Yahapalana Record Sheet (Jan2015-Jan2018)
Posted on January 8th, 2019

Removing Rajapakse corruption & restoring democracy was the campaign slogan that brought Yahapalana to power in January 2015. There is little to debate that what the voters got was nowhere near good governance and the plethora of piling corruptions against yahapalana keeps getting worse. In 4 years the damage done has been far worse than Sri Lanka suffering 30 years of terrorism. Economy is in a state of ruin, natural & national assets are being siphoned to foreign hands never likely to return, national security threats & risks abound, illegals & aliens are entering Sri Lanka as guests – everything is being put to experiments by foreign advisors who are being handsomely paid by the tax payer & not many seem to still understand the larger picture even after members of the TNA clearly spell what the intention behind the new constitution is. Time Sri Lankan citizens seriously kick out allegiance to political parties and realize that their ignorance & don’t care attitude is giving oxygen to politicians to do as they like & ruin our beautiful island nation.

A handful of records by yahapalana since 2015 is presented for you to get an overall idea of the damage that has been done in 4 years.
Appointments:
  • · Legally questionable appointment of RanilW as PM in January 2015 following a Presidential election & not Parliamentary election while RanilW had only 42 MPs in Parliament
  • · Legally questionable appointment of RanilW as PM in January 2015 as sitting PM was not removed by gazette notification.
  • · Speakers refusal to acknowledge the over 50 MPs of the UPFA as Joint Opposition – naming TNA which had just 16MPs as the Opposition & TNA leader Sambanthan as Opposition Leader.
  • · Speaker also appoints JVP with 6 MPs as Chief Opposition Whip. (ironically both JVP & TNA helped Yahapalana to come to power – therefore how can they function as Opposition?) First time that Leader of Opposition voted for a Govt budget when TNA voted in favor of Yahapalana budget in 2016.
  • · Foreigner as Governor of Central Bank despite objections & despite him having a chequered record as BOI head in 2001
  • · Allegedly LTTE-linked former UNP President’s advisor being appointed as Financial Advisor in 2001 & again in 2015.
  • · Brother of former UNP Chairman as Air Lanka head
  • · Alleged appointments of Royalists to key posts
  • · Appointments of family members to ministries & other statutory bodies

 

Corruptions & Wastage
  • · 2 Central Bank Bond Scams – PM Ranil takes Central Bank directly under PM in Jan2015, nominates his friend a Singaporean national as Governor Central Bank despite protests, assures parliament he would be accountable for Mahendran. After the bond scam was exposed PM Ranil appoints 3 UNP lawyers to investigate, removal of UNP MP Velukumar & replaced with MP Sujeewa S, ArjunaM’s statement to COPE that PM Ranil only ordered change in method for Bond Sales, UNP Members of COPE functioned under direct instructions of PM Ranil, Governor Mahendran was not even sent on leave pending conclusion of inquiry, Chairman & Senior officials of the 3 state banks giving evidence at the Presidential Inquiry in Oct2017 confirmed that RaviK had instructed them to make bids at lower interest rates, not taking action against those responsible for the scam even after its exposure.
  • · Former PM Ranil announced new economic plan in 2016 as Minister National Policies & Economic Management & hired US Consultancy firm McKinsey & Company in November 2016. McKinsey identified 3 areas for accelerated development: Tourism – Agriculture – Manufacturing – Sri Lanka had to pay $2,997,666m for this proposal! Why couldn’t our own people prepare a plan for our development?
  • · On 3 occasions former PM Ranil had presented proposals to privatize Bank of Ceylon, Peoples Bank, National Savings Bank & state pawning outlets. (Derana news & President Sirisena) RW also planned to bring Samurdhi Bank with assets of Rs.200b under Central Bank & Finance Ministry – this too was seen as an attempt to deny the poor relief.
  • · In May 2018 on application filed by Office of Public Trustee & Colombo District Court granted approval for the dept to open 254 last wills lying in a public safe between 1932 & 1992. If there are no heirs to these last wills – wonder what will happen to the fortune/wealth?
  • · Sri Lanka’s Mobil Industry was a key contributor to Sri Lanka’s economy for decades & delivered mobile services at low tariff rates. In 2017, Cellular Tower Levy was introduced & Rs.200,000 per month per tower charged. Monthly operational cost would increase from Rs.115,000 to Rs.315,000 (174% increase) Three of the 5 mobile operators are now running at a loss.

 

Questionable Bills/Amendments

  • · 19th amendment was passed in April 2015 diluting Presidential powers without mandate of People
  • · Amended Land Ordinance Act presented by Ranil in September 2018 would if passed in November privatized all state land leaving ownership with foreigners.
  • · Amending – Rent Act, No. 7 of 1972 which limits the ownership of houses and the rent to be charged
  • · Amending – Paddy Lands Act, No. 1 of 1958 and the Agricultural Lands Act, No. 42 of 1973 to allow the farming of alternate crops.
  • · Local Government Authorities Elections Act No.16 of 2017 – Bill said to correct technical issues at Committee stage, after second reading, Yahapalana brings totally new amendments & changes entire electoral system. The Bill was not presented to Supreme Court. The Bill finally passed was not the Bill read the 1st & 2nd time or the one that was gazette. UNP, dissident SLFP, JVP, SLMC & ACMC & TNA supported it
  • · Sabaragamuwa, North Central, Eastern PCs were to be dissolved in September/October 2017. But a day or two before dissolution, yahapalana changes Provincial Council Elections System via amended Act. Provincial Councils(AMD) Act No.17 of 2017. AGAIN – sweeping amendments were brought at Committee stage where the gazette was only to increase women’s representation at PCs. Amendments made at Committee stage was not gazette or made available to MPs at 2nd reading stage. Note: Act was passed INSPITE OF Supreme Court ruling that the extension of PCs or postponement of elections require a referendum + 2/3 majority in Parliament
  • · National Audit Bill : Original bill had provision to impose Rs.100,000 on officials who furnish false information during audit queries. This fine was reduced to Rs.5000 in amendment. The original Bill that had provisions for Commission to investigate special projects outsourced to private companies WAS REMOVED. Powers of Auditor General related to internal audits of statutory bodies including govt corporations, boards, authorities also removed. Bill also prevents Right to Information requests on audit queries. WHY GO TO THESE LENGTHS?
  • · Foreign Exchange Act 12 of 2017: HIGHLY CONTROVERSIAL BILL. Petitions against Bill – violating Constitution, claiming Bill deprived & abrogated power of Parliament to control public finance, removed powers of Central Bank/Monetary Board to supervise, regulate & control foreign exchange including gold, currency, payments, securities, debt, import, export, transfer & settlement of property as provided by Exchange Control Act 24 of 1953. Yahapalana was accused of denying challenging of Bill within 7 days by placing it on Order Paper of Parliament on Friday 7 April 2017 as Supreme Court was on holiday thereafter. Bill was adopted by preventing it from being challenged.
  • · Enforced Disappearance Protection Bill: Presented to Parliament twice & withdrawn due to Public protests. But Bill was passed in March 2018 violating Standing Orders & denying Opposition request for more time to debate it. Passed on the same day it was presented! Bill was declared passed in Parliament with only 53 MPs voting in its favor.
  • · Office of Missing Persons Bill 2016: Virtually bulldozed through Parliament by UNP, SLFP dissidents, JVP & TNA despite objections. Less than 40 minutes given to debate this new law. Vote was taken & Speak declared Bill as passed. The Act protects members of the OMP, officers, servants & consultants of OMP from Right to Information scrutiny in respect of matters communicated to them in confidence” Why the need to include such?
  • · Judicature Act No.2 of 1978 – May2018: Act enables to set up permanent High Court at Bar to hear cases relating to offences specified in the Sixth Schedule of the Act. The Bill empowers Permanent High Court at Bar to try offences – theft, dishonest misappropriation of property, criminal breach of trust by public servants, bankers, merchants, agents & dishonestly receiving stolen property… cheating, forgery, making false documents, counterfeit, money laundering etc. MPs, police officers, peace officers, Bribery of Judicial officers & other public officers an be tried. Bill was passed without JO at the Committee Stage with majority of 51 votes.AG & DG for Prevention of Bribery & Corruption were given discretion to select cases to the Court. Prosecuting officers had power to arbitrarily select cases. BASL petitioned challenging Bill to say there is no court called Court at Bar in law. Many referred it as a Kangaroo Court. Bill was passed with majority of 67 votes
  • · 19a Constitutional Council: Normally, a CC must rule if proposed statues are Constitutional after Parliament votes & before President signs into law. Sri Lanka’s CC has nothing to do with the constitution (name is inappropriate) Sri Lanka’s CC = PM, Speaker, Leader of Opposition, 1 person appointed by President, 5 nominated by President on recommendation of PM, Leader of Opposition & 1 person nominated by majority MPs. Tenure is 3 years & consists of 10 members. Main function of CC is to recommend Chairman & members of the National Commissions (Elections, Public Service, Police, Audit Service, HR, Bribery & Corruption, Finance, Delimitation, Procurement, UGC, Official languages. CC recommends 3 & President must choose from 1 from the 3. CC also recommends 3 names for Chief Justice & Judges of SC, President & Judges of Court of Appeal, Members of Judicial Service Commission, AG, IGP. CC is not a Parliamentary committee & not answerable to Parliament – no one knows who CC is answerable to. However the composition of CC gives 7 persons a clear majority & thus controlled & manipulated by politicians for politicized appointments.
  • · Active Liability Management Bill sought authorization to borrow over Rs.1trillion from local & foreign sources separate to the yearly borrowing limit set by Parliament. It enabled bypassing of existing controls for loans and Parliament will have no control in the manner funds are utilized. The Bill also removed civil or criminal liability of those who utilized the money. Though Supreme Court was petitioned the Bill was passed in March 2018.
Anti-democracy
  • · When removed by gazette as PM without accepting the sacking or taking legal measures against it, RanilW goes crying to the western/indian envoys requests them to come to Temple Trees & is regularly in discussions with them – externalizing an internal matter.
  • · President gives reason for removing Ranil as PM – attempting to usurp Presidential powers, exceeding his limits, ruling with arrogance, ignoring collective decisions, these are not what the voters were shown
  • · President accuses RanilW of establishing a fraudulent committee to manage economy & President had no alternative National Economic Council committee which RanilW prevented from functioning by asking the international monetary organization paying the salary of the consultant to stop payment.
  • · When President wanted to visit Central Bank, Ranil’s response was Central Bank belongs to me, why do you want to go there’.
  • · Amendments were made to the Commission on Bribery or Corruption Act & sent to Parliament so that Bond Scam perpetrators would be given due punishment. Parliament has postponed approval of amended Act indefinitely.
  • · Co-sponsorship of legally questionable UNHRC resolution in Sept2015 placing national army in a very embarrassing predicament and agreeing to terms that will pose national security risk while also agreeing to a new constitution
Economy
  • State of the Economy: PM Ranil said yahapalana was saddled with $1900m loans (exclusive loans taken by state institutes) PM Ranil said national debt at 31 Dec 2015 was Rs.4,959.2billion (local) and Rs.3,544b (foreign)
  • Debt had increased to Rs.9,387b in 2016 (57% local & 43% foreign)
  • Foreign loans had increased from $1.82b in 2016 to $2.41B IN 2017
  • Sri Lanka printed currency worth Rs.217b from Jan-Mar2017 to pay public sector salaries & other state expenditure.
  • 50 public institutions (including Sri Lankan Airlines/hotels) lined up for privatization in 2017 budget to cover 2016 budget deficit
Comparing Rajapakse & Yahapalana economy:
2009-2011 – 8% growth
2015 3rd quarter – 4.8% growth
Sri Lanka Rupee depreciated from Rs.132 in 2005 to Rs.153 in March 2017 by end 2018 it was Rs.180
Foreign reserves:
$324.3m withdrawn in 2016
$309m withdrawn in Jan-Feb 2017
official reserves down to $5.5b (Jan2017) compared to $6b end of 2016
Foreign Direct Investment:
Dropped from $658m in 2015 to $300m in 2016
Bloomberg rated Sri Lanka as high risk for investments.
Moody, Fitch, Standard & Poor rating agencies gave Sri Lanka a negative rating for 2017.
Yahapalana loans
Auditor General says loans taken by yahapalana in 2015 was double borrowing limit mandated by Parliament
From Jan2015 to Sept2016 yahapalana had borrowed $2.3b from India, $3.65b through sovereign bonds, $3.1b through SL development bonds & $1.5b from IMF (Total $10.5b in 18 months)
In 2016 yahapalana also arranged with 5 banks (including HSBC, Credit Suisse, Citibank) for a syndicate loan of $3.5b (includes clause that govt can be asked to pay back entire amount)
Yahapalana borrowed Rs.23b from NSB & People’s Bank in Feb2017 to fund Central Expressway Project.
$1.5b from IMF in June 2016.
IMF approved 3year Extended Fund Facility of SDR $1.5b (so far 2 tranches given to value of Rs.239m ($325m)
Chinese govt offered $1000m at 2% so govt would not need to take IMF loan of $15,000m at 6%. IMF loans are subject to conditions that hit the middle class & poor – higher taxes, reducing govt welfare subsidies, sale of state-owned enterprises to foreign buyers, state land given to foreign investors, increasing taxes, liberalizing trade, killing agriculture self-sustenance. Yahapalan govt as per IMF demands has reformed taxes, land ownership & labor laws.
· In Jan2017 Cabinet approved a further USD1500 million bond issue
· Sri Lanka printed currency worth Rs.217 billion from January to March 2017.This was needed to pay public sector salaries50 public institutions had been lined up for privatization in 2017.
· Ranil & Co came to power to ease the domestic burden of the consumer – today prices of food have sky rocketed
· Suspending re-exporting karunka (dried arecanut) which earned Rs.9.1billion in 2015 becoming highest foreign exchange earner. 4 local companies were engaged in this trade. Former Finance Ministery RaviK issued permits to other companies & now the income has dropped from Rs.9.1b in 2015 to Rs.4.9b in 2016.
· Release of state lands for foreign ownership – 2017 budget announced removal of restrictions limiting land ownership rights of listed companies with foreign owners / yahapalana also removed restrictions on foreigners purchasing condominiums below 4th floor.
· PM’s advisor presented in 2015 a proposal by Trimble Navigation Ltd (US company) for Title/Tenure Regularization & Cadastral Registry Modernization’ in Sri Lanka the proposal which had been rejected in 2010. Trimble asked $170m which was reduced to $154m without TENDER to be taken as a loan at 4% interest to be paid in 15 years. Finance Ministry’s External Resource Dept was to negotiate with Trimble – database of 3.6m parcels of state owned land. Trimble given management of SL Survey Dept, controlling SL’s electronic land register & details of land will mean a threat to Sri Lanka’s national security
· In 2018 the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) imposed a levy of Rs. 25,000 per 100 carat on gem export sales or contracts and increased the license fee to half a million rupees from only Rs. 35,000. Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association complained that NGJA is stifling the industry by levying such charge on the value of exports resulting in a huge drop in gem and jewellery revenue in exports
· In 2018 Yahapalana placed a 15% tax on gold imports in 2018.
· Protests managed to stop import of eggs which would have destroyed the local poultry industry
· Opening Sri Lanka to foreign retail industry in March 2018 – (shoes, grocery, floor tiles etc) all threatening local businesses. Minimum requirement for foreign investors or JV set by Govt is $5m – foreigners end up paying same tax and duty as Sri Lankans but earn bigger profits as they repatriate their profits and this affects foreign exchange reserves too. Foreigners in retail market are selling foreign goods.
· Hallmarks of every new investment has been the lack of exit clauses, rule, regulations & monitoring mechanisms, cancellations for violations, checks & balances etc (Sri Lankans cannot set up retail outlets in foreign countries as these countries protect their local industries)
· Local metal industry – scrap metal that can be refined locally is being sent abroad illegally avoiding duty, manipulating HS codes. Law allows only export of locally unrefinable scrap
GSP+:
GSP+ is not an incentive to garment producers but a concession given to importers at European end so importer will not have to pay duty when importing garments from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka garment industry did not fall even when GSP+ concessions was removed in 2010 & was doing well from 2005 to 2010.
GSP concessions are conditional & conditions have nothing to do with trade & cover human rights, environment, labor laws & even UN compliance.
Job losses as a result of FTA
Giving resident status, foreign labor permission to foreign investors mean that not only there is likely demographic issues in the future but massive job losses & issues related to food, energy and residential problems too likely to emerge.
Burdening the Tax Payer & Small/Medium Businesses
· Proposal to tax EPF 28% (14% on income & 14% on withholding tax) impacting private sector employees who depend on EPF to live after retirement.
· VAT has increased from 11% to 15% burdening the consumer & impacting small & medium businesses
· Using social concern – wayside stalls etc are being targeted (micro enterprises account for 91.8% of total business in Sri Lanka – employing 44.6% labor)
· Rs.1m imposed on import of vehicles in 2017 – mini-trucks jumped from Rs.1m to 1.8m – these were used by small businesses
· A water tariff carrying a sharp increase was imposed, outside the 2017 budget on Schools, religious place and even hospitals
· tax exemption for deposits of senior citizens has been removed and their withholding tax has been increased
· Yahapalana increased import levies on confectionary fats from 60% to 160% in 2016 budget affecting even local consumers resulting in cheap inferior import flooding the market (Lanka Confectionary Manufacturers Association press release)
· Removing taxes on lease of land to foreigners & removed restrictions on ownership of investments enabling foreign companies to set up shop & reside in Sri Lanka which will impact small & medium local industries. Offering 5 year multiple visas to foreign investors & their labor confounds matters further. Tax concessions & visa extensions were given to those who invested over $1.5m
· Special Deposit Account Act in 2017 that allows foreigners with a deposit of $500,000 to obtain resident visa to a period of 10 years. Spouse & minors also eligible to stay. These foreigners can also invest in Sri Lanka. No State monitoring authority is mentioned in act.
· Census Department reported that inflation has increased to 7.9% in August 2017 from 6.3% in July 2017.
· 6000 small & medium scale rice mills closed & 100,000 lost jobs in 2017. Wheat imports from increased from 800,000 tonnes to 1,700,000.
· Tea Industry accuses Ministry of Finance of appropriating Rs.7b from the cess fund of Sri Lanka Tea Board used for global tea promotion. Despite protests tea cess was transferred to Treasury (2016) The 2019 budget plans to take the Tourism cess fund under Treasury too.
· In 2018 Ranil Govt permitted entry of new type of prawn – Pacific White Legged Shrimp imported by a private company. The Economic Research Council headed by former PM Ranil instructed the National Aquaculture Development Authority (NAQDA) to permit import. Experts say this shrimp carries infectious disease & import has not followed proper legal procedure
· Yahapalana proposes to abolish para tariffs (extra tax imposed on goods in addition to usual duties) in 1200 imports. Para tariffs on 253 products removed in 2017.
· Yahapalana killing SL footwear industry: Indian non-leather footwear manufacturer (Veekesy Slippers) allowed to enter market without restrictions using Section 16 of BOI minimum investment $250,000 investment (100% foreign or JV with local) & gives unlimited access to local market sales. Investment promised to purchase raw material from SL, provide 250 direct & 250 indirect employment to locals (when 150 small & medium SL local footwear manufacturers are employing 350,000 workers). BOI then Chairman Upul Jayasuriya had given approval for 10% local manufacturing & 90% exports.
International record sheet speaks for itself
· Economic Freedom Report, places Sri Lanka 112 out of 180 countries, down from 2016. Sri Lanka ranks lower than Uganda, Swaziland, Mali, Nicaragua, Benin, Honduras (Heritage Foundation & Wall Street Journal)
· Global Competitiveness Report 2017/18 (World Economic Forum) Sri Lanka is 85. In 2016/17 Sri Lanka was ranked 71
· Ease of Doing Business Index” 2017 (World Bank) Sri Lanka is 110.
· Corruption Perception Index” (2017) Transparency International, places Sri Lanka 95 out of 176 countries.
How independent are these ‘independent commissions’
Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole, a member of the Election commission filed a Fundamental Rights petition seeking an Interim Order restraining the Elections Commission from proceeding to take any steps to conduct the Parliamentary election – he has not even resigned before or after showing his bias and has the audacity to write about what he did.
Anti-Buddhist agenda
· Ven. Devalagama Dhammaratana, sangha nayake of Hambantota said Hambantota lands were to be taken over, they had already measured them. About 100 temples and their lands were included in this takeover.
· In May 2018 university students and sangha demonstrated in Colombo over the removal of ‘Buddhist Philosophy’ as a subject from the University.
· August 2018, Office of National Unity & Reconciliation (ONUR) launched several radio dramas all of which attempted to ridicule Buddhism & insult Buddhists & lack of respect for Buddhist cultural sensitivities.
· government taxed Rs 3.2 million on Buddha statues brought by a Chinese delegation on a request by Mihintale Raja Maha Vihara to be distributed among poor temples in the remote areas.
· planned movement to mislead Buddhists by distorting Buddhism & certain Buddhist monks and laymen were distorting Buddha’s teachings when preaching
· Taxing temple tills
· There are over 40 Buddhist monks in prison – no charges no bail for trivial reasons.
This is an incomplete list of yahaplana blunders, in competencies & selling the countries assets & resources into foreign hands with no reduction in national debt situation or relief to the masses. In privatizing & siphoning off national assets yahapalana has only reduced Sri Lanka’s bargaining power & sovereignty as well. When people eventually realize the damage that has been done in the past 4 years it would be too late and sadly the nation & the future generations will suffer the perpetrators & traitors would absolve itself of all responsibility.
Shenali D Waduge

4 Responses to “Yahapalana Record Sheet (Jan2015-Jan2018)”

  1. Charles Says:

    Hoole must have gone to show the panel of judges that he was instrumental in having had them appointed as Supreme Court and appeal court judges and that they owe him a debt therefore to make a judment against the President.

  2. Geeth Says:

    Shenali,
    Thanks. A lot of effort. I wish and hope your labour will pay its dividends.

    You have questioned…“Former PM Ranil announced new economic plan in 2016 as Minister National Policies & Economic Management & hired US Consultancy firm McKinsey & Company in November 2016. McKinsey identified 3 areas for accelerated development: Tourism – Agriculture – Manufacturing – Sri Lanka had to pay $2,997,666m for this proposal! Why couldn’t our own people prepare a plan for our development?”

    You know the reason why? Because Ranil is a congenital idiot! He doesn’t believe anything Sri Lankan. That’s why. A Sri Lankan firms might come up with the same or better plan. However it is not the case for me. The point is why we need a cabinet of ministers if we need outside companies to advice our cabinet? Is our cabinet is full of idiots like Ranil? Don’t they have any vision?

  3. Hiranthe Says:

    Thank you Shenali for the important information all put together in one article.

    Hope this is published in local news papers!!

  4. Hiranthe Says:

    This country was a paradise on earth once. It is soon becoming a “Failed State”

    There were never such anti-Mother Lanka rulers administered this country. Suddas, before our independence were better than this Yahap lot since these selfish politicians are doing everything aiming to satisfy the separatist LieTTE.

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