UNP cannot manage country properly -Minister of Science and Technology Susil Premajayantha
Posted on January 29th, 2017

By Charminda Rodrigo Courtesy Ceylon Today

Minister of Science and Technology Susil Premajayantha questions how many of the targets set by the budget presented in 2016 have been achieved so far? “If they are out to create a ‘powerful Sri Lanka’ they need to set the targets for GDP, power and energy creation, agriculture production and various other sectors”.

Excerpts:

?: What do you think about the present political developments in the country?

A: Well, present political developments are escalating into a critical state for the government unless we identify them and address them immediately.

?: What do you really mean when you say a critical state for the government?

A: There are many critical issues. Amongst them one is the heap of debt this government had inherited at the inception. Now most of the loans are reaching the end of their grace period so they have begun repayments. We have a trade deficit of nearly US$ 9 billion. Our debt will increased another US$ 4 billion in the coming years when the real repayments of such loans begin. We do not earn much export revenue. Therefore, we have a large trade deficit and a huge national debt. We need to think of some creative ways out of the box to remedy these situations.

?: Did the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa call the presidential election early after foreseeing the issues you describe?

A: I do not have much knowledge regarding his intentions. Despite the debts, he might have had a feeling of being internationally pressured due to the Geneva problem. In electing him, the people put their trust in him, therefore, they cannot blame him now.

?: The former President at the rally in Nugegoda on 27 Friday, said Why did they take over the government if they knew that the country is in debt?. What do you think about this statement?

A: I’m also asking the same question. People who manage the finances in this government had asked for the power to show to others how they could efficiently manage the country. We have to introduce a better mechanism for the country. What really happens is that the government is merely trying to survive on the taxes imposed on the people. Just have a look at lending rates today, and how they have sky rocketed. It was 9% in 2015 but now it has escalated to 15%. How can one finance a venture with a bank loan under these lending rates? We cannot expect the savings to increase due to the fact that people would be left with no excess money to invest in banks. These figures should be managed properly to take the country forward.

?: You mean to say the UNP is not competent enough to manage the countrys finances since they basically control all the institutions directly related to the finances of the country?

A: Yes, I do not agree with their principles in financial management. UNP and SLFP policies clearly are very different.

Their model ‘New liberal economy’ is not at all practical. Country’s which followed these principles have taken a turn for the worse. Take a look at the United States. They are walking out of these principles under the new President. This system has failed all over the world. What the government today thinks is that global conditions during former President J.R. Jayewardene still prevail in the world. The dynamics have changed.

?: Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had also been following more less the same principles to date. So, what made the difference?

A: It is like this. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s administration had not been able to attract investments until the war had come to an end. Even after the war they were not able to do it. So they walked through some real tough problems.

The trade deficit of the country is nearly US$9 billion. The government has to make this money using various means. Whatever the government does it will have a direct effect on inflation and the value of the rupee in the money markets. We need a constructive approach by limiting imports, by introducing alternative substitutes for the people. Tourists who visited the country during the war amounted to about 400,000 per annum. Now it has exceeded 2,000,000 per annum. We need to introduce some new ways to enable people to come up with new value additions in tourism. We need to benchmark the current standards and introduce new strategic initiatives to make these tourists spend more. This is a sector of greater economic potential. Another sector is the service sector.

It’s been so long but we were not able to line up these priorities right. Mahinda’s government was more inclined towards encouraging long-term investments such as the Mattala airport, Hambantota harbour etc. We need some projects in the country, which generate short-term revenues. All these activities should be directed at easing the burdens of the people.

?: Do you see any other measures to achieve the objective?

A: We need to plan all these steps properly. We can begin discussions with other countries for better terms for our imports such as crude oil. If we can discuss more flexible terms through inter-governmental dialogue, we could have an impact on the forex outflow. There are many commodities we heavily import annually. We have to identify them and formulate a plan to tackle the alternatives.

I have done this in my ministry. We have successfully concluded discussions with many countries for technology dissemination and transfer.

?: UNP recently introduced their economic master plan under the tagline of A powerful Sri Lanka. This document carries many economic initiatives. What do you think about it?,

A: A government should have a vision. Take a look at this document. I cannot see a mission statement or a policy statement in it. There are some pictures tangled up with some fairy tales. Look at what they have showcased in Kuliyapitiya. It has turned out to be a total disaster. See what happened in Horana, when they set out to establish a tyre factory. The whole investment has turned into a greater debacle. UNP does not have a direction. Look at the number of budget proposals rejected during the Appropriation Bill debate stage. How many of the targets set by the budget presented in 2016 have been achieved so far? If they are out to create a ‘powerful Sri Lanka’ they need to set the targets for GDP, power and energy creation, agriculture production and various other sectors. The UNP cannot manage the country properly. To manage the country right, they need to get the institutions that steer these policies in line. The once powerful Finance Ministry itself has been brought under the purview of three ministers. The institutions are working in isolation without any proper understanding of how the others function. Iran today has become No. 6 in the world in the use of Nano technology. However, it is not in our school curriculum. The world is moving far ahead of us. We need to get there within the shortest possible time.

?: Dont you think what we see today is the fruit of the past administration?

A: Well, I see it like this. Have we ever done a proper strength, weakness, opportunity and threat analysis for the Mattala Airport? Same goes for the Hambantota harbour. We intended having a second international airport. But have we been able to market it right to convert it to a profit making entity? There are thousands of ships passing southern Sri Lanka. Those ships are not going to dock in for services just because we have constructed a port in Hambantota. We need to have discussions with the shipping companies and relevant governments to bring at least some of the ships. We couldn’t manage it right.

?: What do you see as the way forward?

A: Well, I’m against selling off these public properties to individuals or countries. We need to have a solid plan. We should appoint right professionals to run public enterprises. That is how Singapore emerged as a wealthy nation. We have over 200 public enterprises. Consider the people appointed to spearhead these institutions. Why can’t we appoint top professionals to run these institutions? They know the art of management. There are top professionals in the private sector. Get them to manage these public enterprises provided that they are vested with the respective authority and compensation. Look at those appointed to SriLankan Airlines. The previous government appointed a planter and there is no difference about these appointments under the present government. These important positions are being filled to please political associates and friends.

 

?: If the government is to change what are the constitutional provisions available for the opposition to use?

A: The President plays a decisive role in changing the government. He can only be removed by an impeachment motion. He has the discretion to appoint the Prime Minister. There are 82 parliamentarians representing the SLFP. Out of this 41 support the President and the rest are with the joint opposition. In order to form an SLFP government, these 82 members should be united.

The President too should trust some member out of the 82 parliamentarians. A top level discussion should be held instead of the lower level discussions that we see today. The government should be directed in the right way at least now. Otherwise, the government will have to go through some tough times if someday all anti-government forces unite against the government. We can see the actions of some ministers already driving the government down that lane.

?: The United Peoples Freedom Alliance won 95 seats out of which 82 seats were won by the SLFP. But surprisingly you were removed from the position of General Secretary of the UPFA. Is there any untold story behind this?

A: This is a senseless decision taken by those who orchestrated it. At least they should have called Minister AnuraYapa and myself to ask us to show cause relating to our decisions. If they wanted to prevent Mahinda Rajapaksa becoming the Prime Minister, open your eyes and look at the state of affairs today and you will see where it has all ended. If it wasn’t for the events which transpired during the last few days, we could have easily obtained nearly 6 seats more than the UNP. Research conducted into this has borne this out.

?: Dont you see any possibility of a possible amalgamation between the two factions of the SLFP?

A: I have never been able to actively participate in any of these dialogues. I was never invited to participate. I was able to bring all the fragments of the party to one table within a very short period of one week. There was no unity between the members of the SLFP when the general election was declared in 2015. My efforts to bring the SLFP together have greatly enabled efforts to prevent a total UINP domination of government after the election. The SLFP today strongly positioned to challenge the UNP where it matters, within the unity government. That’s all a result of my efforts. People do not talk about it. There is no body to take charge and negotiate to bring the party together. There is no high level discussion going on in this regard to my knowledge.

?: Who is responsible for bringing these forces together?

A: The responsibility to bring these factions together lies with President Maithripala Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

9 Responses to “UNP cannot manage country properly -Minister of Science and Technology Susil Premajayantha”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Ah! FINALLY we have a Yamapalana Minister acknowledging the OBVIOUS: The leaders of the Yamapalanaya are INCOMPENT and are completely beyond their depth in deep water!

    OUST these BUGGERS NOW, before they drag all the citizens of Sri Lanka underwater, and SELL OFF all the National Assets ghe citizens of Sri Lanka need to SURVIVE in the future!

    The situation is so desperate, I would not be surprised to hear that the PARA-GATHI AGA-MATHI Wikunanasinghe is negotiating to sell off the Dalada Maligawa as a quick-fix before the next local government elections!

  2. Ananda-USA Says:

    If Aiyooo Sirisena has an IOTA of brain, he will appoint Mahinda Rajapaksa as the PM, and get MR’s help to attract a sufficient number of cross-overs to form a UPFA government.

    With such a government, there would be consistent policies and the necessary patriotic posture to put an end to the UNPATRITIC Constitutional Amendments, National Asset Sell-offs, Dangerous Trade agreements, and moves to.undermine Buddhism and Sinhala cultural values of the country.

    Bottomline is, without the overwhelming support of the Sinhala Buddhist majority, nothing us possible.

    After what has transpired in the last two years, and the current plots to divide and rule our country, the Sinhala Buddhists will DEMAND IRONCLAD CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES, and structural changes to strengthen unitary form of Government without regions sub-national local government, to protect the nation against future rule by unpatriotic minorities.

    The Sinhala Buddhists should SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY to permanently transform Sri Lanka into a country able to preserve and protect their rights within ONE Indivisible Nation, of ONE Inseparable People, sharing ONE Indomitable National Destiny!

    This is the TIME, this is the YEAR when we consolidate and make permanent the gains of the War Victory of May 18, 2009, and make Sri Lanka GREAT AGAIN!

  3. Cerberus Says:

    RW has been the worst of the UNPers. He has surrounded himself with a bunch of very dubious people and is running the country to the ground. His plan appears to be to bankrupt the country and then when it is helpless bring in his new Constitution to break it up so that the former Colonial masters can move in and take over once again. Though people accused MR of being a dictator RW is worse than anyone we have ever seen. He hides behind My3’s platitudes and is doing as he pleases. Last year he went to Davos in Switzerland with 40 of his lackeys and appears to be doing the same this year. The visit to Davos did not bring any benefit for Sri Lanka and it is a very expensive place to visit since it is a meeting place for billionaires. Poor taxpayers have to pay for all this nonsense. I think RW is laying the ground work to give land to the Colonials to receive 5000-acre parcels on a 99-year lease by creating a PRECEDENT with the Chinese by giving 15,000 acres which are excessive.

    Ranil and the Yahapalana bandwagon after doing virtually nothing for two years has finally done something which was made to be a huge project. It turns out to be a smoke and mirrors type of sleight of hand operation. The BOI made it appear that they were doing a major Volkswagen factory and what they ended up doing was to get a local businessman some land from a prime coconut estate in the Kurunegala electorate, on which he is to set up a vehicle assembly plant. This is similar to the one done earlier by Fernandopulle to import used cars as parts and assemble and sell them locally to prevent taxes going to GoSL. The businessman supposedly benefited by getting prime land free or at little cost and then assembling cars and selling with no taxes to GoSL. The is probably worth more than what he invested.

    Everything this Yahapalanaya has done is a racket. Starting with the Ranil/Arjuna Bond Scam which is still not resolved, to this current fiasco. They seem unable to work straight. With people who seem to be hell-bent on filling their pockets only with no loyalty to either Buddhist teachings, the Sinhalese or Sri Lanka what can you expect?

    My3 is a puppet going round opening buildings started by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and doing the bidding of the local puppet master RW. Can someone please tell me what RW achieved in a lifetime of politics in Sri Lanka? He and the then UNP only helped to kill about 80-90,000 innocent Sinhala youth during the 1988 riots when the JVP wanted the 13A removed. Instead of talking to them he set up the Batalanda torture chamber where he is supposed to have presided over torture and killing.

    RW has been a blot on the Sri Lanka political landscape for decades now. All the great UNPers such as Lalith, Gamini, Premadasa were killed by LTTE while this guy is still around. RW had made a statement that the Hambantota port was making a loss and only after the UNP came in that they will start making a profit. This is utter bull s..t since it was making a lot of money earlier by bunkering of Chinese and other ships going to Africa and the Middle East. After the UNP came they stopped everything associated with the Chinese and turned to the West licking their backsides in a pathetic display of abject desperation to get money and more political power. Nothing manifested other than platitudes and pats on the back and handshakes with ungloved hands and some small funds from the US.

    After wasting two years now they have turned back to the Chinese and are trying to restart the projects that President Mahinda Rajapaksa initiated. MR was doing it the correct way without selling the country to foreigners. As Wimal has said the “Wikunanasinghe” has started selling all the profit making GoSL institutions, prime tea estates, coconut estates, and even our people. He is is a man with no ideas or vision and can only act according to the script from his handlers. What a fiasco Sri Lanka is undergoing. We have the disloyal Tamils trying to create Dravidasthan for the Untouchable Tamils in Tamil Nadu to pour into Lanka, and we have the Western back licking Colombians who are more Westernized than the Westerners themselves. The West is corrupt and the societies are crashing. In the USA there is so much gun violence that the only advice the new President-Elect could give Americans to counter gun violence is for everyone to carry a gun like in the old wild west. Is this the model Sri Lanka is trying to emulate?In the USA heroin addiction is now reaching epidemic proportions.

    After the unjust bombing of Iraq and Afghanistan by the Western countries,in their frustration, the Muslim radicals have formed and are hell-bent on revenge for all the millions killed in the Middle east. I think this is going to end in World War III which will kill everyone if global climate anomalies do not kill them first. As educated human beings do we have to live like this spouting only lies for short term benefits all the time. Personally, I would prefer to beg on the street instead of lying to the people and ones own self.

    We have to ask ourselves where we are headed if all these falsehoods are not going to end. Even Economics must be based on truth and reality, as people must too. The Buddha said that ‘Right Livelihood’ (the Noble Eightfold Path), brings happiness.

  4. Christie Says:

    “Constitution to break it up so that the former Colonial masters can move in and take over once again.”

    Yes, Indian Union is our Colonial Master.

  5. Lorenzo Says:

    USA,

    The problem is RUN-NIL not Sirisena.

    Don’t attack Sirisena. Even MR does NOT attack Sira.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    The UNP under RW appears to be following directions from abroad.
    The UNP under RW does not act in the best interests of the Country – they seem to want to act in the best interests of outside powers.
    The UNP under RW appears to be a Fascist/Sadist set up.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    Katussa (Lorenzo),

    You are still “shopping” for your “Maru Sira” to somehow sustainthe Yamapalanaya, until they deliver a proto-EELAM to your TGTE paymasters, aren’t you?

    GO AWAT, BUGGER OFF, We don’t TRUST YOU!

    Go and work on your PhD in Kovil Management! Your thesis on the intricacies of bathing the Sivalingam in milk lies fallow and untilled!

    I will NEVER trust the BACKSTABBING Aiyooooo Sirisena either !

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    The record of political action by the RW led UNP is dismal to say the least.

    Working together with CBK, RW made a mess of the so called Tamil Problem.
    RW has always put foreign interests first before local interests.
    We cannot fathom why politicos who have no love the country are allowed to float up again and again.
    Can such an approach ever succeed ? NO !

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Fran,

    The UNP was a patriotic party during my father’s time in politics when it was led by people like the Senanayake’s. It was imperfect in its emphasis on the elite, a problem SWRD addressed later by forming the SLFO, but it was a Patriotic party with patritic leaders.

    Since then, the UNP has lost its way, and become an unpatriotic PARA-GATHI party dominated by minorities and, albeit still elitist, without pride in our own Sinhala-Buddhist values and culture.

    Like you, I am PUZZLED and APPALLED by the gross lack of patriotism in Ranil Wikunanasinghe.

    Even if he is a traitor to the core, as evidenced by his long history of unpatriotic political activities, what ASTONISHES me is that the Sinhala Buddhists who belong to the UNP continue to TOLERATE this awful man! Surely, those Sinhala Buddhists MUST BE SEEING what I see: that he is a PERSISTENT DAGGER aimed at the heart of the Sinhala Buddhist community without a patriotic bone or sinew in his body.

    Like you, I am TRULY PUZZLED how he STILL survives to lead the UNP! How come Sinhala Buddhist UNPers don’t see that he is a LIABILITY to the UNP?

    I appeal to Sinhala Buddhist UNPers: Please don’t support this serial TRAITOR: OUST him, DITCH him, THROW him onto the DUNG HEAP!

    If the UNP leadership, held in thrall by the minorities, will not heed the voices of its Sinhala Buddhist party members, then they should abandon the minority-dominated UNP, and join the SLFP in the interest of your Motherland and your people!

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