The first 30 days of the first 100 days
Posted on February 9th, 2015

H. L. D. Mahindapala

To reassure that My-3” – CBK-Wickremesinghe-Sirisena — meant business and should be taken seriously before casting the vote of January 8, 2015 a time-table was set to impress the voters that the Manifesto comes with a day-to-day schedule guaranteeing progress leading to the promised ideal country”. We have now arrived on February 9 – time to test how far the political guarantors of the Manifesto had progressed during the first 30 days of the first 100 days.

Of course, it is too early to pass judgment on the totality of the promises. But, at least, it  is possible to probe the early indicators which could point  to where the My-3” trio are heading? Are we making any substantial progress advancing towards the ideal country” as  promised in the My-3” Manifesto?  Or are we being taken for a ride with some cosmetic changes that will eventually take us back to square one?

The success or failure of My-3” can be measured only by the fulfillment of the promises kept by the new regime. What they hoped/promised to achieve can be summarized in one single concept which caught the imagination of the voter : change for Yaha Palanaya” (good governance) through a new constitution within 100 days. Serious  political commentators – not the starry-eyed ones —  knew that this time-table cannot be realized in 100 days and, true enough, the architects of the 100-day Agenda” have  failed to keep up with the over-ambitious timetable. Knowing  the overall complexities and magnitude of the promises it was inevitable that the My-3” apparatchiks should fall behind. That is understandable though not acceptable. No responsible leader has a right to make promises which can’t be delivered.

But in politics the norm is for promises run to peaks in one  direction on hot air and time tables to run in the opposite direction, going down the pallang, as they say in the vernacular. So at this early stage what can be measured are the initial steps taken to keep the faith with the voters who were made to believe that the promised change” (when-a-suck) is coming for good.

What  is important is not keeping to the 100-days” timetable, as promised, but the change (when-a-sir) per se. What then are the big and dramatic changes initiated so far by the My-3” regime to confirm the hopes for the all-important when-a-sir?

The President himself is playing his role in a low-key, cutting down the pomp and ceremonies and even titles and honorifics, to underscore his promise of reducing the Presidency to  the optimum. There is no doubt that his simplicity and political piety is coming out strongly, giving the impression that there is a tangible change in the elaborate political rituals that preceded his regime.  That, of course, is only one aspect. The real issue will come to the fore only when the use of his presidential powers manifests itself in governance. More of this later.

My-3” regime made a good start by appointing young Ruwan Wijewardene as the Minister of State for Defence to deal with security — a key and sensitive issue that still keeps every one edge in the post-Nandikdal period. His self-effacing, unobtrusive demeanour, quite in contrast to the militaristic nature of the job, runs parallel with that of the Minister of Defence, the  President,who projects himself practically on all occasions as the Minister for Maithri – Baha-wanas and Upa-saka-ammas rather than regimented Army Commanders and IGPs.

However, both the President and his State Minister for Defence seem to work in tandem, giving a sympathetic ear to the advice of the Mahanayakes in particular who had cautioned them about de-militarizing and downgrading the forces at the expense of the nation’s security. According to media reports, Ruwan had been approached by the US officials and, though I do not know what transpired, I hope the State Minister told them that Sri Lanka is following the good example of America which has established roughly 1,000 bases round the globe even though World War II ended nearly 70 years ago.

It  is imperative that the international community  should accept the commonly shared principle which grants the states the right to deploy their forces to any place of its choice within its sovereign borders. No state, federal or unitary, gives the right to the periphery to decide where forces should be stationed for national security. In short, no foreign state, nor a local administration, has the right to dictate to a sovereign state where it should locate its troops. Wijewardene’s unequivocal message delivered to the forces, underlining that there will be no change in the stationing of forces in the north, is reassuring and a relief  to the nation as a whole.

An equally good appointment is that of H. M. G. S. Palihakkara as Governor of the North. This appointment is not  only in keeping with the spirit of the times but also a necessity to appease India and the West. It would also take the sting out of the attack of the Tamil Diaspora that paints the North as a  militarized gulag with bayonets pointing permanently at the back of every Jaffna Tamil. Above all, Palihakkara has the requisite diplomatic skills to calm and soothe the tense and irritable nerves of the over-sensitive Tamil touch-me-nots who are ever ready to blame anything and everything  – even the killing of Tamils and Muslims by Prabhakaran — on the Sinhalese.

Then, of course, there is Ravi Karunanayake’s mini-budget where he distributed some goodies with an  eye to win votes (for the UNP!) in the proposed general election due to be declared in mid-April. As usual, he has got his priorities  mixed up. Like the way he rushed to Pamankada thinking it is Alimankada he has rushed to reduce the price of sugar for a nation riddled  with diabetes. It is like reducing the price of cigarettes to ease the pain of cancer patients. Despite some temporary relief the budget, as a whole, is a one-off gimmick. No budget can play the role of Father Christmas day in day out. Rationalizing the distribution of resources and fiscal discipline are bound to come later.

There are, however, early signs of the euphoria waning and disillusionment setting in. The  opinion poll of Business Times revealed that the confidence in the National Unity Government is waning. Though the drop in popularity is marginal it is significant that the drop has come in rather early.

Of course, the decline is to be expected as it is rather difficult to maintain the momentum on which NUG came into power. The high expectations created by the Manifesto were bound to erode day by day with NUG running into various snags. So far everything has gone fine because there has been some  tinkering only at the surface level. The sensitive and deep-rooted fundamentals have not been touched yet to create possible destabilizing turbulence. My-3” is still operating on the socio-economic foundations laid by the Mahinda Rajapakse regime. Literally and metaphorically, My-3” is actually running  smoothly down  the  highways and byways constructed by the Rajapakses.

In fact, the economy which, we were told, was about  to come  crashing down  on our heads under President Mahinda Rajapakse, has suddenly become a sound and  robust economy with seven months reserves. When the Rajapakses were in power a myriad scare stories were circulated to downgrade the economy. Dr. Harsha de Silva, the economic expert of the UNP, was howling from roof tops that Central Bank had cooked up figures, the overheated economy will meltdown, mounting  debts will be unserviceable, low production in all sectors was a serious threat to export earnings, foreign reserves and the future of the economy, increasing unemployment and rising  costs of living are looming large in horizon etc. Cassandras were ringing alarm bells loudly in our ears warning that these threatening forces were all gathering a momentum to grind the national economy to a halt. But the new Governor of the Central Bank Arjun  Mahendra, is expressing confidence in the economy and projects a positive  picture which has not been contradicted by the new Finance Minister, Ravi Karunanayake either. So how did the grim economy under Mahinda Rajapakse suddenly, sus gala, become a sound economy overnight? Anyway, the fact that the new governor can read the figures accurately  must  be read as a positive sign of the My-3” regime.

Another development is the TNA attending the Independence Day celebrations. Though it is not a part of the government promises it should be welcomed because  it augurs well for the promotion reconciliation – a vital necessity for  whoever is in power. However, one has to  be wary about this because not even the TNA knows how long this will last.

These and a few others can be put in the Okay” basket. But the Nokay”’ basket too is filling up on the other hand. Take, for instance, the following cases:

  • Virulent politics seems  to  have been injected into the economy confusing the  market and  investors. One of the biggest development project is Port City development. Ranil Wickremesinghe (UNP), citing environmental concerns, (read: China) is threatening to cancel the project. Rajitha Senaratne (SLFP) says that an environmental study has been made initially and the Cabinet has agreed to go ahead with the project as there is nothing wrong with the project. In the  meantime, Wickremesinghe has kick-started  his usual trick of appointing committees to  problems he can’t handle. When he was Prime Minister he appointed nearly a hundred committees with Bradman Weerakoon as  chairperson. Neither of the two  had the time nor the inclination to proceed beyond putting a name board to the committees. So we can expect this to be the first of  the many committees that Wickremesinghe will appoint to politically dodge/postpone/pigeonhole decisions.
  • Then comes the first use of  power by President Maithripala Sirisena. It is a startling start for a leading champion of democracy and  rule of law. The entire election campaign pivoted round the promise of  not to abuse presidential power to subvert law and order. Under the promised Yaha Palanaya (good  governance) rule  of law was going  to be a corner stone of its regime. The sole objective of the constitutional change was  to pare down the authoritarian  powers of the Presidency and restore the lost powers of Parliament.  President Maithripala Sirisena had  the grand opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to this principle when the issue of the tenure of the Chief Justice, Mohan Peiris, was taken up by the Maithri” Palanaya. The pen he used to sack Peiris without going through due process proved to be deadlier than the arbitrary use of the sword by a dictator. In one stroke he removed the Chief  Justice and re-installed the dismissed Chief Justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, disregarding the  precedent he  himself set by duly going  through the  Select Committee process as prescribed in the Constitution to remove Shirani Bandaranayake. In other  words, President Sirisena who promised from every political platform to restore the powers, privileges and the rights of Parliament has done exactly the  opposite  by brushing aside the Parliament – the only authority recognized by the Constitution to remove judges – and dictatorially using his pen to stage a judicial coup” by overthrowing a judge of the highest court of the land. One of the primary objects of the anti-Rajapakse campaign was to restore the supremacy of the Parliament. But with one stroke  of the pen President Sirisena has confirmed the supremacy of the Presidency over Parliament. The first step of any authoritarian rule is also to target the judiciary. Removing judges that do not please the regime of the day is the primary means of legitimizing diktats of authoritarian regimes. President Sirisena has no excuse to do what he did because he was an integral part of the Parliamentary process adopted by the previous regime of which he was a leading member. The argument that Select Committee process adopted to remove Shirani Bandaranayake was flawed is not tenable for the President to remove Mohan Peiris by an arbitrary diktat issued from his office. With his past experience the legally valid alternative was to remove Mohan Peiris by adopting the correct parliamentary procedure, or the same procedure adopted  to remove Shirani Badnaranayake, and not by a diktat issued by the President. If the President’s argument is that the appointment of Mohan  Peiris is invalid because of an erroneous parliamentary procedure then it was the duty of President Sirisena to put it right by adopting the correct parliamentary procedure to remove Mohan Peiris, using the powers of Parliament and not the Presidency. What President Sirisena has done is to exercise his powers to override the supreme powers of Parliament. Does two wrongs add up to one right? This knowing violation of the Constitutionally enshrined process has sent  shivers down the spine of the nation. If he can remove the Chief Justice  with one stroke of the pen how can others feel secure with him as President? If he can violate the laws of the land and arbitrarily dismiss the Chief Justice without going through the due process how safe are the lesser individuals under the new My-3” dictatorship?
  • Then came the  JVP accusation of the President’s brother illegally sand-mining the banks of  Mahaveli.
  • * Also the newspapers went to town with his son, Dham, parading in Race Course complex with  40 PSDs at a time when the ministers security personnel was cut down.
  • * After lambasting the Mahinda Rajapakse government for family bandyism came the shocking news of appointing president’s brother to head the Telecom.
  • * After lambasting the Mahinda Rajapakse government for cronyism comes the appointment  of  Kavan Ratnayake, the brother of young Sagala Ratnayake,  Prime Minister Wickremesinghe’s favourite MP who accompanies him on his  regular trips abroad.
  • * Along with that came  the shocking news that the newly appointed Governor of the Central Bank, Arjuna Mahendra, did not know that his son-in-law was into financial trading. Of all the spins available in the global market place can it be believed that Arjuna, who is touted as the man who knows the Asian markets like his own family, learnt about his son’s financial dealings from the newspapers? After this can the stock market trust the word of the new Governor of the Central Bank? Is this going to be the standard in producing the vital statistics for the credibility of the national economy? Was Arjuna brought as a substitute for Wickremesinghe’s earlier wizard” in the Treasury, Paskaralingam?
  • Take also the case of appointing Ravi Karunanayake as the Finance Minister when  he is facing charges of money laundering in the courts. To rub salt into this wound, as it were, he fixes the date of delivering his mini-budget on January 29 – the day on which the court was due to take up the  hearing of the case.
  • As if this is not  enough Ravi Karunanayake leads a Police party to raid a house of a citizen (guilty or not) and question the  inmates. He dodges his appearance in court to answer charges against him but he leads a Police party to question others whom he suspects. Ravi Karunanayake will be Ravi Karunanayake. No one can change a kabara- goya into a thala-goya. But how does this reflect on President Sirisena who promised a Yaha Palanaya”?
  • Another MP leads another  police party to raid Mahinda Rajapakse’s house  in search of a non-existent Lamborghini and leads the questioning while the Police wait in the sidelines.
  • Then  there is the no-confidence motion against John Amaratunga which is sure to pass if  the list of MPs who had signed are there to vote for it. The SLFP which commands a majority in the House (127, says President Sirisena) will be eager to strike the first blow to Wickremesinghe hollow claim to be Prime Minister without a majority to back him. Apart from that,  when violence takes place under the very nose of the Minister for Public Order and Disaster Management what is the example he sets for public order and management of disasters? Besides, the President and the Prime Minister led an election campaign to eliminate violence and thuggery in politics. The voting on this will be a test of the probity of the UNPers, JHU, JVP and TNA who campaigned so strenuously to restore law and order.
  • On top of all this comes the appointment of Upul Jayasooriya, the Head of Bar Association, to head the BOI. Commentators have linked this appointment for services rendered to the then opposition in leading the ko-ko-nut krackos in kalu koats on the Shirani  Bandaranayake case. This brings  to disrepute not so much the Yaha Palanaya” of My-3” as the pompous purity paraded by Upul Jayasooriya.
  • No comment  is required on the promise of limiting the Cabinet 25. The leap from 25 to 57 is not because there is no Einstein in the Yaha Palanaya”. It is because the pretentious Einstein (aka Champika Ranawaka) can’t even count to 13 without lifting his white cloth.
  • Champika Ranawaka also promised to construct a Cabinet with subjects/departments allocated to each minister (a total of 25 – ha! ha!) on a scientific basis. His voodoo science has ended in Prime Minister and Rosy Senanayake handling the single subject of children – one set of children under the wing of her sari pota and the other under the wings of his coat! Dangerous, eh?

The few items listed above are merely the tip of the iceberg. No wonder the confidence placed by the public in the My-3- pala-naya” has begun to slide. The pre-election promises and the post-election realities seem to be running like parallel lines with no meeting point  in the known universe.

If this is the record in 30 days what guarantees are there for the next 70 days look any better?

18 Responses to “The first 30 days of the first 100 days”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    My3 is the ONLY HOPE SLFP has.

    We have to work with him. He holds the key.

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    HLDM !!! A real eye opener, yet the average voter does not get this kind of news. That is why there were a set of Sinhalese Voters who ignorantly believed only their ears, and what they heard.

    A politician thrives on lies to put sumptuous food on their table. LIES IS THEIR INERTIA, THEIR OXYGEN, THEIR CURSE.

    If a politician is appointed by the people, why do they need scores of “PRESIDENTIAL SECURITY” ? Boru Sobaney Eh ?

    Parallel lines do meet at infinity, that reflects the end of our lives.

    MAHAD, with 40 from PSD ? Spewing LIES start from the President, and it comes right down, with Domino effect.

  3. ranjit Says:

    Susantha you are correct when you say”the average voter does not get this kind of news” They blamed the previous Govt for using all T.V.channels and news papers for their propaganda but to see now these Yahapalanaya do the same. In Sri Lanka we don’t have any single person whom we can call a good politician. They go to the Parliament by promising thousands of things and when they go in, they forget all the promises they made and they themselves enjoy all the benefits and live like kings.

    What ever said and done Mahinda did so many things to this country. He tried his best to take our Motherland to a high standard to par with other developed countries around the world. We saw all what he did from our own eyes and people were happy although he had problems for having some bad guys among his team. How many in this forum has warned him and told him to go on the right path by removing corrupt guys in his team, arrest and punish drug lords,scrap 13 amendment, reduce the prices of essential goods, punish wrongdoer’s, Reduce the high costs in the Govt etc. If he would have listened or had little brains to understand what these patriotic people say he would have been still the President of Sri Lanka. Anyhow he is still the best for this country rather than a UNP Govt with these American backed traitors. We have to live in tension and fear if these guys continue because we know them very well and they are more favoured to Tamil Diaspora and the western countries who were not helpful to our development and progress and peace.

    We have to get rid of this Gestapo force UNP if we want to have a Yahapalanaya. They will not bring any good to our homeland as we have seen their work before. Their main objective is to destroy Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Govt Minsters and to please the Yankees and the Indians by giving more concessions to Tamils & Muslims. In my view they are all paid agents of the west. From the day one Mangalaya is flying around the world to complete in 80 days. He is the poison in this Yahapalanaya Govt. He should be send home first by the voters in the next General elections. End of the 100 days not far away so just relax.

  4. Christie Says:

    Namaste: India won this time with Indian colonial parasites vote. Indian imperialist budget with Undu, Undu flour, turmeric, Sustagen ( I was told Nestle make Sustagen in India using Indian sourced ingredients) and coriander cheap for the colonists and its subjects. Indians, Indian colonial parasites will love this budget and those non Indians will have to learn the emperors way.

  5. janakic Says:

    Yes, both Ranjith and Susantha are correct in that sentiments expressed in Lankaweb do not get through to the man on the street in Sri Lanka. I think is very useful if the editor can organise with his counterparts in Sinhal media to translate some of these articles to be published in the general Sinhala Newspapers.

  6. L Perera Says:

    Harsha de Silva speaks like a fifth grader – who gave him a Doctorate?

  7. Sarath W Says:

    No comments from Lorenzo and the Independent? What a surprise!

  8. SenaD Says:

    janakic, I completely endorse what you are saying.

    ranjit Says:
    February 8th, 2015 at 8:44 pm
    “How many in this forum has warned him and told him to go on the right path by removing corrupt guys in his team, arrest and punish drug lords,scrap 13 amendment, reduce the prices of essential goods, punish wrongdoer’s, Reduce the high costs in the Govt etc. If he would have listened or had little brains to understand what these patriotic people say he would have been still the President of Sri Lanka. Anyhow he is still the best for this country rather than a UNP Govt with these American backed traitors.”

    MR is not perfect as nobody is; but MR’s imperfections pale into insignificance in comparison with RW’s and CBK’s proven track record.

  9. Christie Says:

    Namaste: People in the island have already realized how Indian colonial parasites did the job and India behind it. This Chandrika and India is controlling the media. If the media do not tow the line they will not get and advertisements from the Fort and Pettah Indian merchants. Budget has marooned the people who voted the mob other than Indians and the government servants. Jai Hind

  10. SenaD Says:

    The ex-president has issued a statement regarding the various lies being spread against him.

    It is available at:

    https://lankacnews.com/sinhala/main-news/128182/

  11. Wickrama Says:

    Lorenzo Says:
    February 8th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    “My3 is the ONLY HOPE SLFP has.

    We have to work with him. He holds the key.”

    UTTER NONSENSE from the Portugese reborn as Double Acting LTTE sympathiser.

    SLFP has no hope with this Conniving Back-Stabber ! Work with him at your Peril. He holds the DAGGER !

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Wickrama,

    “UTTER NONSENSE from the Portugese reborn as Double Acting LTTE sympathiser.”

    I very much want to answer you but my comments are moderated!! :((

    Anyway wait for the general election. PEOPLE will win again.

  13. SenaD Says:

    Wickrama Says:
    February 9th, 2015 at 10:26 am
    “SLFP has no hope with this Conniving Back-Stabber ! Work with him at your Peril. He holds the DAGGER !”

    He could use his expertise on the ‘new friend(s)’ too!

    Well, metaphorically speaking he will be without even the hand to wield that dagger, immediately after the new system comes into effect.

  14. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ado Yakko “Facebook” Lorenzo,

    “I very much want to answer you but my comments are moderated!! :(( ” ???

    GOOD!

    AT LEAST you comments are MODERATED to PREVENT YOU from CONTINUING your CAMPAIGN to UNDERMINE our Motherland in PURSUIT of your EELAM DREAM in CAHOOTS with FOREIGN REGIME CHANGE sponsors!!

    I am VERY SURPRISED you are still COMMENTING at LankaWeb …. SHAMELESS!! TOO BAD your ACCOUNT is NOT CANCELLED to force you DANCE your KOLAMA elsewhere!

    HYPOCRITICAL EELAMIST REPROBATE!

  15. Ananda-USA Says:

    SenaD!

    “MR’s imperfections pale into insignificance in comparison with RW’s and CBK’s proven track record.”

    Bravo! This is what I HAVE BEEN SAYING all along!

    SIMPLY said, there ARE NO PERFECT PEOPLE, but MR is the BEST we have had since the days of Parakramabahu the Great!

    And what did the Sinhala people do? Engough of them BELIEVED the REGIME CHANGE PROPAGANDA and JOINED the Anti-National Forces arrayed against them to OUST, as H.L.D. Mahindapala quite correctly put it, “The Greatest Ovverachiever of Our Time”!

    Why could we not keep the ONE LEADER that we had who could match that BELOVED 4-Term US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) who RESCUED the US from the Depth Of the Great Depression, propelled the US Economy into an EFFICIENT JUGGERNAUT through INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, and died as President at the end of WW II having shepherded the US through that Herculean struggle against its enemies. FDR was NT PERFECT, but he was the BEST LEADER they had in a century!

    If only WE Sinhalese had the WISDOM of the Americans of that ERA to PROTECT, DEFEND & KEEP the who had led us to VICTORY and beyond to ESCAPE from 3rd World Status

    How STUPID can WE Sinhala People get??? We are bedeviled by SIMPLY TOO MANY “Gamaralas” and “Watti Ammas” without Strategic Vision!

    NOW, We can FORGET about RESUMING our MARCH towards Our National Vision of TRANSFORMING our Motherland into the New Wonder of Asia for AT LEAST ANOTHER DECADE.

    The Patriotic Forces will have to LAUNCH A HARD FOUGHT STRUGGLE to REGAIN the REINS OF POWER and the RETRIEVE the MOMENTUM towards that National GOAL!

  16. Cerberus Says:

    I agree with Ranjith, Susantha and JanakiC. I have mentioned this earlier too. What we write here in English is not available to the masses. That is why the Sinhalese were mislead during the Presidential election. There should be a sister web site for Lanka Web in Sinhalese. There are many tools now for translation. We can provide some employment to our educated youth who can translate the messages as they come on the Lanka Web. Here are some of the tools available for translation of English to Sinhalese. There are some websites now exclusively in Sinhalese. These can be all combined in to one website on Lanka Web.

    https://translate.google.com
    http://www.google.com/intl/si/inputtools/try/

  17. Ananda-USA Says:

    CORRECTED VERSION:

    Dear LankaWeb readers,

    I have translated from Sinhala into English President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s rebuttal of the FALSE allegations leveled against him by various officials of the new GOSL.

    This letter, which strictly confines itself to FACTS ONLY, CLEARLY SHOWS the DEVIOUS & UGLY nature of the PAID MUD SLINGERS who are trying to tarnish the image of this DECENT, HONORABLE and COURAGEOUS man that we Sri Lankans were fortunate enough to have as our President for 10 years, during one of the most difficult, yet victorious and productive times in the history of our Motherland!

    Jayawewa Mahinda Rajapaksa Janadhipathithumani !

    Obathumata Thunuruwan Saranai !

    Hatarawaran Devi Pihitai !

    NB:
    1 kotiya = 10 million
    Please feel free to bring any necessary corrections to my attention. Thanks!

    ……………….
    Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Carlton, Tangalle

    Phone: 047 2240344
    Fax: 047 2241113
    Web: www DOT MahindaRajapaksa DOT lk
    E-Mail: MahindaRajapaksaPresident AT gmail DOT com

    ————————————————————————————————
    February 09, 2015

    PRESS RELEASE

    Members of the current government are continuing to make false and misleading allegations regarding me.
    I believe it is necessary to respond to these charges to prevent the public from being misled.

    In a recent Rupavahini program, it was reported that a sum of Rs. 100 bilion allocated for 2015 to the Presidential Secretariat by my government was reduced by the new government to Rs 2.72 billion, and that the balance was released to provide assistance to the public. I would like to categorically state that at no time did I allocate a sum of Rs. 100 billion to the Presidential Secretariat. The full funds allocated to the Presidential Secretariat for 2015 was Rs. 9.59 biliion. There were 25 government departments, including the National Salaries Commission and National Maritime Committee, operating under the direction of the Presidential Secretariat. The expenses of the previous Presidents and their families also fall under the purview of the Presidential Secretariat. The Executive and Administrative departments of the Presidential Secretariat provided all the services, and the most of the funds, necessary to maintain these departments. Therefore, all of the funds allocated to the Presidential Secretariat do not go towards maintaining itself.

    The total funds budgeted for maintaining the President’s Office in 2015 was Rs. 3.75 billion. This amount is only a part of the expenses of the Presidential Secretariat. Of this President’s Office budget, Rs. 1.0 billion was allocated to the assistance provided by the President’s Office to Small Enterprises and Projects throughout the island. When this amount is deducted from the total, the budget of the President’s Office is reduced to Rs. 2.75 billion. Therefore, the amount mentioned as being allocated as the budget of the new President’s Office is this amount.

    Another story related by some is that USD 16 million in public funds was spent to order a special plane for my use, and that the new government has refused to take delivery of it, and has made arrangements for new owners to assume responsibility. I hereby state that no special aircraft was ever ordered for my use. While Sri Lankan Airlines was arranging to buy new aircraft for its own use from the Airbus Corporation, they had arranged to obtain a kit to remove some regular seats and convert that space into a special compartment to accommodate VIPs as needed, and had instructed their accountant to cost it as an option. The USD 15 million that was mentioned was the manufacturer’s estimated cost of this facility. It was an option that was to be provided free-of-cost.

    There is also an allegation that I have built official Presidential residences at various locations throughout the country for my reacreational use. The President’s residences at the Temple Trees, in Colombo Fort, as well as the existing residences in Nuwaraeliya and Mahanuwara, have existed from Colonial times, and were used by the government leaders of this country. The Presidential residences in Anuradhapura, Embilipitiya and Mahiyangana were built by President R. Premadasa. I must point out that none of these President’s residences were built during the tenure of my government. It was reported recently that the Temple Trees and Colombo Fort President’s residences would be opened for public viewing. We must recall that while I was living at Temple Trees, thousands of school children and elders came to tour this Presidential residence. While I enjoyed the opportunity this afforded to talk with them, I also used the opportunity to learn from them the development needs in various parts of the country. Furthermore, thousands of citizens participated in my Poya day activities at the Temple Trees President’s residence.

    A report was published that some vehicles belonging to the Presidential Secretariat have still not been returned. It was reported that 22 Defender Jeeps were “found” in Borella, and that 53 vehicles were found to have been abandoned in a land in Colombo, Pettah. The places where these vehicles were found are the official storage parking lots belonging to the Presidential Secretariat. These vehicles were found where they were supposed to be. Many of the vehicles found in Pettah were high security vehicles from the 1980’s decade, that could not be auctioned off according to routine operating procedures. I myself have handed over per regulations all of the vehicles used by my Office. The assignments of remaining vehicles allocated to various officials and departments of the Presidential Secretariat can be found in the
    vehicle records of the Presidential Secretariat.

    Mahinda Rajapaksa
    Former President of Sri Lanka.

  18. Ananda-USA Says:

    MORE EXCUSES to HIDE FUNDING SHORTFALL for RECENTLY ANNOUNCED GOVERNMENT GIVEAWAYS! Financial REALITIES begin to STRIKE HOME!

    Biwwa Neda Yahapalanaya Sudiya?
    Biwwa Neda Yahapalanaya Sudiya?
    Aney Magey Sirisena Paney,
    Pewwa Neda Borupalanaya Sudiyaaa?

    …………………….
    Sri Lanka’s revenue collection slows down impacting 100- day programme

    www DOT sundaytimes DOT lk/150215/business-times/sri-lankas-revenue-collection-slows-down-impacting-100-day-programme-135955 DOT html

    The Inland Revenue Department (IRD)’s continuing failure to collect taxes due to the lethargic attitude of officials and poor administration at the helm could hinder the 100 day relief programme of the new government and hurt economic growth, Treasury officials warned.

    According to the IRD’s monthly revenue performance report up to February 10, revenue collection was Rs.2, 928 million, falling short of the Rs. 5 billion target by Rs. 2, 803 million.

    The Department should double the revenue collection efforts to meet the target and the present Director General should implement pragmatic programme towards this end, they said.

    But the department officials are fighting for promotions after the change of the government and some of them have staged a protest demonstration recently against the top administration.

    This situation is aggravating day by day and this was brought to the attention of the new Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as well, they disclosed.

    The government will have to find an additional sum of Rs. 17 billion to meet the salary hike of public sector employees and pensioners, they said, adding that the reduction of tariffs on essential items would compel the Government to further cut down state expenditure.

    This combination of reduced revenue and increased expenditure will inevitably result in an increase in the budget deficit and additional borrowing, they pointed out.

    A senior Treasury official said the failure to increase tax revenue will cause pressure to cut capital spending “with a possible adverse impact on growth”.

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