18 January, 2021

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Some Thoughts About The Change Under Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By DNR Samaranayaka

DNR Samaranayaka

The 20th amendment to the constitution was passed recently with the support of 156 members of parliament; it was opposed by 65 opposition members. The passing of 20A was helped by the crossovers of about eight opposition parliamentarians. Although some members of the SLPP were against the removal of the dual citizenship clause, they eventually succumbed to the pressure from the Rajapaksas, and voted in support of the 20A. Those opposing the amendment was led by Samagi Janabala Wegaya (SJB), the main opposition in the parliament. They argued that 20A concentrates power in the hands of the president, making him the all-powerful president so far in this country. The dictatorial power grabbed by the president, by getting the 20A passed, is likely to bring back a fear based regime that prevailed earlier under the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

20A and parliamentary election  

Gotabaya Rajapaksa (GR) claimed that SLPP received the support of the people, at the general election held on 5th August 2020, to replace 19A with 20A as the new constitution. Voters, however, did not vote for the 20A since nothing was known about it at the time of the election. They came to know about it only when it was introduced in the parliament after the election. This is the reason that objections to the new constitution were raised and the petitions were filed in the Supreme Court only after the 20A was introduced in parliament. If people knew about the contents of 20A, before the election, the SLPP would have lost the general election as most people would not have supported the proposed constitution. In fact, the SLPP at the general election lost nearly 72,000 votes compared with the votes that GR received at the presidential election. People voted for the government not because they supported 20A, but to get rid of Yahaplanaya. On a number of occasions, after the parliamentary election, the president stated that he has got a mandate from the people to introduce 20A. This was a very irresponsible statement knowing that the people were not aware of what he had in mind. 

Two thirds majority of the government is also far from the truth. The number of seats required for a two thirds majority is 150 out of 225 members, but the government was 5 seats short; it was filled by those SJB members who crossed over to the government hoping to benefit from their cross over. Since SJB opposed the 20A, those crossed over to the government from SJB also opposed the 20A. Accordingly there is no legitimacy of considering SJB members as SLPP members supporting the 20A. The president also allowed a murderer to enter the parliament, who was an MP on a SLPP ticket. This disgraceful act would not have been carried out by the president if the MP was an opposition member. These acts by the president demonstrates the Rajapaksas greediness for power.   

Cabinet of Gotabaya Rajapaksa

About 50 of the SLPP members in the current parliament were also the members of the former Rajapaksa government; a number of them are also in the current cabinet, holding key positions.  With the exception of few new comers, most other cabinet members in Gotabaya cabinet are with educational qualifications less than the senior School certificate. A common man with such qualifications, on the other hand, cannot even get a position as an office aid. Unfortunately these MPs are the people who make decisions about the country’s future. Politicians of all sides give preferences to those with minimal qualifications at any election; the reason for this is that they obey the leadership and except their decisions. Their role is to raise their hands (athaosssanno) to support the leadership. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the one who accommodates this group as his preference is for less educated people in the cabinet. Unfortunately, the politicians of all political parties do not give priority to capable men and women to enter parliament; the people cannot do anything about it since the choice of the candidate is the responsibility of the party leadership. Voters will have to either to select someone from the list or abstain from voting. It is time to ask those seeking to be members of parliament to provide details about their educational qualifications, age, and positions held in the past. Most of the members in the parliament have no respect to the position they hold. Former president Sirisena made a promise to introduce a code of conduct for parliamentarians soon after he became the president; but, like most other promises, this one too had been limited to just a promise. 

The performance of the economy

The growth rate of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) averaged around 3.1% during the last ten years ending in 2019. The highest growth rate of 4.8% was recorded in 2015 and the lowest was 2.3% in 2019. These figures clearly suggest that the economy was underperforming despite being a relatively peaceful period.  Both the former government and the Yahapalanaya failed to reach the country’s full potential. Given the poor economic performance in the country, it is not a surprise that the external factors that adversely effected the economy such as the Easter Sunday attack and the corona virus resulted in further economic destabilization. The country is going through the second phase of the virus with more causalities and many more issues to deal with compared to the first wave. 

As a result of poor economic performance, a number of issues related to the economy had emerged since the end of 2019. These include rising foreign debt and debt repayment obligations, falling international reserves and government revenue, slowing down of the economy, and rising deficits in international trade and balance of payment accounts. The most difficult problem that the country is confronted with is the looming debt crisis. It is going to remain as the most difficult problem that the country has to deal with during the next few years. Currently, Sri Lanka’s outstanding foreign debt is about US$56 billion, including sovereign bonds, which are foreign currency denominated government bonds. Obtaining loans by issuing bonds is not too difficult, provided the country has a record of good ratings. They account for nearly 40% of total foreign debt. The balance is accounted by multilateral and bilateral lending agencies. The annual repayment of debt plus interest on debt is currently around US$5.2 billion and it is likely to remain at this level for few more years. 

The former Rajapaksa administration and Yahaplanaya are both equally responsible for the current situation in the country. The beginning of the debt crisis was during the former President Rajapaksa who was heavily dependent on borrowings from China.  He obtained about US$8 billion from China between 2010 and 2015. Almost all that money was spent on projects which failed to deliver benefits as expected. A major part of this debt was spent on two projects: Hambantota harbour and Mattala airport. Both were unsuccessful. The Mattala airport was built at a cost of US$ 275 million in 2016 but it still remain as an airport rarely used for international travel. It was built by clearing an animal habitat. Any leader with an iota of brain will not make such an ignorant decision.  In the case of Hambantota port also commenced building without a comprehensive survey of the harbour. Later a rock obstructing the entrance to the harbour was detected and it cost nearly $450 million to remove it. In the end, Sri Lanka could not service the debt on the Hambantota harbour and the Wickremasinghe government was forced to give the Hambantota harbour to China on a 99 year lease for $1.2 billion. Borrowings between 2015 and 2019 by Yahapalanaya added another $20 billion bringing the total closer to US$ 60 billion. Yahapalanaya was also involved in various corrupt schemes, during their period of government; the Bonds scam was the biggest financial fraud. It was never fully investigated since the two leaders were also involved in this massive racket. The Yahapalanaya   government also spent millions on luxury vehicles, foreign travel, and additional allowances to parliamentarians. 

The debt as a ratio to GDP reached 66% in 2019. This is the third highest ratio after 106% in 2002 and 71% in 2014. The main sources of repayment of foreign debt are from export earnings, foreign investments and remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad. Earnings from exports in 2019 totalled about US$11.1 billion and payments for imports were around US$ 18.7 billion, giving a deficit of US$ 7.57 billion. Remittances of about $7 billion barely helped meet the deficit or the difference between exports and imports in 2019. These figures demonstrate the vulnerable situation that the country is faced with in the immediate future.  There were some concern in the community that the government may not be able to meet the debt obligation for 2020. However, it has been successfully settled by the government which amounted to US $4.2. This does not mean that the government has the ability to settle debts that become payable in the near future. A major part of the debt repayment this year came from the country’s foreign reserves. The amount of foreign reserves currently available is expected to be around US$ 1 billion.  

Leadership of Gotabaya Rajapaksa 

President Rajapaksa’s priority appears to be on agriculture; he has made a number of policy decisions in this regard. As part of this policy, he has banned the importing of a few items such as turmeric and ginger and he wants all agricultural products (grains and condiments) to grow locally. Availability of land will be a crucial factor in promoting agriculture in the country. A recent news item reported that the government is planning to clear around 700 hectares of forest for agricultural purposes. This will have a devastating effect on the forest cover which is steadily declining due to encroachment by powerful people under the pretext of promoting agriculture. Human activity that follows the clearance of forests will also lead to ecological disasters affecting plants, animals and valuable species. The forest cover in the country at present has reached critical level of around 25%, which is even less than the world average of 30%. The president’s main focus is to increase foreign exchange earnings and he sees that agriculture has the potential to develop the economy and also earn foreign exchange more than any other source. However, agriculture alone cannot take the country forward as it provides only a limited number of seasonal employment; it can also be affected by droughts and floods. What Sri Lanka produces may not necessarily have a demand from other countries. It is necessary for the government to obtain expert advice in order to prepare a comprehensive economic policy to address the need of the country.

The problem with GR is that he believes he can do anything. This confidence comes from his role in eliminating the LTTE in 2009 and bringing peace to the country. It was, however, not a one man job; his leadership was supported by armed forces, but the Rajapaksas were given almost the entire credit of eradication the LTTE terrorism and most others who deserved some credit were ignored. The Army commander who led the battle was sent to jail. Based on what GR has been doing on the development front, he appears to be totally ignorant about the policies that need to be undertaken to develop the slowed economy. He does not want help from professionals as he appears to be very confident that he can deal with any situation.  He wants the people to judge his performance as the president. Although he has been the president for more than a year, the country has not seen any progress to date that can be attributed to the president or to his regime. Even the management of the virus is the responsibility of the army and the health services of the country. He plays only a limited role even in dealing with the corona virus.  

He has made a number of policy decisions without a proper understanding about what he proposes. One such decision is about the usefulness of removing the middleman in marketing of locally produced goods such as vegetables and fruits etc. He believes that this will provide a higher income to the producer. Before publically announcing his idea, he should have discussed this with those involved in the industry. Normally, a middleman is used only by big suppliers to the market. He can help the suppliers by arranging a trader; he gets a commission if the sale goes through. Small suppliers do not use the middle man because the quantity they bring to the market is too small and the income is too little to hire a middleman. The middleman also makes a living from his service. If there is no demand for the middleman, his service is not sought by the producer. There is practically no role for the middleman in the income of producers, whether they are small scale or large scale.        

Another policy decision of the president is about the country’s foreign exchange setback. He assumes this can be addressed by attracting more foreign direct investments to the country. In addition, it can help to avoid the need for foreign borrowings as well. Foreign direct investments are part of the investment capital of investors. They are brought to the country to build their investment projects and the government’s only income is from taxation and services once the project gets off the ground. In 2018, foreign direct investments totalled US$2.8 billion and in 2019, it came down to US$ 1.3 billion. Unless the country receives at least US$ 10 to 15 billion per year, the revenue that can generate from direct investments is too little to help the repayment of foreign debt.  

The President has been travelling in the country side visiting few villages and inquiring   about the problems that they face. Recently he had visited two villages in Badulla district. After investigating the conditions of the two villages, he advised the authorities to implement a number of projects including a few agricultural projects. It is not clear what he intends to achieve from these visits. President Rajapaksas held the position of Defence secretary in Mahinda Rajapaksa administration and was involved in two elections, visiting almost all parts of the country. He should certainly be familiar with conditions in all parts of the country. The information gathered from two or three villages is not a sample that can be used to derive any policy decision. In a similar visit earlier, he has been ridiculed by the people for the statement he made: “I am the president of this country. When I say something it is the law of the country”.  The president appears to have taken too seriously the power he has been bestowed by 20A. 

Eliminating of corruption is another priority of the president. This is a common promise of almost all political leaders in the past. Yahaplanaya came to power in 2015 with the promise that it will take action against the Rajapaksa family, which was (and is) considered as the most corrupt regime in the recent history. If Yahaplanaya fulfilled the promises that it made, it is very likely that some of the members of the Rajapaksa family would be in jail by now, serving long prison sentences. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, former Justice Minister of Yahaplanaya, has recently said that he was the one who saved the Rajapaksas from being prosecuted for corruption. He made this statement when he realized that he was not getting a ministerial post in GR’s cabinet which he was expecting. Those who were accused of large scale corruption during the former Rajapaksa regime are now accusing the MPs of Yahaplanaya as corrupt. Corruption can never be eliminated as long as greedy politicians are in parliament. It happened in the past, it is happening now and it will happen in the future as well.  

Budget 2021

The budget 2021 resulted in an estimated cost of Rs 3,525 billion and the estimated income is expected at Rs 2,019 billion, giving a deficit of RS1, 506 billion. As the budget reveals, the government’s primary focus appears to be the development and expansion of the private sector. In support of this objective, the budget for 2021 has provided a number of incentives in the form of tax exemptions, tax reductions, suspensions of some taxes, tax holidays and tax concessions. Most of these benefits are aimed at a rapid expansion of the stock market in the coming years. Since the virus is still alive, the private sector investments in the economy cannot be expected to be forthcoming to the extent that the government expects. The rural sector, where nearly 50% to 60% of the population live, on the other hand, has not been given much assistance to at least to recover from the hardships due to the virus. The budget provides loans to farmers up to Rs 500,000; but the government appears to have not considered how many farmers are in a position to obtain loans of this magnitude or how many would really like to commit to a huge loan under the prevailing situation in the country. A few minor concessions has been provided to farmers such as free fertilizer for paddy and Rs 1,500 for other cultivations. These are, however, not new concessions. Under the public spending program, the budget allocates funds for drinking wells, rural roads and housing projects, but these projects have very little impact on the shortcomings of these basic needs that prevail throughout the country.     

Although the government expects a 5% to 6% economic growth rate for 2021, there is nothing in this budget to suggest that such a growth rate has been targeted in the budget. This budget is certainly not a growth oriented budget in the short term. Most of the investments are likely to have any impact only in the medium term. It is estimated that the growth rate of the economy is likely to remain negative between 2.0% and 4% in 2020 and given the poor performance of the economy to begin with, it is very unlikely that the growth rate passes 3% by the end of the year. During the last ten years, the economy grew by only 3.1% despite being a more conducive period for a higher economic growth.   

Investments alone cannot achieve a higher economic growth. An equally significant factor is spending. The level of spending is limited to the ability to purchase goods and services. Without a steady source of income, the only option to the people is to cut down spending. Like the government’s decision to reduce imports as a measure of reducing expenditure on imports, the people who are without a regular income will also have to do the same thing. This is the current situation that the country is faced with. The government needs to increase the income level of the bottom 50% of the population if at least an average growth rate to become a reality. Most of the people in this category are daily wages and majority of them are without any employment. Families who benefitted from remittances from their family members working overseas are also now faced with a situation to live without that support. Those who have returned from overseas employment are now without any employment; they are the worst affected groups in the country at present. Unfortunately, the government appears to have not given any consideration to the problems of those affected the most. 

What needs to be done is to create small scale projects in rural areas for the rural population to have an income that can improve their living standards and also contribute to the growth of the economy. Upgrading and renovating dilapidated buildings in schools, hospitals and government departments, providing toilet facilities in schools and towns, and rehabilitating minor irrigation projects will help the rural population to have an income and an improvement in their living standards as well. The government must postpone all these large scale projects currently under consideration for at least five years. The country can survive without these investments, but the people may face severe hardships if their problems are not considered as a priority. It is possible that hardships endured by the people may lead to political instability in the country as well. The government does not show any interest in developing even a plan to help recover the ailing economy due to the virus. It is the most needed action at the moment given the current status of the economy.    

The budget must also focus on new foreign exchange earning opportunities to make this sector much resilient and diversified. Currently the foreign exchange earnings are limited to three or four main sources and a number of minor sources. The vulnerability of depending just a few sources was highlighted by the devastation that followed the corona virus on remittances, tourism and garments, the three main sources of foreign exchange receipts. 

Sinharaja road development project

The president recently made a unilateral decision to approve a road project which has been halted by environmentalists as the road is within the protected area of the Sinharaja rain forest. The rain forest is protected under the national Heritage and Wilderness Area Act. This road is now completed. Minister Johnston Fernando, Chief Government Whip, has said that not a single tree was cut when building the road. The problem, however, is not with the road itself or cutting down a tree: the problem is when a road is built or an improvement to the road is made to allow vehicles to use the road in a protected area. It invites human settlements. As the need for this project is to facilitate access for the villagers to areas outside the protected area, it is important to examine how these settlements have come up in a protected area. What the president would have done was to discuss this matter with the environmentalists before making a decision. In a few years’ time this region could attract more settlements since the government has opened up the opportunity for it to happen. The devastation caused by GR’s decision can be clearly seen in the images appeared in the media after the road construction has been completed. It is important for the leadership to recognize that the responsibility of the environmentalists is to protect the environment and voice their opinion.

*The writer is an economist and he can be contacted at tilaks@iprimus.com.au

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Latest comments

  • 6
    41

    The writer has no right to talk about economy.

    Soma

      • 3
        2

        S. C. Pasqual


        Yesterday the Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera (cry baby according to Sarath Fonseka) threatened to release details of Criminals to the public.

        Is he threatening/blackmailing the entire clan?

        Where did he find his b***s if true?

        • 2
          2

          Mr. Native Kudda,
          .
          Can understand why you are worried about criminals getting exposed…..

    • 18
      2

      Dear Writer,

      You have been mixing it up all together.As for me, nothing is achieved by the current govt for the benefit of ths masses. Not yet.

      So we cant praise GOTA s politics yet today. I wonder why a man who lived in a civilized country for a period of 15 years to allow myths furhter be promoted misleading easy targets of island nation.
      .
      From the manner current govt gets on with court cases on alleged high crime investigations of their henchmen, they have been getting their men exonerated one behind the other. All these lead the country no second to Zimbawe or the like societies.
      :
      I dont know about you we feel, GOTA behaves as if his presidency is brought only to work on release of his family men and their bunch of thugs from their crime investigations.
      Latter was nicely articulated by Mr Seneviratne by his article.
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/all-the-courts-a-stage-reverse-process-of-high-profile-criminal-cases/comment-page-1/#comment-2371420

      • 12
        2

        Continuing
        During his brother s terms from 2005 – 2015, even getting a small lab for a rural school was celebrated going beyond the budget used for the build. That was how Rajaakashes mislead and wasted collosal amounts of people s tax money. They are shameless, but very same stupid people gave them a mandate as not even far poor tribes in Africa would do.
        With all being the ground reality, professionals and experts in Heath sections to stay mum today is more than questionable. Is that because of the threats being exercised on them ? or their inherited obsequeous nature ?

        Victor Iwan and few others have made it very clear, long before independence our people behaves like ultra slaves. This has nothing to do with tamil/muslim srilankens, but it is the inborn nature of majority sinhalaya, they just woulds not go against their slavery masters. Good governance brought much good within shorter period of time. Alone that SLTC telecasted a weekly programme called ” yatharupa” which enabled to clear the doubts of masses on sl-typical myths in established in SL society for such a long time. But there were various forces stood against it to the very same manner Good governance ended up being not successful enough.

        • 3
          1

          leelagemalli: Victor Ivon traced the history of “Vulgar” and the “Brutal” manner of punishments given by the “King” to any defiant. He failed to make a comparison of today’s punishments given by the “KING” to the defiant and the slaves who go against or raise voice pointing the injustice done to them. In today’s and modernized system is to give the “Bullet”, execute forced disappearance with no witnesses, make the defiant to perish in unlawful custody, free the convicts at will and pleasure, nominate the criminals to sit in the Legislature and make to participate in Lawmaking, etc. This is a shortlist of punishments given by the present day “King”. This Victor Ivan can complete and produce the “Volume II” of “Rajapaksewansa” replacing “Mahavanse”.

          • 2
            1

            Simon Aiya, I will add mine later. I have lot to share you in this regard. Victor Ivan or others of that nature stayed mum at the time ,MEDAMULANA mafia boss paved the way ruining the country. He should finally reveal us as to why the man stayed mum, not reacting against them. Not just poltiicians, but so called analysts and various exeperts for the locals behaved no correct while Rajaapkshe rascals did every harm to the very same people, but telling them the palatable about how saviour they had been in terms of getting LTTERs defeated. HA HA:
            Please take care. We are somewhat pressed these two weeks with Christmas holidays and year end work loads to be completed.

    • 3
      3

      soman

      “The writer has no right to talk about economy.”

      Why not?

      • 3
        3

        Because he calls himself an economist.

        Soma

        • 2
          0

          Native,
          Was that an “own goal” ? What’s happening to Soma? Menopause?!!

    • 5
      2

      soman

      I have been thinking(?), is there anything wrong with Shavendra’s eyesight, drone pictures, his 400,000 gundas, …………….. for he does not seem to see hundreds of thousands of members of saffron brigade and other b***s carriers hanging around the clan when they visit temples, functions, vihares, …… markets, ………….. yet they seem to notice Tamils visiting temples on auspicious days?

      Perhaps they are suffering from Saffron Eyes.

      Are you taking good care of yourself and your family?
      You should, especially unqualified and unfit for the job asses in control.

      • 0
        2

        Why are you so prominant. REMEMBER we are a socialist nation not communist

    • 2
      2

      Soma,
      Educate poor me. Why doesn’t he have a right to talk about economy.
      Are you on a Board that has a right to issue such damning sanctions.

      • 1
        3

        Because he calls himself an economist.

        Soma

        • 1
          0

          *The writer is an economist and he can be contacted at tilaks@iprimus.com.au

    • 1
      0

      The writer has free speech, so does everyone

    • 0
      0

      Be cautious.
      If one can accept that Cabraal, an accountant, has rights talk on the economy, surely …” *The writer is an economist and he can be contacted at tilaks@iprimus.com.au“….has , may be, a better right.

    • 0
      0

      Be cautious.
      If one can accept that Cabraal, an accountant, has rights talk on the economy, ( and even be an enforcer in of it), surely …” *The writer is an economist and he can be contacted at tilaks@iprimus.com.au“….
      the writer has , may be, a better right.
      It is the “view and facts” that matter, not the messenger.

  • 22
    6

    DNR Samaranayaka “Sinharaja road development project”
    I am not sure if the sub heading is yours or of the editors of TC
    =====
    how can you call it a development project.?
    Rajapakses may call it a development project.
    Development of their family assets.
    ==========
    Rajapakses reclaim the sea and are building a white elephant , pigs can fly (call what you like) port city
    they are reclaiming forests and turning them in to tourist spots
    ===
    they are raping the country and its natural eco system. they are oneof the richest political family in the world. they achieved it form zero.
    But they want more!!
    they want to plunder the whole country…dressed in yellow robes!!!

    ===========

    ======

    • 4
      17

      Rajash,
      Mahinda Rajapakshes projects became ‘White Elephants’ because dumbos in ‘Jadapalana’ Government were clueless on how to manage such projects although the Economic Maestro Harsha de Silva bragged before the election that they know how to make them profitable. Experts on this field had said Hambantota Port could be a Gold Mine to Sri Lanka. But traitors in ‘Jadapalana’ Government gave it to China.
      Provincial Councils imposed on Sinhalayo by India as a solution to the Tamil problem in Sinhale are ‘White Elephants’. About 80% of the money allotted to PCs are spent to maintain dumbo politicians. That did not solve the ‘None Existing’ Tamil problem. Utter waste of Tax payers’ money. Instead of getting rid of PCs dumbos in this Government want to revive that.

      • 6
        2

        Ee,
        What is ur staple food? By any chance Ratathanakola? If there were no gg govt Rajapakshes would have been hung by their balls today. Some sort of democracy was brought by them after MR administration looted it to the core . Just come with constructive arguments on what they have achieved during the 1 st year. Not even Covid is contained but ballige puthas mislead the absurd majority in the country by pleasing the gallery on and on. 😎😎😎😎😌😎😎😎😎😌

      • 3
        2

        Eagle Eye

        as usual bla bla bla with no substance

        • 3
          2

          Rajash,
          he is like a frog in a well but an octagenarian. How he became older is a greater question to me as one who is getting on with facts. 😎😎😎😎😌😎😎😎😎😌
          .
          From his comments, we got toknow this individual should have got a degree at Peradeniya. So he should have had a longer stay in hostels there. I BELIEVE, tamil senior batmates may have abused him during that period. That is but a personal vendetta. Unfortunately, he does not seem to come with constructive arguments on his provocations, but keeping SINHALAYA (actually, SLAVE SINHALAYAS)always above. i once added his thoughts to one of my friends who is a medical psychologist. According to him, the kind of individuals could be malicious all along. Any society would have been clean, without the kind of men.
          .
          You may have noticed, he has only few terms that he repeats in his abusive comments. That are
          native sinhalayo, Rajapakshes, Vellala etc.
          .
          Eagle Eye would not have chance to see it right also in his last moments, that wll be for sure. His is highly pathological. Poor chap – what to do ?
          :
          Why the very same ultra senior citizen stay tongue tied looking at the manner Rajaakshes persist in their efforts to go beyond their previous high crimes today ?

  • 11
    6

    The less said about the rajapukas hell of a Paradise is better for ones viral organs
    B.
    It has already been ruined beyond any form of redemption and all the court cases filed against them are getting the royal accent of a discharge.
    C.
    This is a have of a heaven for the criminal’s who have made this a Paradise for themselves in this horrible colony of the beggar’s where lawlessness is the name of the game.
    D.
    The masses are. Starving whilst the rajapukas are feasting and will burst into millions of stinky bits and pieces one if these sad days.
    E.
    The sooner it’s better is all that I and many others can wish for.

  • 12
    1

    You said it all. If a economist cannot comment on the state of economy who else can??? Johnston ??Take away message which many of us are already well aware. 1) Next great act of Rajapaksas will be total destruction of environment by wrong policies, sanctioning projects for favor, sell land (only thing left) to foreigners ,real estate and other filthy rich Lankans 2) Which foreigner with the right mind will invest in Lanka, when you have not earned trust, have military as admin, harass foreigners who visit and lacking infra structure. 3) GR will manage economy on his own with help of military as he managed Covid, people will never know the reality until it hits them.3) As long Corruption is concerned they all are into it. The popular and long standing discussion among Lankans are who is smarter in stealing and killing ?? who got caught when other didnt. I am sure MS made big while it lasted. 4) Debt before war was close to 100 % and almost after 10 years war ended it is still at 70 % and soon threatening to cross the previous record. As long Rajapaksas are concerned war against the unknown enemy is still on, and they will keep creating more as they go.

    • 2
      0

      chiv
      Foreign investment primarily depend on availability of physical infrastructure , low cost energy and skilled human resources rather than the political system or ethos of people.
      All the governments since JR have been faling over one another to prove their capitalist credentials and therefore local politics is no bar for potential investors.
      Didn’t the capitalist world rush to communist China for investment which enabled China to become what it is today? Why didn’t 100% democratic India receive that much attention?
      Compare Sri Lanka with Vietnam, Malaysia and Dubai in terms of the factors I mentioned above rather than the political structure. It seems to me an element of autocratic ruling is a somewhat positive factor. The point behind could the management of labor unrest.

      Soma

    • 3
      5

      Chiv,
      Tamil Diaspora and LTTE Diaspora are trying to give the impression to the International Community that LTTE is dead and gone but Rajapakshes are living with war mentality and strengthening the Armed Forces. Rajapakshes are not concerned about an ‘Unknown Enemy’. They are concerned about a known and real enemy of Sri Lanka called Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE) who are still active in foreign countries, even in countries where LTTE is banned as a terrorist organization. LTTE is still raising funds in foreign countries and in some instances these countries turn a blind eye to LTTE activities. LTTE are engaged in drug business, human trafficking, credit card scams and raise around US$300-400 millions annually. LTTE has not given up their separatist agenda. Neither the representatives of LTTE in Sri Lanka. Dong Keys in ‘Jadapalana’ Government slept with the enemy turning a blind eye to the activities of the enemy. Rajapakshes are not going to do that.

      “As long Rajapaksas are concerned war against the unknown enemy is still on, and they will keep creating more as they go.”

  • 13
    3

    War can be won by “fooling all the people all the time “. Can Covid and economy be won the same way ?? Soon Lankans will come to know ??? Person who loaned will also know how to recover. Country deserves it and people sure deserve it.

    • 5
      0

      GR will have to consult experts and formulate a comprehensive strategy to develop the country he will have to put Mahinda and the MPs inline just playing to the gallery will not help anybody.
      Already professionals are leaving the government and “viyath maga” has started to fray at the ends.
      Before long the people will rise up against all politicians they will give the middle finger to elections and take things to their own hands.
      This was what happened in the French revolution.

    • 3
      0

      The war was won by eradicating the LTTE and killing Prabhakaran.
      No one was fooled this was done and dusted.

    • 2
      0

      Dear chiv,
      .
      PART ONE
      .
      I think that this is a well-balanced article, and your comments are, as usual, spot on. Therefore, having said that I agree with almost all that you say, let me only state where I see some things slightly differently.
      .
      I hadn’t hitherto known this author, Mr Samaranayake, but I find that he has given a contact address and has often written articles. I know that some like LM and you cannot afford to do so and I have no issue with that, although I wish I could write to you. There isn’t a more generous person than LM, and I’m sure that he wouldn’t mind my directing this response to you.
      .
      I can’t comment on the Economy; I feel that there are dozens of ways of analysing, I know that it is disastrous, but wouldn’t know how to make my own criticism of it.
      .
      I see the Sirisena whom we elected in 2015 as a decent villager with all the strengths associated with such a person, but also the limitations. For me, Ranil Wickremasinghe was the villain who changed Sirisena.

    • 3
      0

      PART TWO
      .
      By the time he appointed MaRa as Prime Minister Sirisena had become a lunatic, but people like me emphatically stated that bringing back the status quo ante should not be interpreted as a personal endorsement of Ranil.
      .
      Ranil has learnt nothing; he is still the leader of the UNP; he has not allowed that Party to appoint a National List MP whom they are entitled to only because a few people country-wide had been in the habit of voting for it.
      .
      I’m glad that concern for the environment has been focussed on. A story like this reads very well, and certainly, our farmers should be able to produce more such requirements:
      .
      https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/07/spice-of-life-how-turmeric-became-the-new-gold-for-sri-lanka-villagers

      But are we clearing more forests to do so? It is not only our little country that is over-populated, the whole world is. Sri Lanka’s racism appears to lead to each social group competing with the others to increase population – which is madness. Education is the need.

    • 3
      0

      PART THREE
      .
      Education ought also to lead to more intelligent voting; “educated parliamentarians” would be desirable, but we mustn’t stipulate qualifications for candidates. If the passion that appears to fire this man is genuine, he would be preferable to more politely spoken and qualified Colombo type representatives of the people:
      .
      https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8960237/Sri-Lankan-politician-bites-raw-fish.html
      .
      Some of our people seemed to be worried that foreigners would form a bad opinion of our country! Typical middle-class snobbery.
      .
      Unless there is genuine concern for poorer Sri Lankans we are not going to defeat these Rajapaksas.
      .
      I worry about the popularity of comments by “rj1952”. Can’t readers discern the contempt that the uncouth guy has for all poor Sri Lankans? I don’t think the guy is capable of any refinement, but must others cheer him on just because he jeers at the Rajapaksas whom we disapprove of ourselves? Dilip Wedaarachchi is preferable by far. Clearly, “rj1952” supporters who cheer such are helping the Rajapaksas to remain in power.
      .
      On some matters I’m not sure as to what I ought to be writing; putting this country right will be a complex task.

      • 3
        0

        Sinhala_Man: What do you mean by “educated parliamentarian”? I know for example such an “Educated Parliamentarian” – Wijedasa Rajapakse. Have you “Assessed” his “Performance”, “Behavior” and “Contribution” as a “Parliamentarian”? In my opinion, that type of “Educated Parliamentarian” is “Worthless” and must not be a Parliamentarian. Comparatively, the present “Meti Amithi” is much better.

        • 1
          1

          Simon,
          .
          that would not bring so long their genetics are sinhala.
          :
          Few examples that are not overlooked by anyone sofar-

          GLP would not be able to leave his own opinion forgetting all his academic records
          GLP has damaged the name of all colleges from where he obtained his PhD and other degrees.

          That FAKE Prof. Channa Jayasumana behaves no different to Dhammika Paniya Producer or Wimal Buruwanse today? His role has fallen to the levels of a guinea pig.

          And those Judges and lawyers that twisted previous verdicts in favour of RAJAPKSHES today – are even public secret today.

          HOWEVER THESE SINHALAYAS HAVE PROVED IT AS NO OTHERS SOFAR.

          How shameles they have been !

      • 3
        0

        Sinhala man,

        stop writing so much

        NOBODY CARES

        • 1
          0

          Sinhala man, you wrote the same thing in three different ways my time is now wasted

    • 3
      2

      Chiv
      “Country deserves it and people sure deserve it.”
      Really?
      What about the Tamils inside?
      Tamil political class is now demanding trade sanctions to starve the civil population.

      Soma

    • 2
      2

      Chiv
      “Country deserves it and people insure deserve it.”
      Really?
      What about the Tamils inside?
      Tamil political class is now demanding trade sanctions to starve the civil population.

      Soma

    • 4
      2

      Chiv,
      War can be won by “fooling all the people all the time “.

      That was the thinking of LTTE Tamil terrorists and eventually they got fooled.

  • 5
    1

    To me it appears that the author is a “Rajapakse Slave”. To date we have not seen any progress in SL under Sir Gota. Same old rogues of Mahinda are today holding minister posts, prisoners are being killed like in pre-2015 Mahinda – Gota era prison killings, those in police custody are being killed, international rating agencies downgrading SL, all imports are banned, cost of living has shot up, petrol prices which has dropped internationally has not been reflected in SL, racist ministers want to proscribe TNA and publish the names and pictures of the criminals violating human rights, appointments as ministry secretaries and other senior government posts do not reflect the ethnic composition of the country its only Sinhalese being nominated to these posts (99%), rogues against whom AG filed cases are today being “nidos kota nidahas” and AG does not appeal against it, judiciary is corrupt, thamasha going on. So in my opinion Sir Gota FAIL!

  • 4
    0

    Sounds like the next North Korea 1) Agri will become the major source of income. Instead of people wanting they will soon be forced to work in fields. Mounting debts, difficulty getting loans, loss of jobs, unemployment, inflation, impact of Covid ,junk bonds, inadequate food supply and so called Rajapaksas green revolution (Mao/Kim version) will lead to mandatory farming. 2) Major part of the budget will be spend on defence and maintaining over sized security. 3) What is left over by Rajapaksas and military (food/education/health) will have to be shared by public.4) Rajapaksas will continue enjoy luxury, import goods, get health care/education abroad, where as public will be at their mercy. 5) Like Kim, if anyone is suspected of dissent will meet the fate of Shani,Hema and Pujitha. 6) Yet public will be ordered to celebrate their newly found prosperity and splendor, by way of singing songs, praising the family, media writing 24/7 5) military replacing admin 6)a true family autocracy The major difference will be NK is vying for nuclear warheads where as Lanka will still be called as Democrazy.

  • 6
    0

    The biggest achievement is becoming the “most corrupt President in a short period of time.”
    Since he came to power, some of his accomplices have been allowed to clear protected forest lands and claim bogus land rights, while others have been allowed to plunder millions of public money through various fraudulent deals.
    If the Justice Minister justifies his multi-million rupee rent fraud at the speed of a horse, what do you expect from lesser mortals?

  • 2
    2

    Author does not understand how the private FDI is going to help to pay back the government loans. He mentioned bonds used to pay back eternal and local loan, but carefully avoided mention Chinese loan amount. Because, the author is not able to understand that why the $10B Chinese loan is 1000 times more dangerous than $55B debt is. From that level he is calling him Sinhala Buddhist Intellectual Economics Scientist. On that issue Aanduwa economist, who think to transfer their black money to Aanduwa banks are thinking more shrewdly. More they discourage the FDI, more value for the black-money. In 1970, Siri Ma o selected Tamils’ spices and blocked. This helped industrious Tamils to recover by locally making. So JR destroyed if importing in what Tamils farmers were doing in better. For back and forth, UNP & SLFP act against market forces to destroy Tamils has brought the country downward for the 70 years. The Afghani Donkeys started Tamils working tea estate. Now Ceylon lost its tea market and land is for only plant yucca jams. So the Industry is refusing to bring the scale Rs 1000/day for the last 5 years. Never in the history after freedom, had estate workers got anything near to live the life of even a stray dog on the road.

  • 2
    2

    Singapore, Korea are countries, who were at Lankawe stage of Lankawe in 1950s, now with GDP/head is 90K, 60K. Lankawe is limping around at 10K. The author, like Ferryman, is struggling to explain that Tamils’ 30 years’ war destroyed the economy. Economic growth of the country is systematically for last 70 years at around 2.3%. But, even the matured Western economies are doing better that. No neighboring South Asian country doing comparably that bad, except Pakistan.
    Author wants to give credit to King for doing genocide of Tamils. Yes King and Ponny did it together. Now Ponny is not there. Same way Ranil and Vaalaiththodam Sr. did the same thing in South, eliminating JVP by killing 120K – 180K. Vaalaiththodam Sr. is not there. But Author doesn’t want to give Ranil the Batalanda credit like the way he wants wants to give his DSc in war crime to King. This is the inner mind of nasty Sinhala Intellectualism. Author feels Ranils is bad because he killed Sinhala Buddhists. By the sheer nature of this ugly Sinhala Intellectualism, he doesn’t want to talk Siri Ma O Standardization completely or SWRD’s Sinhala Only, those wiped the quality in everything in the country. A $400 B is spent on war. There is no country in the world is parsing Lankawe winning the war, other than few Sinhala Buddhist intellectuals & China who opened LCs and exported arms for that money.

  • 6
    0

    Every decision taken by the President so far has led to continued enormous fraud. To name a few:
    1) Deforestation is rampant in the country. Yet, the President pays no heed. Why? Because he’s under obligation to organized forestry criminals.
    2) Lankagama Road in the Sinharaja reserved forest ended up being a fraud. The condition of the road he built destroying the forest is so unsafe and dangerous that even a Simba frog will stay faraway from that road.
    3) There were a wholesale of appointments of judges to the SC and the CoA. The only intention of increasing the number of judges to SC was to reward a Muslim judge who gave judgements in favour of him.
    4) The appointments he made to the Public Service Commission are purely outrageous. Others also no better, but appointing his buddies who are owners of infamous TV channels or businesses to the Public Service Commission shows the President’s lack of knowledge on the Public Service. A President who doesn’t know the meaning of a circular, certainly not aware that the PSC should be composed only of experienced CAS or SLAS officers.
    Contd’…..

    • 6
      0

      The President excels creating crises in order to achieve his target. When the crisis erupts, he puts forward his pre-planned solution.
      5) Eg: The incident in Mahara prison where a large number of drug offenders are jailed. I guess the drug business is crippled these days due to lack of manpower. The President, being someone who publicly saved his drug-kingpin-cousin from arrest, seems to have found a novel way to revive the illegal drug industry by releasing drug offenders wholesale. The Justice Minister said that drug offenders should be rehabilitated, not jailed. Next, he contradicted it by saying that he was exploring possibilities to release them on bail. What happened to his rehabilitation?
      The reason for the large number of accumulated court cases is entirely the fault of crooked lawyers who make millions by dragging cases for years. The solution is to not to appoint judges wholesale, but to fix a ceiling in lawyer’s fees for each category of cases.
      6) Then he raises the question of lack of space and facilities in prisons. Alas! The Justice Minister provides a solution which is to build a 200-acre Chinese-funded prison complex in Horana. There are rural schools which don’t have enough classrooms. Some schools have the problem of standing water in playgrounds. Building more prisons shows the commercialization of our justice system.
      Contd’..

      • 5
        0

        Dear Champa,
        .
        Two categories of Drug Offenders, and the need to differentiate between them
        .
        Those who need rehabilitation are drug addicts who usually end up in jail for thieving/robbing so as to find money to purchase the drugs that they find that they cannot live without. That category needs rehabilitation.
        .
        The Second Category are the cold-blooded non-addict Drug Dealers, for whom My3 Srisena thought painless execution too good.
        .
        There is a rich and handsomeex-MP who is on death row for the murder of another politician, and whose daughter also became a Member of Parliament. Most Sri Lankans think that the ex-MP was also a large scale drug dealer, and that a case was being made to release him.
        .
        What is shocking is the release of drug-dealers, not of addicts, who, the government is right, need rehabilitation before release into society, where they can be a danger to themselves and to all of us.

    • 3
      1

      Champa,
      .
      Whatever the murderous step would have been taken by them would be welcome by the people in today s context.

      They have strengthened the constitution and all other means in favour of them so that opposition would nt have a greater voice even if their lovely ones would have been raped and murdered on broad day light. Most of media support them in today s context because media culture is so appalling, only silly items become headline news of the day. just imagine, what happened to the loads of antigen kits imported by DERANA TVm caught in flagrante delicto few weeks ago ? what kind of independent investigation was made on it ? Can national laws regarding import of pharamceuticals/devices be that ignored ?

      That will definitely lead to a mess in srilanken health care systems. in the near future. Very same was the case by allowing hazaardous agro chemicals incl Glyposat 20 years ago. However, natha dewiya led groups balanced it in favour of Rajaapkshes mlechcha politicians. How many hundreds of people ended up being caught by unknown kidney disease ? No proper investigations or whatever were carried out clearing the doubts of the people on such illegal purchases, even if DONKEY sirisena s election put the stop to import of Glyposat for a while though.

  • 5
    0

    The question is whether the Chinese will come to our aid. There is no sign of it yet. Financial Times reported that most of the projects on the Belt Road Initiative are doing badly. The Chinese are looking inwards now rather than invest overseas. If so, the Colombo Port City idea will also not take off. We are going to be in deep shit. One must concede that Gotha cannot be blamed for the Covid crisis. No one expected it. But, he can at least stop the corruption

  • 6
    3

    Wimpy, killing Prabha may be but not the “zero casualty” and “no war prisoners”, unless Aliens have abducted the displaced. Rajapaksas sure know “how to fool all the people all the time”, they just did not take Lankans alone for a ride, but took other international leaders, UN, world bodies and allies. When was the last time you heard “a whole family attending the cabinet” as though its a family occasion. (marriage/funeral)????? Indeed a real testimony of our super intelligent voting public .

    • 2
      0

      Chiv,
      Don’t blame the public they don’t have a choice.
      They have to vote for Hora number 1 or Hora number 2, 3 or 4…..

      I have a great respect for the Sri Lankan voter – they are doing their democratic duty by voting for someone still hoping for some good to come out of it.

  • 3
    0

    some-food for thoughts-about-the-change-under-gotabaya-rajapaksa

    prison riots by Sir Cular
    Supreme Court fire – by Sir Cular….. to destroy all incriminating evidence ?

    • 1
      0

      Even Easter Sunday attack that brought him to power was done by the same person. They are so very greedy for power they will do anything to grab power and more.

      Can’t Tamils save SL again as they did in 1993? People can help each other. Remember after 1993 help from Tamils to save SL, Sinhalese were more in favour of Tamil demands than before (than before). Prior to 1994 no one was willing to talk about devolution, minority rights and human rights. At least after that people were willing to discuss them. It will also bring ethnic groups together after decades.

      • 1
        0

        GATAM
        “Even Easter Sunday attack that brought him to power was done by the same person.”
        You see GATAM, our President even has direct contacts with Allah.
        Isn’t it a great honour for our motherland?
        The credit for this valuable relationship goes to Angel Gabrial.
        It is no secret that Gotabaya negotiated for a bigger quota of virgins above the allocated 70 for each male in the Zahran group.
        Now Gota has asked Allah to appoint Zahran as the Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Paradise.
        As a favour in return Ambassador Zahran got the Muslim MPs to vote for the 20A.

        Soma

  • 1
    1

    Whimpy, I respect your opinion but cant say the same about our voting public/enablers. Soma/Evil, do not worry about the minority (you never did) . They have survived upto now and will continue to do so. Looks like you are second guessing the great brother duo.. Another first for Lanka, exporting dead people to Maldives. You guys must be feeling proud and happy.

    • 0
      0

      chiv
      Nothing terrifies a Tamil than the thought of living in a Tamil only enclave.

      Soma

  • 0
    0

    Sinhala Man, thanks. I see you desperately searching for answers and solutions for our bankrupt nation (not just financial but in every sense). Where as many others here in CT are, as expected in different stages of GRIEF. Obviously some are angry and others seems to bargain,deny, and/or blame.The emotions too vary from depressed,overwhelmed, helpless, hopeless to frustrated. It is not an excuse for people to express the way they do (including me). But the fact is people who love their country are the ones go through such grief. Given that there is never going to be any closure or healing, these grief issues will unfortunately remain unresolved. At this stage of my life ,I readily admit to make more mistakes than getting correct. I am open for criticism as long it is valid, but not outright denial/lies told by politicians,which in return are parroted out here as facts. Thanks again for your honest opinion. (and keeping me grounded)

  • 0
    0

    Soma, agree with foreign investment in Dubai, Vietnam and Malaysia. But remember they all made necessary REFORMS to attract foreign investment. Foe example Dubai which is considered fundamental and rigid , opened up for foreigners to not just travel but buy land/property,settle and continue to practice their religion/culture at ease. Malaysia and Vietnam too seems genuinely thriving openingup
    and diversifying country to cartain extent hoping to attract investment. Can you say the same with Lanka ????

  • 0
    0

    Soma, you mean to say SB are very happy to live in Sinhalese only enclave.

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