SUSTAINABLE SRI LANKA: VISION AND STRATEGIC PATH
Posted on August 13th, 2018

 BY EDWARD THEOPHILUS

Since independence from the British rule in Sri Lanka, many development plans have been submitted by different elected governments and the most recent development plan was submitted by president Mr.Sirisena.  The plan was named as Sustainable Sri Lanka, Vision, and Strategic Path.  When I read the information about this sustainable plan, my mind navigated the history of development plans and pointed to the Five-Year Plan submitted in 1972, which was unsuccessful soon after the publication and this sustainable plan in 2018 might get similar results as I feel that the sustainable vision and Path looks like a photocopy of UN plan without considering the real situation of Sri Lanka.

The nature of Yahapalana government is whatever advice given by international organizations, the president, and his government follows them as they are highly obliged to international organizations for supporting the cabal of defeating the Rajapaksa regime in 2015 rather than the reality of the country.  Sustainable Sri Lanka in 2018 is also a similar blind path when carefully investigate the contents of the plan. Complete details of the plan are not available on the internet, some contents of the plan were published in the last Sunday Observer.

Recently I read two books, (1) Economyths, Eleven Ways Economics Gets It Wrong by David Orrell (2017) and (2) The Man Who Knew, The Life and Times of Alan Greenspan by Sebastian Mallaby (2016).  Both books focused on economic instability and the superior uncertainty that was faced by the world. The sustainability of an economy is an unachievable condition in the current dynamic world because international economy is subject to sudden changes based on international political and other incidents.  That is why Orrell (2017) states that economic management is not a linear function and “a key role in economic practice … in the models used by the economist in a weakened form.  It is usually linked to an essentially supernatural view of the economy, which is characterized for example by the invisible hand, efficient market, hyper-rationality, changes caused by mysterious external socks.” When we investigate the behaviour of the world economy since 1900, it is quite clear that no country in the world has been able to achieve a sustainability. American presidents always acted like a pussycat on a heated metal roof.  When the economy and stock market volatile, The American president has to get up like the Sakra (the chief of Gods) and see what is going on in the world economy. Therefore, considering contingency theory is more significant in the modern world.

The areas of contents I read in Sustainable Sri Lanka plan and I had a reasonable feeling that the plan was an ad hoc strategy and a show off than the achievability of sustainable Sri Lanka because many information and statistics given in the plan are incorrect and it also shows that there is a conflict between President’s vision and the Prime Ministers’ vision.  Economic development and growths are not playing politics, but they are a long-term logical strategy with the assumption to reality.  I do not know the writers of the plan read above mentioned new books to understand the nature of economic instability and to choose the right path.

 

The proposed Sustainable Sri Lanka plan in 2018 seems to be the heat of the seat of the Sakra (the Chief of Gods) as Mr. Sirisena is in the last year of his power seat and looking for remedial actions for re-election without stable policies to attract the approval of the general public.

When looking at the management of Sri Lanka’s economy since independence, the proven truth was that Sri Lanka must have flexible economic goals with a contingency plan like Mahinda Chintanaya, with a view to adapting to the changes in the environment.  Mr. Sirisena, the president of Sri Lanka is not understanding the economic jargon and he talked about wild elephants and monkeys at the presentation ceremony of sustainable Sri Lanka: Vision and Strategic Path.  However, the most vicious eco-nomic downturn in the world after 1948 was 2007-08 financial meltdown.  At that time Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power and while he was fighting with the vicious and ruthless terrorist movement, LTTE and international financial meltdown in 2007/08, was able to manage Sri Lanka’s economy at reasonably sustainable level.  It was the greatest record in post-independent Sri Lanka and people can trust him.

As reported in the Sunday Observer, the following are the objectives of the sustainable plan.

  • Appointment of a Development Council (which is not a difficult task as there are many supporters who are willing to be members, if they are well paid).
  • Converting Sri Lanka to an Upper Middle-Income hub in the Indian Ocean and advanced environmentally green and flourishing socially inclusive, harmonious peaceful, and just. (This objective is highly questionable, as Mr. Sirisena did not consider especially social inclusion despite he has been talking about sons of farmers. During the Rajapaksa regime Sri Lanka already became an upper middle-income hub, but during the past four years, all economic achievements lost due to mismanagement and corruptions. In fact, the Rajapaksa regime did many works for social inclusion. After defeating the LTTE war, Mr. Rajapaksa directed work for social inclusion of war-affected people in the North and East. The government has failed to calculate the total cost of Central Bank bond scam and recover them and relegated entire commercial banking system to a plateau with a huge bad debt).
  • 5% GNP and 1% population growth till 2030. (During the Rajapaksa regime, economic growth was above 5% and what kind of strategy used to reduce population growth is not clear. According to Central bank statistics, current GNP growth is 3% or less than 3%, and the reduction of population growth to 1% is quite impossible task unless one child policy like in China is implemented in the country, but it is contradicted with inclusion policy.  Sri Lanka’s women fertility according to the population classification, Sinhala 2.3%, Muslim 3.3%, Indian Tamil 2.9% and Sri Lankan Tamil 2.3%). How can change women fertility to reduce population growth rate is a serious question.  Sri Lanka is the only country in the region with a rising fertility rate of women. “The government policy issued in 1991 was to reach 2.1 % by the year 2000.  In 1998 Sri Lanka reached 1.9%, which was the only country in the region but it has seriously increased to 2.4%. I also read the idea of Prof Indralal de Silva and surprised on points he has given.  Would the yahapalana government take actions to reduce the fertility of Muslim and Indian Tamil women? These are impossible fabrications)
  • Economic growth rate 7% by 2020 from current 4.5%. During the Rajapaksa regime, Sri Lanka reached 7% economic growth. It is impossible to continue by the yahapalana government. It is needed to understand that 1% annual growth means that to double the size of the economy, it will take 70 years. According to Yahapanana estimates it will take more than 10 years to double Sri Lanka’s economy. This means the sustainable plan is a myth and not achievable as during ten years period many fluctuations can be happened.
  • Lowering public debt to 70% of GDP from current 79.3% of GDP, (which means that Yahapalana government has no strategy to reduce public debt to 30% – 40% of GDP, which is requirement of stability. During the Rajapaksa regime, it was planned to reduce to 60% of GDP.  Why has Mr. Sirisena departed from realistic estimates?

In fact, Sri Lanka needs an annual 10% growth and as an effect of the multiplier process, the economy should be double within five years.  If Sri Lanka’s economy doubles within the next five years, public debt will reduce to 30% of GDP, which tends to increase as a result of high growth.

One Response to “SUSTAINABLE SRI LANKA: VISION AND STRATEGIC PATH”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    My3 is only acting as a post box, not as a president.

    What can we expect from him? He will not improve or change. There is no room for any improvement or any additional learning when your mind is full of hatred and cunning acts.

    Only we can say is Sorrysena!!

    The danger is, if our fools swallow his lies and tricks and vote him to win again, we will have a Sorry Lanka instead of Sri Lanka.

    We are already on the path for that unfortunately.

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