22 October, 2017

Selling Sri Lanka

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

The manner in which the government privatised the Hambantota port has shocked the nation. Parliament was not allowed to debate the Agreement to privatise one of Sri Lanka’s most important strategic assets. No one knows who did the valuation of this asset. No one appears to have seen any technical/financial evaluation report. The government has also not explained to the public on what criteria they selected the company that won the bid when there was clear evidence that the other bid was much more favourable. This headlong quest to sell state assets is a direct result of the economic crisis that the government has plunged this country into. After the yahapalakayas lied their way to the presidency in January 2015, they knew it would not be possible to win the parliamentary election that was soon due by the same means, so they increased the salaries of government servants, reduced the price of fuel, gas and certain foodstuffs in order to bamboozle the people in a different way.

Thereby, they increased government expenditure while simultaneously reducing revenue, creating the present financial crisis. According to the Auditor General’s reports, the Budget deficit which was 5.7% of the GDP in 2014, had almost doubled to 10.5% in 2015 in just one calendar year. The lack of money to meet day to day expenses including the salaries and pensions of state sector employees resulted in massive foreign currency borrowings. In just two and a half years, the yahapalana government has taken foreign currency loans amounting to over USD 13.7 billion. All this money has been spent on consumption. USD 13.7 billion is the equivalent of ten Norochcholai power plants or ten Hambantota Ports, or more than twenty Southern Highways. But the government has nothing to show for all this money that has been borrowed and spent.

Under IMF instructions, the value added tax and other taxes were increased in 2016 to raise money to repay these debts. After imposing taxes even on terminally ill patients, the government was still not able to raise enough money to repay the USD 13.7 billion they borrowed and they have now resorted to increasing non-tax revenue through the sale of state owned assets. The Budget proposals of the yahapalana government make it clear that they intend privatising all state owned assets ranging from non-strategic business establishments like the Colombo Hilton to strategic assets like the Norochcholai power plant. The sale of the Hambantota port was just the beginning. The Prime Minister has already announced that the Mattala airport would be next. Other assets like the Colombo -Katunayake Highway, Southern Highway, Water Board and Electricity Board are also due to be privatised.

In their desperation to justify the sale of government owned assets, the government has been deliberately running down the enterprises they want to sell, as for instance by stopping bunkering operations in the Hambantota port. The total amount that has to be paid for the Hambantota port is USD 1,266 million capital + USD 495 in interest – a total of USD 1,761 million by 2036. By the end of 2016, nearly USD 500 million of this total amount had already been repaid. There was never any problem about meeting the payments for the Hambantota port because it was paid out of the profits of the Ports Authority. With its privatisation however, the loan taken to build the Hambantota port will be transferred from the Ports Authority to the Treasury to be paid by the tax payer.

The government has been trying to justify the privatisation of the Hambantota port  on the grounds that the land for the Shangri La hotel was sold outright by my government. The few acres on which a non-strategic asset like a hotel is built cannot be compared to a strategically important port with four terminals, 12 berths and a 5,000 acre industrial park. The Shangri La land moreover was given on the specific condition that it can be used only for a hotel in accordance with the government’s urban development plan. The government has also been saying that my government gave land to a Chinese company in the Port City. The Port City is new land that is being reclaimed from the sea. This land has commercial value but is not of strategic importance like a major harbour.

Once the new land mass was created, the company carrying out the construction was to have the use of a very small part of it subject to Sri Lankan law, in lieu of payment. The entire project would not have cost the Sri Lankan government anything. It should also be borne in mind that my government enacted the Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Act No: 38 of 2014 which restricts the ability of foreigners and foreign owned companies to buy land in Sri Lanka but the present government removed all such restrictions by Land (Restrictions on Alienation) (Amendment) Act No 3 of 2017. My government built or created new things. The present government is making a living by selling what my government built.

The government will not be using the 1.12 billion USD that comes from the lease of the port to pay the loan taken to build the port. Instead the money is to go to the treasury to meet the day to day expenditure of the government. The USD 1.12 billion raised from the privatisation of the Hambantota port is small change for this government and will soon vanish just like the USD 13.7 billion they raised earlier. As public indignation mounts at the manner in which the Hambantota port was privatised, yahapalana ministers are now going around saying that my government too had planned to sell the entire Hambantota port to the  Chinese. This is a diabolical lie. Everyone knows that my government had an explicit anti-privatisation policy. Not only did my government refrain from privatising any State assets, we reacquired several important assets that had been privatised by previous governments.

If things continue in the present manner, Sri Lanka will not have any national assets left by the time this government ends. The people should band together and organise in the villages, towns and workplaces to oppose this government’s quest to sell Sri Lanka off to foreign buyers.

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Latest comments

  • 10
    8

    If the Journalist is talking about how Mahinda Rajapakse supported the Sri lankan air lines by appointing his womanizer brother in Law who bankrupted it, then everybidy understands the importance of keeping white elephants for Sri lanka and handing over to their own henchmen. Ranil wickramsinghe is no different.Within the first 100 days, he cleaned the Central bank. It says, Ranil has sold the profitable govt institutions such as Tea estates and they are now losing money. Now every year, Ranil wickramsinghe sells something in order to cut down yearlly losses.

    • 19
      1

      Jimsofty your leader MR got someone else to type:

      “If things continue in the present manner, Sri Lanka will not have any national assets left by the time this government ends.”

      Therefore would you please care to return all that your clan looted from the state coffer, commissions, ….. cash and money found in Vanni just after 2009 when you were the Absolute Abusive Ruler, your brother was the Chief National Hangman and and your kid brother was the one stop shop man where everything costed more than 10 to 30%?

      • 3
        2

        Did you read the article? 10 Hambanthota Ports or 20 express ways worth money borrowed for consumption..not development. If Mangala malli can find the alleged US$18 billion looted by the Rajapakshas then we the people (or rather some of the people) can consume some more. Where is the alleged loot? Is the Interpol looking for it? Truth is a bloody nuisance no men?

        • 11
          0

          wannihami

          Alright, lets assume it is less than the alleged US$18 billion, where is it?

          ” Is the Interpol looking for it?”
          Has the state already requested the International Police to investigate the crooks?

    • 13
      2

      There is nothing left to sell in Srilanka. Srilanka has lost everything during the Mahinda regime. Mahinda sold 2500 year Sinhalese & Buddhist culture, the image of the nation nationally and internationally was lost, the wealth of this nation was now banked on many countries, Srilanka become the worst human right abuser, Srilanka is a nation of genocide & war crimes, the worst corrupted nation in the world. He not only killed Law & order, Justice but also Lord Buddha. What else left?

    • 11
      1

      Mahinda Rajapaksa ————————————————————–Who is your audience? The fraction whose IQ’s ate below 79, the average IQ of Sri Lanka? ———————————————————————So, what did you do after the war, the war won by the War Hero Sarath Fonseka? Jail him and loot the country. Hambantota Harbor cost $1.3 Billion. The cost was $700 million. You pocketed $600 million. Why not return that loot and the other loot you stole, so that the country will not need to sell parts cover the loans you took.————–Crocodile Tears! ——————————-Time to sing:
      MaRa MaRa ChaTu MaRa
      MaRa MaRa AmaNa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa HoRa MaRa
      MaRa MaRa DhushaNa MaRa

    • 12
      0

      How come a man who looted almost everything and made each everyone a debtor as no other leader did, – come with the kind of thoughts.. that srilanka is being sold out…

      Actually, as the analysts see it today, without taking loans from China or any other foreign banks, Rajapakshes could agree upon deals as many other countries do.
      Just having decided unanimously for taking loans, he created all the problems in this country… today as if he is reborn… he comes with the the kind of thoughts.

    • 0
      0

      Does Ravi K and the courts know the concept of the term DUE DILIGENCE? The finance Minister and PM has the responsibility to conduct due diligence re. the place where they live.
      Mahinda Jarapassa and Ranil Wickramasinghe both should share the same prison cell for Financial Crimes against the people of Sri Lanka and selling of State lands and assets to Chinese.
      Ranil is now selling all DATA to the United States including via ICTA which is funded by US. Recall that the right wing Millennium Challenge Corporation and its Fake experts also have promised USD 1.1 Billion to Ranil, just like the Chinese gave 1.1 billion for Hambantota!
      Sri Lanka is well on its way to becoming like Greece – between the Chinese debt trap and US/IMF fake experts who promote corruption, taxing the poor to benefit the global 1 percent via MCC fake expertise and advice which costs 1.1 billion USD!.

    • 1
      0

      Pot calling kettle is black.

      I really dont know why there are still guys surrounded by Rajaakshe to work for him knowing the guy was the person to have sold out some lands of srilanka.

      There all these men and women stayed as if they were made deaf and blind
      Today, since media is given a place inthe society, they just abuse the media freedom.

      Balligeputha Rajaakseh should know what he has been packed in his prevarications one behind the other. He must not prove his stupidities again.
      If the bugger loved this country, would he have ever dragged away billions ?
      Would he have ever worked for the bankrupsy of SRILANKENS airlines ?

      Would he have ever killed a young chap in the age of his offsprings ?

      Would he have ever worked for the birth of SAITM ?

      Would he have ever killed LASANTHA or any innocient people of this country ?

  • 14
    1

    Sir, your greed for power was your downfall. Your pathetic NONBUDDHIST reliance on Rasputins, soothsayers, S.Indian Tamil and Malayali sorcerers etc was your downfall.Try to be a real Buddhist first.

    If you did not bring in the amendment to be in power, people would have hailed you and carried you back into retirement on the backs of our shoulders.

    FACT for you so you do not swallow dead ropes. We are disgusted with GonPaalanaya and Ravi K and other other horas. But we are NOT ready for your corrupt and highly intolerant ways. We have freedom of expression now. Colombo Telegraph is not blocked by Gotabaya. Your vainglorious projects without heed to EIAs and billions of dollars of commercial loans has caused massive problems.

    Your candidate will NOT and CANNOT win the Presidential election. Numbers will not be there. UNP has a solid 35% to 39% of the Sinhala Vote. And RW or Sirisena will get 96%% of the Tamil and Muslim votes. Obama only got 40% of white votes yet he won.

    So no one from your party can be the next President. It is smarter for you to abolish the Presidency and ask for a first past the post system for Parliament. Because even in 2015 if we used the old system, SLFP had more seats than the UNP by a small margin.

  • 12
    1

    The manner in which you built a wasteful Airport shocked the nation.
    The manner in which you claimed credit for Lotus Pond Center shocked the nation.
    The manner in which you wasted money building Hambantota Harbour shocked the nation.
    Your vainglorious ways and desire to be a Bandaranaike like ego by naming everything shocked the nation.
    But we were too afraid to talk then. STOP STOP STOP And take a look within. You got your cronies to attack the CJ. Your 10th grade failure Basil Brother got the CJ Impeached after you gave her husband the crooked Pradeepal Kariyawasan a job to make money. So who is at fault? Who wanted the 18th amendment?

    The Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka removed the limits on the number of terms that a President may serve and created a Parliamentary Council to appoint posts like Commissioners of Election, human rights and Supreme Court judges.

    We would have thanked you and carried you home on our shoulders for winning the war and retiring gracefully like JR did if you did not have so much greed. And your sons were way too arrogant too and too stupid to know they were arrogant.

  • 9
    1

    Did you have a better plan to come out of this trap you yourself created?

    “Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, faces sentences on seven verdicts of misusing billions of dollars in government funds while in office, ………………………….”.

    Now MR, we can guess what happened with Uma Oya too.

  • 13
    2

    MR you r the one who had sold the country to fill your crooked familys pockets. You r a disgrace,hypocrite and liar , the reason why the country is in a mess and u have the gumption to get the other crook glp to write these laughable and idiotic articles in your name.fools paradise
    Get real because very soon all u scoundrels will be in jail.

    • 0
      5

      Brother, can you read? Have you calculated how much money was/is needed to pay the piper..the state employees and pensioners whose vote was bought by promising pay increases, simple arithmetic brother.

  • 16
    16

    It is quite obvious that this piece was written by a former official from some ministry of the previous regime, although Rajapakse’s name has been attached to it. I would be ashamed to have got someone else to write articles and to add my own name as author.

    Readers will recall the hymn-like verses of platitude that were coined then, starting with “Maharajaaneni, aryuboe weywa maharajaaneni” when the former leader walked in to a social or cultural event in Sri Lanka, whereas when he attempted to address the Oxford Union in England, he was summarily dispatched, almost as a persona non-grata..

    • 16
      8

      What does it matter who wrote it??
      Seems you are competing to do write ups so in that case try reuters for clock work than bray on CT. the article carries very high degree of honesty.

    • 7
      6

      When you say this piece was written by a former official from some ministry, did you mean it to be a former diplomat from external affairs ministry during previous regime. Also your statement that “Whereas when he attempted to address the Oxford union in England” is factually incorrect. Mahinda never went anywhere near Oxford University, as he was chased away right from Dorchester Hotel to board his plane in Heathrow.

  • 7
    5

    Your Excellency, Your party will never win the next Presidential election. Thank you for the unstinted support and courage you gave to the movement to fight Tamil Facist Tigers to the end. We are grateful but you need to remember Churchill lost the election after he won the war. Your arrogance and promoting yourself like a deity and being intolerant of free media was your downfall. You do not have the numbers to win a Presidential election.

    You should all back doing away with the Executive Presidency if you want to have a chance of forming a government. You will never get more than 5% of T and M votes. UNP has a voter bank of 39% Sinhala votes. You have a better chance at forming a government at Parliamentary level through elections because neither Gota the honest brother but who was so temperamental and paranoid and hysterical nor your 10th grade brother the crooked Basil can win a Presidential election. So get used to it Sir. Gota is great but again the numbers are not there for you. Sinhala catholics will also vote for the UNP enmasse; so will Muslims and Tamils.

    It is a joke for your to express concern because you wasted so much money on the useless Airport and Port in Hambantota. Also you tried to get credit for what other people started and had the finances worked out. Your one man ego show where you tried to project yourself as a King FAILED because of social media. FACEBOOK and TWITTER caused your defeat like it caused Hillary Clintons’ defeat. Once the free media works you cannot force it to become silent.

    • 5
      0

      Current govt did not sell the sri lanka to anybody but you already sold the country to china during your governing period before January 2015.

      this for you to remember the past.

      Thank you

  • 9
    1

    Mahinda old pal

    There is no point in splitting hairs as to who sold what to whoam & who is responsible for the sorry state of affairs in SL. Remember you started it in an exponential scale or do you think we all gullible with short memories? So put a sock in it & don’t tell us that you are the ‘whiter than white’ Savior of the country. Just enjoy your retirement with the wealth you have plundered that will last for generations instead of trying unashamedly to crawl back into power.

  • 0
    7

    Ranil shows that he is an economic expert. Out of $ 10 billion ox foreign exchange earnings exports accoun only about $ 1.7 billion. $ 7 billion is foreign remittances by those who work overseas. tourism is the balance. On the other hand, Sri lanka’s import bill is $ 20 billion and that includes rice, Salt, chilli peeper, Onion. In the next election the number of provincial politicians will be doubled, I heard, what for ?

  • 6
    1

    Every politician in Sri Lanka has demonstrated that he is a crook living by stealing public money. Rajapakses were huge thieves. They are now followed by crooks who want to outdo them. Rajapakse is envious that he is not there to skim off the public cream and that it is now the turn of others.

    We should devise some punishment for these crooks. The Romans used to tie their crooks in sacks with a viper and a monkey and throw them into the Tiber. That will not work as our politicians are more vicious than vipers and are monkeys themselves. So, the best would be to send them for trial in some neutral country and keep them away from SL where they will whip up hatred and ensure that they remain in power.

  • 3
    1

    The present GoSL is but replicating the tactics used by the old GoSL. For example to prevent the MPs crossing over, the MPs vote themselves duty free cars etc.
    Will such unethical activities ever stop?
    Lots of money went down the Gallleon collapse. Signs are the Qatar investment will go down drain. Ostensibly private wealth but are they really?

  • 4
    1

    Is this our “KARUME” (karma – Bad) to read all these obnoxious writings by disgruntled political rejects of the country?

  • 9
    1

    Rajapakse, you dirty scoundrel! You call those monumental wastes of public money ‘assets? You have single handedly condemned the stupid Sri Lankans to a generation of debt. Not one or two but at least 3 outrageous violations that you should be imprisoned for. A disgusting criminal feeding off a spineless and clueless nation

  • 7
    1

    For the guilt of crimes you have committed to get erased from your genes, it may take as much as 9 generations. But history will remain as it is, which would state that you and your family ruined Sri Lanka.

  • 3
    0

    Current govt did not sell the sri lanka to anybody but you already sold the country to china during your governing period before January 2015.

    this for you to remember the past.

    Thank you

  • 3
    0

    Message to the Great Liberator:

    All this is very rich considering that YOU (and the coterie that hung on to your satakaya) sold this country down the river, and pocketed a good percentage of the proceeds.

    Mind you, the present lot are not that much better. What is means is that the majority of our political clan are a waste of time; most of them have come into politics to serve themselves and put two fingers up to the welfare of WE the People.

    The time is long overdue for a newer breed of politician who will come into politics to serve the people.

    • 2
      0

      Spring Koha

      Do you think that Sri Lankans are ready for a new breed of politicians? Or a political party? The problem with Sri Lankans is that they want to be pampered , they want things as of by birth right , they want every thing subsidised , they want to hear grand promises which cannot be delivered. They want everything given to them in a platter without personal effort. They want to hear lies by politicians instead of truth.

      They vote and go home and sit comfortably for goodies to be delivered. That’s why we have politicians in Sri Lanka and not statesmen.

      This article is an blatant example that the present politicians know that they can hoodwink the people.

  • 1
    5

    Gather the patriots, Workout a plan, Correct your mistakes,
    You are thousand times better than gon palane!
    People know that!

    • 3
      0

      srinathan gunaratnam

      “You are thousand times better than gon palane!”

      Good could we have the comparative study on who is 1000 times better than the other.

      Thanks

  • 3
    0

    The Singhalese treated Tamils as enemies and now look the country is bankrupt.Poor dears why did

    you all fight?You should have shared the wealth of the country with your own citizens and not be

    reduced to this state.Tut!Tut!

  • 7
    0

    This article written by someone for MOST DOOSITHA MARA, is like TSUNAMI HORA POT calling the KETTLE BLACK.

  • 4
    0

    Dear MaRa Sir,
    I would like to expand on one of the points Srinathan Gunaratnam raised.
    With regards to the mistakes and blunders you made during your regime why not you come clean by confessing in an article and publish in CT & other news papers. Sri also advised you to get the support of patriots. Sure you can ask Dr.Smart P DJ to write for you.

    MaRaSir, Please make Srinathan Gunaratnam’s dreams come true.

  • 3
    0

    “There was never any problem about meeting the payments for the Hambantota port because it was paid out of the profits of the Ports Authority. “

    robbing peter to pay paul. has mahinda ever heard of something called a feasibility study?

  • 5
    0

    How was he a President without even knowing the difference between leasing and selling? Even if its a sale, the land, buildings and the operations do not leave the country and go to China, its still in Sri Lankan soil. So in effect we have the cake and also able to eat it. Whats wrong in that, we get money to pay the loans Mahinda Rajapakse took and played out and also stole and took commissions and then we do not burden the people with taxes to pay the loans of Rajapakse back. Mahinda Rajapakse has once again displayed his ignorance in a big way.

  • 2
    0

    I think what Mara is trying to say is that he was more efficient in selling Sri Lanka that the present Govt.

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