. In addition, it has now become a mutated cancer in nature. Everything my eyes believed in the last 3 weeks was unfair, I thought I was in hell. People are familiar and passive by nature, not reacting enough. Be it in a public transport bus or anywhere, they behave recklessly. If I continue my life there, I will easily become a prisoner. I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I am lucky to be back in Europe.

              • 1
                1

                At last, LM, you’ve actually sat down and watched AKD’s videos. I know that you didn’t, all these days.
                .
                But you could have done that from Germany. I hope that you travelled to many places. So you didn’t want to come to Bandarawela and sleep in my house because I may have slit your throat whilst you were asleep.
                .
                How little you know me! All your actions are governed by fear.
                .
                Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 483111444V)

          • 3
            0

            Nimal,

            I have refrained from taking part in this for & against battle re Ranil., partly cos my shrinking time has so other demands on it & partly because it would require a careful, continuous feed on my part. But you have just given me an opportunity to piggy-back on u & say this:

            I agree with yr:
            “It’s shameful for Ranil to appoint 37 ministers and jail people who have committed no crime ……. but one has to grudgingly accept that he has brought some stability to the dire situation in the country….who are no fans of Ranil – have acknowledged that. We can’t throw away the baby with the bathwater.”

            I, too, am absol. not, nor have ever been, either a Ranil or a UNP supporter. But I cant see much choice right now. It is terrible tho, that he seems to be leaning over backwards to keep support from the SPP…wotever…& accommodating some of its worst elements. “

            With that measly “contribution” I back out of this subject for evermore. I see no real alternative & too tired struggling to cope with all the negatives facing most of us here right now, to do more than skim CT these days..

            • 3
              0

              Having said that, I’m still trying to make up my mind whether to post something under Sarvi’s latest article re corruption in the University of Jaffna. About the corrupt actions in another uni here — back in 1975 & ’77.

              • 1
                0

                Do so, Manel.
                .
                You are ne of the few who has the ability to do so, and you have no irons in the fire, yourself.

            • 1
              0

              Manel,
              “I see no real alternative”
              Never a truer word. Idealism is no substitute for cooking gas.
              Yes, you had better stay out of the fray, unless you want to run afoul of the many idealists here.

        • 4
          0

          nimal fernando

          “I have differences of opinions with OC, NV, SJ, Nathan, chiv, LM, et al ……. from time to time …….. that’s the nature of the beast ……… but I have tremendous respect and regard for them and their opinions, …..”

          Are you by any chance holding a piha kaetta or Gurkhas’ kukri.
          Now I am worried.

          Alright, I accept I am wrong 99.9999999999% of the time. How can I educate, inform, wise up and entertain myself if you are being cynical all the time. You are not helping us with your wisdom.

          I don’t want you to end up like old Maoist, Marxist, Pol Potists, Nationalists, … seriously renouncing sense of humour, …

          Nimal Please
          impart your wisdom
          we need you
          the country needs you
          people need you.
          ….
          ..

        • 2
          0

          Dear NF,
          Some of our CT commenters can’t grasp even the basics. Sadly, they feel they are “smart”. You will see this if you talk to people from different walks of life and collect your information directly. I got an opportunity for that during my recent visit to Sri Lanka. I met many men and women like SM. However, they understood, I am impartial.

          Our society needs to change drastically with a paradigm shift. This is not an easy task. If you ask me, this should have started with ending the 30-year long civil war in the country. Unfortunately for us, the Rajapakse criminals chose it for the so-called “road and development projects”. That made them “untouchable rich” and thickened their pockets. How mlechcha they should be.
          .
          That is where the biggest failure lies. If SM or the like feel to personally attack opposite-thought bearers, he should feel to respect the others and their thoughts. If he cant do so, he should stop commenting on this forum. Is not that so ? There should be room here for diverse thinkers in the CT forum. If one supports RW, CBK, JVP/NPP or Rajapaksa should have the same right.

      • 6
        0

        Sinhala_Man

        “Some of us, even me, are envious of you, everybody’s favourite commenter.”

        He is a full time ladies’ man,
        a Casanova
        a heartthrob
        a poster boy,
        …..

        • 3
          0

          “He is a full time ladies’ man,
          a Casanova
          a heartthrob
          a poster boy,”

          That’s a description of Old Codger to a T!

          I too, am envious of him! :)))

    • 4
      0

      nimal fernando

      “Why wait till 2048? Ranil has been in politics for over 50 years …….. enough time to succeed, if he could”

      I think you are intentionally missing the point.
      The point being it would take another 75 years if you are lucky to reverse the damage done (by racists like Annagarikas to Gunadasa Amarasekera and their enforcers) to this island.

      From time to time we were led to believe single-handed “Avatars” we had quite a few, who could change or transform every aspect of our life and the world.
      Do you think Ranil is one of them?
      Please forgive me I don’t think so.

      • 5
        0

        nimal fernando

        Please don’t burden him with your expectations.
        We know how one of our home grown psychopaths not only destroyed himself but his people and partly contributed to the destruction of the country because a few of his nutters burdened him with their expectations.

        If you seriously want leaders to do something, first you got to educate people. I have no idea how.

  • 11
    0

    Ameer Ali neither minces nor throws in words, so I believed. He is slipping.
    Look at, ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW), having inherited’.
    Did he inherit?
    He was not ‘left’ with this situation. He walked into the situation.
    .
    Beyond this, it is pure Economics, something I am not competent at.

    • 10
      1

      Nathan,
      “Beyond this, IT IS PURE ECONOMICS, something I am not competent at.”
      In most countries in the world, most budgetary functions and policy are based on ECONOMICS to prosper their flock, may be with a smattering or smear of POLITICS to ADVANCE THEIR SELF OR PARTY!!
      IN THIS RESPLENDANT ISLE Sri Lanka has always been the OTHER WAY ABOUT!!! POLITICAL MOTIVATION AND THRUST WITH SMEAR OF ECONOMIC THEORY!!??

    • 7
      0

      N
      Bitterness destroys consistency of thought.

      • 2
        0

        SJ,
        .
        Thanks for the timely comment. Bitterness is like a metastasized cancer.
        :
        best wishes,
        LM

  • 11
    1

    Keep on dreaming. Go to all the first worked nations be they in Europe, Asia, America, or Oceania and see the mindset of the vast majority of the population. Honest, hardworking, very tolerant, inclusive not racial or religious bigots( will find exceptions). Law and religion do not interfere and are kept separate from politics and there is no official or state discrimination on the basis of race, language, ethnicity or religion. Compare this to the mindset of 99% of the population on the island, especially the majority Sinhalese, their elite, politicians and religious leaders. All extremist intolerant racist and religious bigots, who on the basis of Sinhalese Buddhist majoritarianism, that was given to them on a platter, thanks to the British in 1948, will not allow hard work and merit to thrive and will always want to destroy the 25% non-Sinhalese Tamil speaking minorities, their language, culture, history and land and will do anything to achieve this. Economically ruin the island and mortgage and sell large parcels of land to foreigners. They can have large amounts of land but not the native Tamil speakers, that is a no. How can this country become a first-world nation?

  • 8
    2

    Dr Ameer Ali,
    .
    This is a wonderfully comprehensive account of the state of politics right now. It accounts for most of the problems facing us, and it leads me to the inexorable conclusion that there will be a further collapse of the economy which we, who live here, certainly do not want. It’s to your credit, that you, who are comfortably ensconced in Perth, Australia, don’t want it, either.
    .
    What should we do, in the meanwhile?
    .
    https://economynext.com/sri-lanka-business-chambers-call-to-cancel-nov-2-protest-amid-growing-public-anger-101644/
    .
    That is what our families would have wanted:
    .
    https://poets.org/poem/how-beastly-bourgeois
    .
    Some idiot is likely to point out that the words “English” and “England” appear there. What can I do? That’s a poem I was taught as a student. They want me to teach English to all, but they think that only the alphabet need be taught.
    .
    This was what the Establishment, who have a smattering of English, would want. Ably debunked in just two minutes by Swasthika Arulingam, in English:
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YYagn-IPvg

    • 9
      3

      2/3
      .
      That it is going viral even among the Sinhalese is great. The NPP didn’t participate, as has been noted in this article:
      .
      https://economynext.com/battle-between-sri-lankas-main-opposition-sjb-and-popular-jvp-led-alliance-hots-up-101619/
      .
      Had I been in proximity to Maradana, and not knowing the NPP’s attitude, I would definitely have participated. Some, like me, may have. That wouldn’t have mattered one bit, because the aims resonate with what we want. We have to be peaceful in our protests, but hopefully not behave as these two minutes show:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9ym7Bb39ZA
      .
      Protesting is a dangerous business.
      I’m only a supporter; those who aspire to be leaders can’t behave like me. I’m not a Marxist, but they are the only people with guts and consistency I will back them. Who knows? If the UNP of old had not been wrecked by Ranil we would have had some other leader. As it is, I admire the FSP, led by Kumar Gunaratnam. Yes, they can be both tough and gentle. I have never had a problem with them.

      • 5
        0

        ” and not knowing the NPP’s attitude, I would definitely have participated.”

        You have drunk the whole caldron of JVP/NPP Kool-Aid ……. try to leave some for others ……..

        • 2
          0

          Nimal,
          It seems Sajith the faux revolutionary balked when the Antare boys tried to use him as a battering ram against the police barricade. Looks like his Aragalaya fervour doesn’t extend to being tear gassed.
          Now the poor thing talks about terrorists taking over the Aragalaya. His father would have told him long ago.

          • 3
            0

            old codger

            “Looks like his Aragalaya fervour doesn’t extend to being tear gassed.”

            He mummy’s boy.
            It is unreasonable to expect anything else.
            You should ask armchair revolutionary SJ to take charge of Aragalaya while keeping Dayan on his right side and Champika on his left.

        • 1
          0

          Dear nimal and old codger,
          .
          I know that I perhaps say too much, but at this juncture I think that we have to commit ourselves.
          .
          Sajith is leader only because his father was there before him. oc, I see him having got there because Ranil didn’t let go; I have seen you say things that indicate that you are not blind to Ranil’s faults. I find even LM now beginning to realise that he’s begun to realise this. However, the problem with him is that he’s all good intentions, but motivated mainly by sentiments and emotions.

          • 1
            0

            SM,
            “However, the problem with him is that he’s all good intentions, but motivated mainly by sentiments and emotions.”
            Isn’t that an excellent description of yourself?

            • 2
              0

              Dear OC,
              .
              You are spot on , in this regard.
              :
              SM can’t seem to leave me. I am sorry about that. I am just a free thinker.
              .
              Sometimes I don’t know what goes through SM s head. JVPrs might have manipulated him all along. These are just my speculations.
              Btw, He speaks for me… over and over again. Little did I know he was holding my own brain cells.

          • 2
            0

            SM,
            .
            Sometimes I get very confused by your analysis.

            The surprise is that you keep silent about Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the godfather of the great crime that destroyed this nation, but you repeatedly attack RW without saying a single word against him. No one talks in the elephant booth.
            At least RW’s leadership brought some sort of peace to the country by settling the kitchen gas cylinder issue and the alarming fuel crisis, but not forgetting the ousted President Gotabhaya using the same resources he was surrounded by. It is not a man’s talent, if we state regularly. This was the argument of my cab driver from Colombo last week.

            Do you think if MR was jailed in 2015, assuming we had proper court and legal system or died of covid, this nation will suffer more. No. The bugger is the cancer of this nation…. I am fearless to say it today than any time in the past.
            His physical presence has made the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, criminal media fraudsters and various criminals in this country profitable.

    • 3
      2

      3/3
      .
      What do the Chambers of Commerce, do? Accuse these poor fellows of “ragging” University “freshers”. Ask for evidence; none. So, they repeat ad nauseam.
      .
      I’m a coward. I don’t want all this; but they’ll never admit that a nobler and more lasting solution is for them to withdraw; let the people decide. It is their Right! Ignore those Rights as they appear determined to, and the results will not be pretty to behold; but it’s them who have decided, not me.
      .
      When Wasantha Mudalige was leading demonstrations against the Rajapkasas, he was a hero; directly instrumental in paving the way for a new Prime Minister and President. He didn’t foresee that Ranil would get both positions in succession. I don’t think that he would have thought himself ready for either position; far too young. Now he is being held in conditions so wretched that he may well perish: trumpet that to the World!
      .
      I’m just an old man supporting those whom he can trust. Let them all call me names. Ameer Ali is not a leader. I’m glad that some who live abroad are writing articles; I can’t.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela

  • 8
    1

    For Sri Lanka to grow its economy and improve the living standards of all Sri Lankan, first Sri Lanka should recognise that its minority community has a role to play in the economic development.

    Currently the minorities, specially the Tamils in the NE, are shut out form any economic development.

    As long as the Sinhala politicians pedal racism to be in power the country will never develop.

    • 0
      0

      Rajasthan,
      “first Sri Lanka should recognise that its minority community has a role to play in the economic development.”
      Actually, minority labour produces most of the tea exports. The biggest garment exporting companies are minority owned, like many big industries. There is a lot of agricultural output by minority farmers. But recognition? A big NO!

      • 3
        0

        Speaking of minorities, OC, if you are in SL (I’m afraid I am not a Sinhala man or woman, keeping up with the real names, domiciles, sex, age, etc.), may I suggest u pay a quick visit to an exhibition (or rather, a small part of an earlier exhibition), at the Independence Arcade Building, Colombo 7?

        Titled “The kahata” it consists of about 30 photos (from a larger exhibition of about 150, which in turn, were selected from 100s taken by Up-country Tamil youth who followed special workshops etc over 2 years). I was stunned by them — these people whose lives have been consumed by toiling for the greater part of our foreign earnings for over 100 years.

        There is a leaflet, Sinhala, Tamil & English copies, which gives a brief background. I dont know how long it will be on, & a larger part of the hall is occupied by photos of children’s paintings on the theme of peace and ???

        In Aug 1981 I spent a few days alone in Hatton & went on to (surreptiously) visit a lines room in the Wanaraja Estate, Dickoya. Asked the workers for permission to seem inside their “homes”. I was stunned. So much for the improvements being declared to the lines rooms. A few days ago I came across faded pencilled notes I had made soon after.

        • 2
          0

          The photographs I saw some days ago, 41 years later, are a shocking revelation of the abandonment of these people. If anything, life seems to have got worse for them.

          “The original exhibition displays over 100 photographs captured by (over) 40 youth from selected up-country tea estates. Youth from Hollyrood & Logy estates representing the Nuwara Eliya District, & … from Etampitiya & Uva Highland estates representing the Badulla District, participated in this program.

          “Through 8 workshops, these young people learnt the technicalities & artistic aspects of photography, They were encouraged to use photography to explore all angles & provoke public debate. Thus, throughout a 2-year long process, they were empowered to frame their stories through their own lenses.”

          I wish I could copy out the whole little, illustrated leaflet here.

        • 3
          0

          Manel,
          Another curious thing is the attitude of local film-makers. In many Sinhala films, there is, understandably, much display of upcountry scenery, and much pirouetting around tea bushes. But when workers are part of the plot, they often are Sinhalese. The Invisible People?

      • 1
        2

        OC
        Why does free advice shower from abroad all the time?

        • 0
          0

          SJ,
          Maybe they don’t know it’s rainy weather here?

        • 3
          0

          SJ, Similar to you showering free advise to countries located far far away. At least people who live abroad have excuse that they are still Lankans by birth (many are citizens/duel) and have the right to advise. What about you ?? advising about Latin America, North America, Europe, China, Russia, India, Cuba, Venezuela, …………. the whole world except Stupid Lanka.

  • 3
    1

    Not there yet fully but almost closing in……

  • 1
    0

    taiwan exports-388,000 usd.

    sri lanka exports- 19410 usd

    taiwan is exporting 20 times more than sri lanka.Taiwan is half our size and same population.

    but look at the percapita income on a purchasing parity basis.

    taiwan-69500 usd

    sri lanka-14000 usd

    so you can see though taiwan exports 20 times more than srilanka an average taiwanese is only 5 times better off than an average sri lankan that too working their ass off.

    i personally think it is tourism that will get us out of this mess.we have to attract high end tourists.

    • 1
      2

      “so you can see though taiwan exports 20 times more than srilanka an average taiwanese is only 5 times better off than an average sri lankan that too working their ass off.
      i personally think it is tourism that will get us out of this mess.we have to attract high end tourists.”
      *
      Can we attract high end tourists by working our asses off in hotel rooms?

      • 0
        0

        SJ

        we should copy what switzerland does.It attracts only high end tourists,not backpackers.I personally don’t know how they do it but we can too as our country is also as beautiful as switzerland and our people are naturally friendly.

        Also please look at monaco. They are only 2 sq.km.trincomalee is 7.5 sq.km.So just imagine 30000 people in quarter of the size of trincomalee have one of the highest standards of living in the world.Their mild climate,super sceney and gambling facilities have made them a world famous tourist and recreational center.

    • 0
      0

      I don’t know what is this game called PPP, but in Langkang all the prices are subsidized for the lazy Sinhala Buddhist paying by upcountry Tamils toils. . Siri Ma O even brought free rice from moon (in that case PPP = infinity). But Langkang’s real GDP/head = $3500. Evils was asking UN & IMF put it even blow so Langkang will be rated as low income (poor) country so more freebie and more donation will be coming. To come to the point if Langkang is so strong in PPP why the dollar exchange is shooting to 400Rs (the actual – if not manipulated by Nandala – will be between 500-750 Rs). Please can you explain this perplexing delima of PPP and exchnage rate.

  • 0
    0

    One anti-American professor is saying that when privatized, then international conglomerates are going to swindle the country’s wealth. The astonishing fact behind the story is he lives in Australia, where anything is not Chine-sized yet are still Americanized, and he enjoys the globalized capital market’s fruits. He doesn’t want his country to get those fruits, because the world’s highest percentage of anti-America guys are Langkang crowds, so they will nod their heads for his talks and welcome it. Well, if the conglomerates are not making profits after paying to local workers and take it to foreign banks, the local politicians rob SOEs in the daylight and deposit in foreign banks. The difference is in the first case the exporters balance the import – export account, but in the latter case the robbers keep the country going bankrupt. more and more.

    Welcome the international investors, or stand in the lines, or pay the tax robberies to the EVIL and lose anything you still have!

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