2 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka After Yahapālanaya, Easter Sunday & Covid-19

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa -Prime Minister

According to the IMF, in 2014, Sri Lanka was among the fastest growing economies in Asia. Economic growth averaged 6% during the war years from 2006 to 2009 and increased to 7.4% in the post-war years from 2010 to 2014. The debt to GDP ratio was reduced from  90% in 2005 to 75% at the end of 2014. The All Share Price Index rose from 1,922 in 2005 to 7,299 by the end of 2014. Sri Lanka’s per capita GDP in US Dollar terms increased threefold from USD 1,242 in 2005 to USD 3,819 by the end of 2014. The biggest infrastructure building programme in post-independence history was also carried out between 2006 and 2014. This economic boom was achieved despite the war, the global food crisis of 2007, the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the highest crude oil prices in history. Crude oil cost an average of USD 74 per barrel from 2006 to 2009 and USD 103 from 2010 to 2014.

After January 2015 everything went in reverse. The economic growth rate dropped to 5% in 2015 and declined year after year ending up at 2.3% by 2019. The value of the US Dollar appreciated against the Rupee from Rs.130 in 2014 to 181 by October 2019. Sri Lanka’s total outstanding debt increased by 74.4% from Rs. 7.39 trillion at the end of 2014, to Rs.12.89 trillion by October 2019. Between January 2015 and October 2019, the total foreign currency borrowings of the yahapalana government in the form of Sovereign Bonds, Sri Lanka Development Bonds, Syndicated Loans and Currency Swaps totaled over USD 26 billion. Despite this borrowing spree, absolutely nothing of lasting value was built by the yahapalana government. The All Share Price Index declined from 7,299 in 2014 to 5,990 by the end of October 2019. Yet during the entire period from 2015 to 2019 the average price of crude oil was USD 60 per barrel – the lowest in recent history. 

There were no external, global reasons for this economic collapse. India and Bangladesh experienced robust growth between 2015 and 2019. The Easter Sunday bombings of April 2019 exacerbated the yahapalana recession. On 16 November 2019, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa inherited an economy that was in shambles. It was in such a context that the entire world was engulfed by the Covid-19 pandemic. A worldwide economic crisis reminiscent of the 1930s Great Depression is widely expected to follow the Covid-19 pandemic. In this new global environment, even the option of going overseas in search of greener pastures will be very limited because all countries will be facing economic hardship and mass unemployment. The Covid-19 pandemic has left all Sri Lankans with only one option – building Sri Lanka. The choice is stark – pull together or perish. 

When the Secretary to the President Dr P.B. Jayasundera in his capacity as the foremost officer of the public service, recently appealed to public servants to contribute whatever they can from their salaries to tide over this crisis, the opposition attacked him viciously. Knowing fully well that this was only a request for voluntary contributions, they tried to portray it as a compulsory deduction. Dr. Jayasundera played a central role in the 2006-2014 economic boom. The opposition obviously hopes to undermine the government’s economic recovery efforts by singling out capable state officials like him for attack.  

We should all realize that this yahapalana political culture of vilification and false propaganda has no place in the post-Covid-19 world. In the difficult times that lie ahead, Sri Lanka’s economic survival and the futures of our children, depend on the vision, ability and skill of those running the country. German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently stated that Covid-19 had hit Germany at a time when the economy was doing well and they had the strength to face the crisis. The situation in Sri Lanka was the exact opposite. We should all be mindful of this reality and make our choices and decisions accordingly. Everyone knows what would have happened if the yahapalana cabal had been in power when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Sri Lanka. The team that is now running the country from the President downwards, won a war that was deemed unwinnable, and presided over the greatest economic boom since independence despite impossible odds between 2006 and 2014. That is the kind of leadership needed to steer this country forward in the post-Covid-19 world.

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Latest comments

  • 38
    2

    Dear Mahinda Mama,
    “We should all realize that this yahapalana political culture of vilification and false propaganda has no place in the post-Covid-19 world. “
    Unlike you (or your speech-writer), we haven’t forgotten how you and your media lackeys vilified everything the last govt. did . You cynically turned everything from free ambulances and the price of petrol to the MCC agreement and fallopian tubes into issues of fake patriotism. This of course motivated the idiots who voted you in. You have now made the media so tame that when LIOC raised its prices, they deliberately hid the fact that your own govt. raised the tax on imported petrol a month ago.
    You have the bloody nerve to use the very website that you banned, to preach to us about patriotism while planning commission-generating stadiums and highways while millions have lost their livelihoods.
    Just answer two questions:
    1 Will you restore the fuel price formula?
    2. Will you sign the MCC agreement or not?

    • 32
      4

      Mahinda,
      The next time you post on CT, please send a photo of yourself as you actually are now, a senile grey- haired old invalid with bags under your eyes.

      • 3
        0

        OC
        That is something that you should tell CT because they select the images.
        At CT, they have a large stock of images in their archives.
        Some years ago they willingly displayed unflattering images of certain people.
        I doubt if they will risk the fury of the family.

        • 2
          0

          SJ,
          Many politicians have this desire to look Churchillian, despite Winston himself being a senile old fart in his later years.

          • 0
            0

            OC
            My point is that CT makes some not very nice choices.

    • 26
      2

      Who is elephant in the room regarding current politics in srilanka ?
      .
      1) Mahinda Rajakshe
      .
      2) Or any other politicians from UNP/JVP/TNA/MC ect
      .
      1). You are the problem maker to this nation – as is the case with US and UK leaders that chose to stay away from politics after serving two terms, paving the way others to do the job even better, you are leeched to srilanken politics in order your BASTARD sons and criminals to pluck the fruits for an another abusive era.
      .
      2) You are not at all an honest leader – that understood the people ‘s problems, even if you now say, that your admistration proved to have 6% growth in economy even if your then secretary of finance was branded as the ” ARTHIKA GATHAKAYA ” by your constituent party men- is an shameless act not having realized that the people are no that studpid as appeared to be.

      Siriensa may have bene the ULTRA MODAYA to have prevented you from being convicted for your high crimes – but he should have done it for various reasons – with one of them being, he thought his safety going above the national security. Looking back he should be beheaded to have let over 270 of innocient worshipers being killed by that bombing.

    • 0
      0

      Mahinda does not even come to give any press briefiings as of today.

      But before the election, GIVE us the govt, we will show you how to improve the economy … ha ha.. these ballige puthas have not done the least of former govt sofar.

      But slaves are made to self-congradulate… and self proclaim… I believe the coming colour is no good for Rajakahsess in the near future.
      :
      People that brought that back to power will stand against to drive them away sooner than later.

  • 28
    3

    Tsunami? Help Hambantota?

    Your memory is now failing Mr Rajapaksa. Funny thing your speech writer Cabraal is the same.

    • 14
      1

      Gatam,

      I think his writer is GLP. Not Cabral.
      Cabral is said to be under pressure today – because all is clear that bp was the master mind of BOND SCAM that made up 100 times more than that of Good governance period. :
      Besides, so called BOND losses in Good governance period is 11 billions and according to the experts of SIRISENA, the size of the loss since 2008 to 2015 were estimated as 900 billions or more. Media men that become caricuatures of BASIL Rajakshes now become – SLAVE -JOURNOS leaving their ” investigative journo titles aside”:

      • 3
        0

        Quite possible.

  • 20
    1

    Former President, incumbent PM@

    At least 50% of this nation would not suffer from selective amnesia. They can well recall how your adminsitration ended up by 2015.
    *
    Meaning, people are not that stupid as you people make every effort to paint in favour of your thieves.
    *
    We thought that you would have learned something since 2015. But your abusive nature seems to have turned out to be worst – this was well displayed by your reactions during that short lived 52 fake govt.
    *
    1) There are speculations that former president SIirsena would not have become that mad, if your vicious sentiments led by you let that administration to do their mission as they pledged to the nation
    *
    2) Remember, Sirisena was about to be tested for his SANITY immmediately after SC ruled out that unconstitutional actions following 52-day FAKE govt- all the actions were based on the very same group of advisers that mislead incumbent president today.
    *
    3) But I wonder you to have termerity to come forward and raise the issue today, putting the entire blame on the previous govt, whose President was overweakened by your mediation based on power greedy tactics and making every efforts to block your court cases based on numerous high crimes and their investigations.

  • 17
    1

    Now that Covid is officially declared over , UNCLE is back with his politicking. Uncle, is this a campaign speech , or relief work speech or both/ none of the above. . Your counterpart in EC wants to know ?????? Uncle, Any thing new in “Sorry Lanka” ???????

    • 15
      1

      Chiv,

      we warned the people last Nov 2019. But punnaku eaters dominated srilanka never respected the truths.
      .
      I dont think it is right to call him Uncle.

      He is the most known god father of high crimes in south asian region today. But for some reasons, people are yet scared of calling a spade a spade.

      As of today, nothing they pledged in PE election are fulfilled.Wimal DONKYWANSA is dead silent today.
      .
      Situation is worsening day by day. People s situations are more or less like fell on to fire today. Did not you hear that 3 women died in stampede in maligawatta day before yesterday ? people are so poor today not being able to manage their 3 meals. The rich business man was distributing like 5 dollars to each every year but no such deaths were reports before.

  • 24
    2

    Srilanka’s president Gotabaya asked Indian PM Modi for 1.1 billion US$ in addition to 400 million US$ already got from Modi. What is the deal he agreed with Modi. Gota also got a deal with USA recently. So, now the country is now prepared to sell part of the nation to USA and India. What happened to those who did propaganda against USA and India before election? Is that to Cheat Sinhala Buddhists?

    • 14
      1

      In exchange an agreement to implement the anti Muslim campaign perhaps? The two racist leaders have something in common.
      Minorities are discriminated and attacked, and it did start again after his visit to the racist leader in India.

  • 17
    1

    Yes! Hon. Percy! Things are bleak alright. What s the use of your trumpetting that things were good when you were at the helm and everything went “down the pallang” after the “Yahapalana” regime? Now the buttons are with you. SO YOU HAVE TO PUT IT RIGHT. Don’t blame the society for its reaction to say the request made by Dr. PBJ. The society is the society. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO DRAW UP A PLAN OF ACTION TO PUT THINGS RIGHT OK!

  • 29
    1

    Stop harassing Prof Hoole and family.

    It is disgusting and barbaric. He is the only sensible voice at the election commission. He is speaking up for the people. The government falling to a new world low. SL is cursed with racist leaders who have done enough damage and one is ruling now.

  • 11
    1

    Hon Mahinda, ex President

    Your writing, as usual, is most impressive, highlighting the prosperous era under your leadership, although, colossal waste, mismanagement & abuse of power, massive corruption, all comes to mind but those are just allegations, nothing proved or maybe just shoved under the carpet, so we can just forget the negative side of your administration. Anyway, I am happy that ‘…absolutely nothing of lasting value was built by the yahapalana government…’ because I don’t think the country could take any more of white elephants that were built under your watch. Now, was it your idea to build the Port City & sell off some valuable govt. property to the Chinese at ‘competitive rates’ & I wonder if it would end up as a ghost town in a post pandemic bankrupt economy. Anyway, the pandemic seem to be a godsend for your brother, just like it has been for Viktor Orban of Hungary & I am sure you will be inspired by his leadership. The Chinese will be only too happy to support your regime in boosting the economy once again & who cares if SL becomes an unofficial state like Tibet? Instead, we can expect to become another Hong Kong, after all, we are not landlocked & barren like Tibet. Just one thing, no need to remind us how you won the unwinnable war. We are eternally grateful & willing to overlook all other allegations.

  • 16
    0

    “The team that is now running the country from the President downwards, won a war that was deemed unwinnable…….”

    What about the Commander who led the Army that won the War and whom you acclaimed as the “Best Commander in the world”? The man who Really mattered in winning the War is NOT on your side. How about getting him also, if you can?

  • 4
    1

    GLP has amnesia. His boss conducted election 2 years early because of the collapse of economy of Lankawe while everybody was experience post 2008 growth. Now playing game on loan total, when the Dollar has gone up. This guys appealed India for $ 1.1 B loan last week to fix exchange rate almost went upside down with in last three months. By 2012 EU’s GSP+ was gone. US was threatening with the same action. The guy ran out of the TTH fearing external forces taking over Lankawe. Ranil went there and saved all documents & computers to save the Royal family. During Yahapalanaya time, West gave Ranil to pick money in one hand and bullet in the other hand. Ranil picked the bullet only to save the Royals. Ranil sold Hangbangtota to China without borrowing from West because to save the Royals. Ranil still ready to pawn Sri Kotta and save Old Royals. He is such a patriot to save few war criminals with that kind of sacrifice. Who can do what to thatAlready Homagama White Elephant commission are spent. They is no way that project can be cancelled. This is the fifth Massive project Chitanta government is undertaking based only on commission but no business analysis or project evaluation.

    These are not secrets – entire world knows. The time to come is tough. We want to see the economists Cabal’s and GLP’s achievements.

  • 7
    1

    A very liberal serving of self-praise based on shallow analyses of financials and economic numbers. Hypocritically, false propaganda of the Rajapaksas.
    ——————
    Conveniently, no mention of any bond scam during Yahapalana governance. Perhaps afraid the fingers would point right back at him and his crony Cabral for the 11 billion rupees lost 2005-2015.
    ——————
    No ownership of his own party and its allies’ contribution to the failure of the Yahapalana mandate. Did you not collude with Maithripala Sirisena to deride the Parliament to your own glory? Did you not offer enormous amounts of bribes to the governing alliance’s MPs to cross over? Power over principles.
    ——————
    Voluntary donations?
    Why put out a nationwide ‘request’ when the government had already made arrangements to accept donations into a bank account set up for this purpose?
    Do you not understand the enormous pressure exerted by this ‘request’ on the various departments and their staff?
    Why did the Defence Secretary put out a clarification that this ‘request’ does not apply to the armed forces and the police if it was merely a request for voluntary donations?
    Pressure = Forced donations.
    ——————
    Above all, what’s put forth here is a case for money before democracy, human rights, press freedom, and the rule of law, all things that improved substantially during 2015-2019, and now decaying once again.

  • 5
    1

    I wonder why nobody wondered why there is a 24 h curfew yesterday and today.
    Does anyone even suspect a link with Ramzan?
    Observation of Easter, S&T New Year and Vesak was subdued. Was this curfew a balancing act?

  • 3
    1

    SJ, I too thought on the same lines but decided not to raise the question. Also where I live right now, it is business as usual throughout week except Sundays, there is total shutdown and curfew for 24 hours. It does not make any sense but who are we to question ????? Memes are doing rounds stating Virus too needs break (Sunday), Virus too has public holidays , How did the Virus know its Sunday???? – – etc

  • 2
    0

    Only FDI based investments will help to achieve any GDP growth in 2020. The ADB based rural roads ( preferably Concrete) will help to sustain the rural economy. Plans must be ready to implement mega infrastructure projects under the Belt & Road, MCG and BOT and BOOT, to provide jobs to the unemployed because of the impact of Covid19.
    A decision regarding the cultivation of Palm Oil, specially by the small holders, needs to taken after consultations with the stakeholders led by scientists for and against the cultivation of Palm Oil.

  • 0
    0

    Uncle, I am sure you already heard it. Today Sajith has raised the same question. After the first flight brought repatriate expats from Middle East, (seems to be last priority to us ) 40 to 50 of them were found positive for Covid. Hence your govt has refused to bring anymore expats fearing it will raise the numbers. First flight to Kerala alone brought that many patients and they did stop them from returning other than quarantine as per protocol.. Where as country like Saudi is still reporting 2000 cases daily and they are obviously overwhelmed with shortage in services. Just few days ago a plane load of doctors and nurses from India , were send at their request, to help with such situation. Bottom line our hard working expats will neither get the needed services there and then you refuse to provide the necessary services( to your own people ) , but you had the audacity to bring people from Seychelles to treat in Lankawe ????. Could you please explain your priorities to us ???? so that we Lankans can judge where we are right now, instead of you boasting. PATHETIC.

  • 0
    0

    Yeah Mahinda maama now Gota is going cap in hand to Modi for 1 billion loan.

    which part of Sri Lanka are you guys going to carve out for the Modi’s

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