Mega Projects is not the way; but, Small Business (Microcredit)
Posted on August 16th, 2015

Chanaka Bandarage

Politicians love megaprojects. They know it is not their money that they spend.  In megaprojects, they often enrich themselves through massive commissions and other unethical ways. At the end of the megaproject, they revel in trying to obtain the credit for themselves, even if it was a failure.

According to Professor Bent Flyvbjerg of University of Oxford, nine out of ten megaprojects in the world end up in failure. The biggest drawback in megaprojects is the cost overruns. In the US alone, about 65% of the megaprojects have failed (‘Infrastructure Intelligence’, September 2014). In Sri Lanka, the biggest drawbacks are the waste, mismanagement and massive corruption.

In Sri Lanka, we first experienced a megaproject in the then government’s accelerated Mahaveli program. True, Mahaveli opened up thousands of new agricultural land and volumes of hydro power, but, it also caused severe environmental damage. Large swaths of fertile land (eg. rich fertile lands of Teldeniya) went under water and thousands of people were forcibly uprooted from their ancestral lands. Thanks to Mahaveli, the human – elephant conflict took an adverse upturn. Hundreds and thousands of virgin forests were cleared for the new settlers. The deforestation blocked ancient elephant corridors. Other wildlife too lost their habitats; they either became extinct or endangered. Veddah communities lost land that they had enjoyed from time immemorial. In some areas, due to the building of huge dams, the healthy Mahaveli almost ended up ‘dead’. The large, shark-like fish (some capable of growing to over 8 feet in length) that roamed Mahaveli are no more; they have disappeared forever.

In the last ten years we have seen the emergence of megaprojects in Sri Lanka on an unprecedented scale* The Hambanthota Port (Rs 36,100 million), Mattala Airport (Rs 21,000 million), Sooriyawewa Cricket ground (Rs 4,000 million), the new expressways (Rs 70,000 million), Uma Oya project (Rs.76,316 million ) are just a few examples (*the author is unable to confirm the accuracy of the megaproject costs stated herein; the records were obtained from reputed sources).

The then government was hell-bent on developing Hambanthota into a ‘concrete jungle’. Was it necessary to do that? They even wanted to hold the Commonwealth Games there after building an Olympic style stadium including an athletes’’ village, a modern swimming pool, basketball/netball/tennis and badminton courts, a velodrome, and a gymnasium!

The question that needs to be asked is why do we not leave the ‘sleepy’ Hambanthota on its own; so that its authenticity and natural charm can be preserved (the place where Lenord Woolf’s Silindu and his two daughters, Punchi Menika and Hinnihami ‘lived’). Hambanthota is a beautiful, rural location which is in very close proximity to Sri Lanka’s large wildlife parks, Yala, Uda Walawe and Bundala. There is no need to create a ‘new Colombo’ in Hambanthota. We already have enough ‘concrete jungles’ in Sri Lanka.

To create the new port in Hambanthota, one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful beaches was mercilessly dug up, thus that fabulous beach was denied to future generations forever.

What the then government should have done was to expand the existing harbor in Galle (130 km from Hambanthota). Galle is much closer to the busiest east-west international shipping route (where more than 1,000 ships ply a day), than Hambanthota. Galle is a superb harbor built by the Dutch in the 17th century. Infrastructure and manpower for a world class port were already available there.

The building of a second airport in Hambanthota was unnecessary. Any proper feasibility study would have revealed that such an airport was doomed to fail. What the then government should have done was to expand the current Katunayake airport. For this, land adjoining the airport, belonging to the SLBC, Air Force, CGR and private owners should have been acquired, after paying due compensation. Any developed country needs a modern, sophisticated airport located closely to its capital/main city. In Sri Lanka, all energy and resources should have been utilised to develop Karunanayake, so that it could compete in equal terms with such world class airports as Singapore,  Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lampur.  Spending money to build a new airport in remote Hambanthota was definitely a mistake. When Katunayake is unavailable, planes can land in Chennai or Bangalore – they are close enough international airports for the purpose of emergency landings.

There was absolutely no necessity to spend Rs 4 billion to build a floodlit cricket stadium in Sooriyawewa, Hambanthota. Thanks to Sooriyawewa, the fine cricket stadium in Dambulla has almost become obsolete. On a per capita basis, Sri Lanka (still a 3rd world country) has more international cricket stadiums than any other ICC nation.

When Mattala and Sooriyawewa were built, thousands of acres of virgin forests (connected to Yala, Bundala and Panama) were cleared – they were the former roaming grounds of the wild elephants and other wildlife. We hear reports how important wildlife such as elephants, peacocks, monkeys etc are being killed on a daily basis in this area, as those animals now have less space to roam. Elephants have died of electrocution as well.

The Uma Oya project has already caused enormous health, hygiene and livelihood problems to sections of people in Uva, especially in Bandarawela, Badulla areas. Lots of drinking water wells and even some water falls have gone dry. True, Uma Oya will help to cultivate more land in Wellassa plus the generation of new hydroelectricity, but its adverse effects on the people and the environment (note the massive impending de-forestation) needs to be given high consideration.

Despite certain environmental concerns and earlier frequent breakdowns, the megaproject, Norochchalai coal power station, is a success story. It currently provides 400 MW to the national grid. The government spent a massive Rs 134,100 million for the project, some say the end cost was three times more than the initial estimate. Let’s hope that Sampur coal power station (500 MW) will also be successful.

The previous government spent billions of rupees on new expressways. Today, not many vehicles ply on them; lots of people are unable to pay even the toll to use them. Sri Lanka is still largely an agrarian society where only about 20% of the population own a vehicle (excluding  the owners of three wheeler taxis). Building high speed motorways is not a must for Sri Lanka, just because many other countries have them.

Tiny Sri Lanka is only of 65,600 sq km. What Sri Lanka requires is a well carpeted network of roads everywhere, including in rural areas. Preferably they should be dual track on the main highways. The burning transport problem in Sri Lanka is the lengthy traffic jams in major cities especially in Colombo and the dilapidated roads of the interior. Everyone knows that the bottlenecks created by the new Expressways have exacerbated Colombo’s traffic congestion.

These traffic jams are a major impediment for attracting foreign investment and tourism promotion. Instead of spending large amounts of money on expressways that extend to very remote areas like Hambanthota, the government should have given top priority to fixing the traffic problem in Colombo and other major cities like Kandy, Kurunegala etc (repeat, this is a major problem for Sri Lanka).

To ease the huge Colombo traffic congestion during the working week, where applicable, the government should have erected more traffic lights, widened the streets, created new alternative roads, built more overhead bridges and even considered building underground road tunnels.

Also, the interior village roads (and bridges) should have been upgraded. Most of these roads are not tarmacked and are in pathetic condition. When rural roads are improved, farmers will be able to sell their produce speedily and at a reasonable price (where trucks and lorries can reach the villages directly).

Thanks to the Southern and Katunayake Expressways one could see how fertile rubber estates and paddy fields have been divided into two. As a result, the adverse impact on the economy must be huge. Large, dark swaths of land (due to lack of sunlight) that lie under these giant concrete structures are now unproductive and cannot be used for any purpose. They are an eyesore too. Contrary to what was anticipated, foreign tourists who travel to Galle prefer taking the Galle Road instead of the expressway. The former is more scenic, lively and refreshing (runs parallel to the coast). The roadside businesses, especially restaurants that operated on the Galle Road had a massive economic setback. On the expressways, one could see the carcasses of dead wildlife, especially alligators that get killed by vehicles, when they cross the expressways.

The writer is not implying that these expressway projects were an entire waste of money, he states they were not the priority for the nation. Given the country’s small size, high costs of these projects, and of course the serious damage to the environment; the government should have concentrated on micro development rather than macro development solely. For example, when the majority of the population still commute on jam packed rickety old buses and trains, where patients still sleep on fly infested floors in public hospitals, where school children lack desks and chairs in many remote schools and where sewer and garbage disposal in the main cities is a major environmental and health hazard (the list is endless), governments should have been wiser to identify these major problems and attended to them first, giving top, urgent priority.  What is important is that the governments must assist people directly, not doing things from the periphery. The governments must have the intellect and the capacity to understand the people’s real needs and assist them directly. This is not a time to do experiments or waste valuable time and money.

It is rumored that thanks to the Karunanayake Expressway, politicians (from both sides of the politics) grabbed and acquired valuable state land for themselves. Even the most precious Muthurajawela marshy land was not spared.

The writer acknowledges that the Mathara  and Katunayake expressways are now built and though there are genuine environmental and other concerns, they do serve a purpose. He states it is not required to extend them beyond Mathara and Katunayake respectively, to remote areas where traffic congestion is not an issue. He believes given that work has already commenced on the Kandy expressway, that project should be carried out to the finish, if the environmental impact assessment for same is favourable. There is absolutely no need to build a Northern Expressway when vehicular traffic on the current A9, which is a well carpeted, modern road, is minimal.

In Sri Lanka, the recent unsuccessful megaprojects, including some expressways, have not helped to bring down inflation, but, they have helped to increase inflation. Due to imposition of various taxes and duties, the cost of living for the people has skyrocketed. Some basic consumables are more expensive than those found in developed countries (eg. bread, fresh liquid milk and fresh fruits). The writer has come across people who are so poor that they are unable to feed their families with three meals a day.

Thus, it is appropriate that we ask the question whether megaprojects have really helped Sri Lanka or not?

The megaprojects have increased the country’s foreign debt (as of 31 December 2009 Sri Lanka’s external debt stood at US$19.45 billion – per Wikipedia).

Today Sri Lanka is one of the most debt ridden nations in the world (about 30 years ago it had almost zero foreign debt). True, it is thanks to the injection of foreign debt that the country’s economy grew at about 6% per annum, but, it was an artificial growth of the GDP.

No country can go on borrowing money from elsewhere, like what Sri Lanka has done in the past 10 years. About 90% of the country’s earnings are spent on paying off the debts. Some economists have alarmed that Sri Lanka can face the same fate as Greece, and people can lose their life savings deposited in banks.

The political parties that canvass for votes in the present general election promise creating new jobs if they are elected to power. This is very good. But, these new jobs should not be government jobs but private sector jobs. It is time that Sri Lanka starts creating ‘small governments’ and give every possible incentive for the private sector to flourish.

Small businesses should be the engine room of the Sri Lankan economy. Sri Lankan people are so entrepreneurial, hardworking and determined. Given a small incentive, they will start new businesses and flourish. There should be no doubt about this. It is the new small businesses that will create new jobs and a prosperous Sri Lankan economy, nothing else.

Giving incentive for small business can stop people from leaving the country looking for ‘greener’ pastures. At the moment about 300,000 people leave Sri Lanka every year to work in foreign lands. This must not be encouraged. People should be afforded opportunities to remain in the mother country, live around their families.

It is very difficult for a person to obtain a personal loan from a bank today. This especially applies to poor people who cannot provide a collateral, those who are unemployed and those who do not have a verifiable credit history. For this, at least the future governments must intervene and start initiatives to provide people with microloans so that they can start their own businesses.

For people who work in the public and private sector, the government must encourage state banks to provide low interest home loans (at the moment, the home loan interest rates are too high).

In Sri Lanka even a startup capital of Rs 100,000 can make a big difference in a person’s life – who wants to be their ‘own boss’. When the person has established good credibility, the microloan amounts can be gradually increased.

What is important is that for the future governments to initiate projects, including through state banks to provide microloans to all eligible and deserving citizens (not just for the Samurdhi recipients). This should happen on a grand scale. The microloans need to be low, fixed rate interest loans, with no fees and charges attached. As stated before, these loans should  be for people who want to start/expand their own small businesses.

Microcredit is the best way of empowering women, thereby uplifting entire communities. Grameen Bank founded in Bangladesh in 1983 reports that the repayment success rates are between 95 and 98 percent. Grameen loans have been provided to people from buying a cell-phone to establish a profit making venture, to fishery, livestock, carpentry, masonry, tailoring, food preparation, cleaning, grocery store, typing services, IT related work and running passenger transport operations.

The writer, a Lawyer, is the President of Sri Lanka Support Group (Global) ([email protected])

25 Responses to “Mega Projects is not the way; but, Small Business (Microcredit)”

  1. Raj Says:

    Lawyer he may be, like millions of others, this argument is absurd, to put mildly. In fact he is putting forward the UNP /JVP idea of Hambantota and Mattala projects. His ideas are just short term thinking, may be he is not capable of seeing beyond, what he can see and imagine. Just one example came to my mind. The Thames Barrier Project was built for events likely to happen 20 years ahead.

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    Chanaka Bandarage,

    I agree with Raj. You are QUITE MISTAKEN here, also because you don’t DIFFERENTIATE between the kinds of Mega Scale Projects that are BENEFICIAL and those that are not.

    In the modern world, CERTAIN types of National Infrastructure Development Projects, such as Deep Water Ports situated astride busy shipping routes with ship repair and even construction wet and dry-dock dockyards and capable of handling massive container ships; International Airports that ease congestion at existing International Airports and strategically located to serve population centers, emerging manufacturing centers, with inexpensive land nearby for these centers to grow without undue expense; high speed expressways and railway lines to enable the rapid transportation of people and goods through out the nation; Fiber optics connected Data Centers and Train ng Centers to enable Sri Lanka to provide digital services to the world; R&D technology parks and key central technological facilities with centrally located universities to both support and benefit from them, are ALL IMPORTANT and NECESSARY Megascale National Infrastructure projects that can SUPPORT the growth of a modern economy and a human skill base in Sri Lanka.

    It is with this kind of VISION of developing the KEY MEGASCALE INFRASTRUCTURE ….. never before deployed in Sri Lanka … that the MR/UPFA Govt hoped to fundamentally upgrade Sri Lanka’s ability to compete in a fast progressing world.

    No amount of Microscale developments and investments can SUCCEED in giving Sri Lanka the TOOLS required to COMPETE for business in such a rapidly changing global marketplace.

    More than most countries in the South Asian region, with good widely available banking services to the public, Sri Lanka has gone beyond the Microscale financing that you are advocating.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    Mr. Bandarage, Very good eye opener for our politicians and planners. May be reading the book “Small is beautiful” by E. F. Schumacher should be mandatory for all students in University and our planners and politicians. We should look at Buddhist Economics instead of the Western Capitalistic model. Dr. Richard D. Wolff is Professor of Economics Emeritus, University of Massachusetts , Amherst, where he taught economics from 1973 to 2008. He has written many books and lectured extensively on why pure Capitalism does not work. See his talk on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Al12e1EVmZU

    According to Dr. Richard Wolff the most successful companies today are Co-operatives. In Northern Spain under an umbrella Corporation called Mondragon Corp., there is a whole lot of Co-operatives which are flourishing. In Germany after the war when US President Harry Truman wrote the German Constitution he included a requirement for Corporations with more than 2000 employees to have 51% on the board from among the employees. This has proved very successful. As a result German companies do not relocate abroad frequently for lower wages. They look after the environment and the employees. During the 2008 recession which hit USA very badly, the German Government requested all the companies to not let go any one but to reduce the number of hours they worked if needed and the German Government agreed to pay the difference in wages to those employees. As a result there was full employment. No one lost money and they kept buying goods made in Germany which meant the economy kept rolling while in USA millions were laid off work and the Goverment had to pay unemployment wages.

    In some developed countries the media is controlled like in Sri Lanka by a few rich people for their benefit. Even in the developed world there are politicians who do not believe there is Global Warming. In USA the Supreme Court decision which equated Corporations to people and money to free speech called the Citizens United was a means by which the very rich could influence the Congress and Senate to pass the bills they wanted to improve their wealth. Read also Noam Chomsky who has written extensively on the same topic.

    I agree about the Hambantota Harbor and the air port. However President Mahinda Rajapaksa did a lot of good things. But whoever who advised him on these project was mistaken. Let us hope in his second term MR will be taking the advise of the parliament on such projects. There is hope since the UPFA manifesto which MR says was written by the people who came to see him does have provisions for loans of Rs. 2.5 lakhs/person to people. Also he is placing more emphasis on small business. However the problem is that if a small businesses is successful they are bought up at some point by the big Corporations which is a danger for Sri Lanka. We must have laws to prevent major Corporations moving into Sri Lanka. They are extremely ruthless and rapacious.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    WELL SAID CB!

    We all know you are a true patriot.

    I DISAGREED with CB on SHRI WICKRAMA RAJASINGHA who killed Singhala men, women and children.

    But this time he is right.

    Before barking at this man who has stood up for SL at very difficult situations, read what he has written. He has NOT blamed the MR govt. He GENTLY tells them to CORRECT the wrongs. He does NOT praise the UNP. His timing is perfect.

    MR is WINNING the election. This time the MR GOVT. should focus on SMALL BUSINESS not MEGA projects. I heard this and still hear this from people ON THE GROUND. This is what win votes.

    I sincerely hope MR’s NEW GOVT. will prioritize SMALL PROJECTS that benefit LOCALS than mega projects that benefit others. Very STRATEGIC thinking. Allow me to twist your name to CHANAKYA – the great strategist!! :))

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    Chanaka Bandarage,

    Furthermore, don’t expect Megascale Infrastructure developments to IMMEDIATELY turn a profit overnight. By DEFINITION, such projects are long term national investments designed to begin returning an internal profit after about five years, but to seed the growth of new industries and grow the economy as a whole over decades and even a century.

    The UNP mocked the Magama Port, and the Mattala Airport … just as they mocked the War Effort … to gain short term political advantages,telling people to expect IMMEDIATE returns on those huge investments. They are REALLY MISLEADING the people in their IGNORANCE of how a Govt can help develop an economy. There are MANY examples (USA, Germany, Netherlands, Japan etc) of how National Governments have used National Infrastructure development to propel their nations to economic prominence; it is just that the UNP has neither the VISION nor the ABILITY to learn from the UPFA and other nations worldwide.

    They are only concerned with grabbing power through misleading the people about those who have the VISION to help them and develop the nation through INVESTMENT in National Infrastructure instead of CONSUMPTION on daily needs.

    The UNP should LEARN that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day, but
    if you show him how to fish, and give him the tools to fish, you feed him his entire life!

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    “if you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day, but if you show him how to fish, and give him the tools to fish, you feed him his entire life!”

    This is what CB says here. That is small business!!!

    IF you bring a trawler of a mega company, small people will NOT even have fish to catch or eat.

    I sincerely hope MR’s NEW GOVT. will prioritize SMALL PROJECTS that benefit LOCALS than mega projects that benefit others.

  7. Christie Says:

    The writer, a Lawyer, is the President of Sri Lanka Support Group (Global) ([email protected])

    What contradictions, the guy is “Global” not village or town and a “Lawyer charging mega buck fees I am sure.

    Looks like living in the West where mega projects is the norm.

    Don’t fool the poor Sinhalese.

  8. Christie Says:

    “In Sri Lanka, we first experienced a megaproject in the then government’s accelerated Mahaveli program”

    Gal Oya Irrigation Scheme . KKS Cement, Central Colleges, Regional General Hospitals, Ceylon Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Colombo Moratuwa Road are mega projects between 1948 and 1956. Before the Indian Empire took over our politics.

  9. Christie Says:

    සින්හලයො අලිවැඩ තමයි කලේ. පරාක්ක්‍රම සමුද්‍රය, රුවන්වැලි සෑය, සීගිරිය, ….

  10. Chanaka B Says:

    I acknowledge the criticisms and have noted them. For me, country comes first over party politics. I only write in the best interests of the country; especially for the downtrodden. I am unable to write to please politicians, but will give them credit where credit is due

  11. Chanaka B Says:

    Lorenzo, I do not think I praised Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe. I only criticised the Sinhala infighting of the time, which allowed the British to conquer the whole nation.

    In the birth certificate, my father gave me the name, Chanakya. At Royal, teachers and friends called me Chanaka (it was easy for their mouth), so, ever since, I go as Chanaka

    When I say ‘small business’, I mainly meant small self employment projects

  12. Ananda-USA Says:

    Susantha,

    Look at how Facebook Lorenzo immediately jumped on Microscale financing that Chanaka Bandarage MISTAKENLY advocated!

    He wants Sri Lanka to remain primarily a nation of local small businesses, without the advantages of Govt investment in Megascale National Investment Infrastructure. Small business financing through existing banks and low-interest loans underwritten by Govt are important, but the Govt’s MAIN ROLE should be to develop National Infrastructure that neither small businesses or the private sector cannot, and will not, undertake.

    This is how the enemies of our Motherland hope to PREVENT Sri Lanka from joining the leading nations of Asia as the Wonder of Asia!

    Facebook Lorenzo the DEVIOUS BACKSTABBING LTTE Operative who helped to mislead the citizens of Sri Lanka and oust our beloved President Mahinda Rajapaksa in the Presidential Election, is at it AGAIN …. trying to cause PANIC and supporting DESTRUCTIVE PROPOSALS!

    I am GLAD that you have FINALLY SEEN the LIGHT about this TREACHEROUS REPROBATE Lorenzo!

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    LTTE Operative Facebook Lorenzo is trying to undermine the accelerated growth of Sri Lanka by dragging red herrings across the road.

    When National Infrastructure is created, it spawns tens of thousands of direct jobs and hundreds of thousands of indirect employment.

    A large Port such as the Magampura Port, creates direct jobs for navigators, pilots, ship and tug captains and officers, administrators, security forces, accountants, crane operators, truck drivers, master craftsmen and supervisors, machinists, welders. fitters, electricians, cooks, waiters, cashiers, road workers, masons, carpenters, ad infinitum, and indirect jobs in the greater neighborhood for sub-contractors, truckers, shippers, construction crews, construction materials suppliers, hoteliers, restaurants, cooks, waiters, telephone companies, home builders, home appliance sellers, equipment manufacturers for local and export markets, farmers supplying food, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

    Many of the jobs created in the neighborhood are small businesses, for which the market and the customers are CREATED by the Megascale National Infrastructure project. This kind of seeding and multiplying employment and economic opportunities are typical of most well thought out Megascale Infrastructure projects.

    But only with the required INTELLECT will appreciate it, and only those who have the PATRITISM to motivate it will PRAISE the ACHIEVEMENTS!

    Facebook LORENZO has the grey cels to see it, but PRAISING IT does not fit his PURPOSE of UNDERMINING our Motherland and the VISIONARY MR/UPFA GoSL who pursued the development of National Infrastructure with an INDOMITABLE ZEAL to propel our dear Motherland into the NEW WONDER of ASIA!

  14. Charles Says:

    I do not agree with most of what CB says. South had been neglected by previous governments. I had been working in Galle and I have visited Hambantota. The area had then been quite neglected, people lived in slum like areas without properly built houses. First time development came to South was after Mahinda Rajapakse govt. Mattala Air Port and the Hambantota are good investments. One has to give time for these projects to become popular and saught after. These are necessary developments for the future. We cannot build for today we have to build for the future.

    Mahinda Rajapakse himself is a good investment for Sri Lanka, because he has ideas, and he has an aim in doing what he does. He has a fantastic brother Gotabhaya and two of them go to-gether. There should be MR where there is Gotabhaya and Gotabhaya where there is MR. MR has to rein in Namal-his racing and Nil Balakaya and employment for selective people were bad. But it is a different story. Just ten ye

  15. Charles Says:

    I do not agree with most of what CB says. South had been neglected by previous governments. I had been working in Galle and I have visited Hambantota. The area had then been quite neglected, people lived in slum like areas without properly built houses. First time development came to South was after Mahinda Rajapakse govt. Mattala Air Port and the Hambantota are good investments. One has to give time for these projects to become popular and saught after. These are necessary developments for the future. We cannot build for today we have to build for the future.

    Mahinda Rajapakse himself is a good investment for Sri Lanka, because he has ideas, and he has an aim in doing what he does. He has a fantastic brother Gotabhaya and two of them go to-gether. There should be MR where there is Gotabhaya and Gotabhaya where there is MR. MR has to rein in Namal-his racing and Nil Balakaya and employment for selective people were bad. But it is a different story.

  16. Lorenzo Says:

    Report receiving from SL.

    1030 in SL. VERY HIGH enthusiasm in voting despite being a working day.

    Some private buses running FREE while canvassing for UNP candidates. El-Co notified.

    Meanwhile Modananda screams from USA unable to bring AT LEAST ONE vote. DEFEAT the USA conspiracy! Down with USA!

    Jayawewa!

  17. Lorenzo Says:

    Chanaka B,

    Good.

    Don’t be discouraged. People IN THE KNOW very well know who you are and what your intentions are. KEEP GOING!

    Politicians are temporary. SL is FOREVER! At times you can’t serve both. At other times you can.

    (Even MR regrets MEGA projects. That is why he SACKED the former economic minister in December 2014 and told him to get out of politics in June 2015. During his 200 temple visits program MANY people told him what you say here. MR is a convert from MEGA to MICRO projects. Now RUN-NIL is the BIGGEST advocate of MEGA projects because Karunka can rob them.)

  18. Charles Says:

    Patriots, half patriots and pseudo patriots do not be fooled by gooey pretended enthusiasm for a MR Come Back.

  19. Dilrook Says:

    Politics aside, I agree with Chanaka. The main reason for mega projects is to bring foreign currency to the country. These were/are used to repay older debt. Not the best in managing debt but this is how all governments have done since 1977.

    Now the UNP government is in trouble as it cannot manage its finances. The only finance providers are IMF and China. This election will decide which way it goes. Sadly, none of them are interested in micro financing. Redeveloping the People’s Bank and its leasing arm are better options.

  20. Ananda-USA Says:

    This CONGENITAL IDIOT Facebook Lorenzo, after his BOASTING at LankaWeb how he “single-handedly” OUSTED the MR/UPFA GoSL, STILL thinks that his TREACHERY WILL BE FORGOTTEN or FORGIVEN by us at LankaWeb!! NEVER!!

    Even now he is BOASTING that he is “POLITIKING” in Sri Lanka CARTING VOTERS to POLLING stations?

    Well, if he is doing that and is in Sri Lanka which I very much doubt like ALL OF HIS CLAIMS, he is rasing votes for the TNA and the UNP, not the UFPA!

    LORENZO the BLOODY SHAMELESS IDIOTIC TREACHEROUS HYPOCRITE!

  21. SA Kumar Says:

    Ananda-USA
    We-Tamil are always Tamils , You know what I mean My sinhala sakotharam !!!

  22. Fran Diaz Says:

    Some Mega Projects may be needed, but they appear to have been done already by JRJ & MR govts. What else can be done in the Mega Project areas ? Only one I can think of is Oil/Gas possibilities around Lanka coastlines.

    The rest of projects could be mid size to small. Local Food Production and Preservation should receive top priority in such projects.

    Certainly Co-ops are the most attractive for village projects. It would be a natural way to go considering Lanka culture.

    ***** GoSL now and future must have/bring in SOCIAL SECURITY especially for families that lose their bread winner due to disease or accidents etc. We have to recall that Rohana Wijeweera, the leader of the JVP, turned to Communism with violence because his family was left destitute after the death of his father when Rohana was young.
    Let such events never happen in Lanka *****

  23. Ananda-USA Says:

    The Great Man Made River of Libya was Created under the Leadership of a Great Libyan Patriot …. Moammar Gaddafi !

    This was a MEGASCALE Project that used the national oil resources, and the will and determination of a unified stable patriotic Government to bring a LASTING BENEFIT to the Libyan People.

    That Patriotic Leader of the Libyan People was DEMONIZED and MURDERED by the Neocolonialist Western Powers EAGER to capture and control Libya’s vast oil wealth.

    That process was Initiated and Sustained in the name of “Good Governance”, “Delivery of Democracy”, and “Human Rights” by the Western Neocolonialists engineering Regime Changes to fit their own agendas. In the process, they killed the most patriotic and effective leader Libya ever had, pitting the people of Libya against each other to what is TOTAL ANARCHY and CHAOS today. So much for “Good Governance”.

    Furthermore, I want to ask Chanaka Bandarage to view the Youtube Video of this Megascale Project above, and to explain to uus how the MicroCredit he proposes would have helped to bring a like amount of water to the Libyan people to create the opportunities they now have for operating their small-business of farming, animal herding, etc.

    NO AMOUNT of MICRO CREDIT would have created this massive water system, except a Megascale project conceived and implemented by a MOTIVATED PATRIOTIC Government using itts National Resources. That Megascale Project has now resulted in the flowering of small businesses that could use the Micro Credit to good advantage; but BEFORE this project was implemented there was no such opportunity.

    This kind of Megascale project is NOT NEW to Sri Lanka; the Great Agricultural Systems built by our past kings were ALL MEGASCALE PROJECTS built with Royal treasure and the Nations organizational and labor resources … not “micro credit” projects built by doling out small hand outs to individuals.

    There is an APPROPRIATE role for ALL kinds of Projects, megacale and microscale; let us not compare the two and kill off well-concieved Megascale Projects for whatever reason! If we do so, the Nation ad the People will be the LOSERS!

  24. Chanaka B Says:

    Fran, I do not oppose megaprojects per se. As you can see despite the massive costs blow out and probable corruption, I gave credit to the Norochchalai power project

    The Hambanthota megaprojects and some expressway projects are a serious concern. The manner in which they were carried out raised the eyebrow of many (costs blow outs, massive scale corruption , callous disregard to the environment etc)

    The argument that some of these lost making ventures may derive a profit in the future is farfetched. Though they were done by a government, they were business (commercial) ventures. As you will agree, no businessman would invest money anticipating a profit in say 10 – 20 years’ time. It will be a very different world in 10-20 years’ time. Some of the current technology may then be obsolete

    The then government should have had a strategy how to ‘market’ the Hambanthota port given that its main competitor, Singapore, which is located in close proximity to Sri Lanka, is the world’s best port. There was no point in diverting Colombo port traffic to Hambanthota, to show activity. Mattala is a total failure and a colossal waste of money. Therein, the biggest loser is the environment

    The burning needs of the country are such things as health, water, sanitation, education, roads, telecommunication, transport etc. Rather than embarking on fanciful megaprojects (my article), the new government must pay full attention to improve the basic facilities for the people; especially the poor. They should work day in and day out to uplift the people’s conditions and all citizens must extend their full co-operation to the new government. The new government must not borrow relentlessly, that can bankrupt the nation.

    We are still a third world country, we have a long way to go to become a newly developed nation, Given the great resilience of our people, this is a distinct possibility

    The duty of the patriot is to be frank and brave to constructly criticise any government. Like the advisors of the former Presidnet, if we also say ‘yes’ to everything, even for bad things, it will be at the detriment of the country. We are not doing our service to the nation then

    The best interests of the country should be the paramount consideration for all patriots. Party politics comes second

    For those who criticised me, I say thank you

    There is no point in ‘shooting the messenger’

    Voltaire said –

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

  25. Cerberus Says:

    Mr. Bandarage, I must withdraw the comment I made earlier about the Hambantota harbor and the Mattala airport. I realize the Hambantota Harbor made $5.4 Billion in bunkering fees in 2014 until the Yahapalanya fools stopped it trying to show MR work as failure. See link: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2015/07/19/hambantota-port-records-rs-5-4bn-revenue-in-2014/

    Same with Mattala air port. The planes which come to Sri Lanka have to carry less fuel which is a saving for them which they can pass on as extra taxes since otherwise they have to carry extra fuel to go to Chennai in case there is a problem at Katunayaka airport. We can divert some of the air traffic to Mattala airport thereby reducing congesting at Katunayaka thus making the airport viable.

    I must also say that most of the European countries follow Socialist policies. After two world wars they realized that allowing mega corporations to form is deadly since they hi jack the countries economy to suit their purposes and not meet the people. For example all the European countries have free health care as a basic right, free education, and many other benefits. In USA there is no free health care but they have Social Security (President Franklin Roosevelt) as in Europe. In Europe most people enjoy 49 days of paid vacation for a year while in USA it is only 10 days and most people do not even use it due to pressure of work.. So you can see what happens when Capitalism runs amok.

    This is the model that Ranil W is trying to bring to Sri Lanka. He sold off 1666 state enterprises during his tenure to companies which exploited the resources and them dumped the companies. President Mahinda Rajapakse then brought back 924 of them. Sevanagala sugar corporation is a good example. Now Ranil W will go through the same exercise all over again I am sure given half a chance.

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