YAHAPALANA AS A PUPPET REGIME Part 14 (C) (APPENDIX)
Posted on October 29th, 2019

KAMALIKA PIERIS

This appendix contains information which amplifies the observations in PART IV (A) AND PART IV (B)

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS

Yahapalana tried but failed to prevent Local government elections, so Yahapalana distorted local government representation. The number of councilors and representatives in local government doubled and the cost too doubled. Multi-member wards were created for the first time, bringing in ethnic and religious factors into a segment that did not have this before. The media reported that Councils has encountered difficulty in forming the Council and electing the Mayor or Chairman.

RECRUITMENT TO STATE ADMINISTRATION.

From 2017 competitive examinations for the Sri Lanka Administration Service, Education Administration Service, Foreign Service, Competitive Examination to recruit officers for the Inland Revenue Department, Examination to recruit executive officers for the Central Bank, People’s Bank and Bank of Ceylon, Examination to recruit Assistant Superintendents of Police have not been held. The government delays competitive examinations designed to absorb graduates to public service. But to sit for those examinations, the applicants should be less than 28 years of age.

There is over 7500 personnel employed in government institutions above the Cadre positions approved by the Treasury. In July 2018 Yahapalana issued a circular that prohibited public and semi-government institutions from recruiting cadres and making payments to them without the prior permission of the Treasury.  All ministries and public institutions, including institutions under the Provincial Councils, were to inform the Treasury about employees recruited outside the approved cadres.

CORRUPTION  IN APPOINTMENTS

 Friends were appointed to high offices of state and their corrupt activities were overlooked. Incompetent and corrupt persons were accommodated and a blind eye was shown to malpractice. Those who opposed corruption were removed from the office. 

MINISTRIES.

The manner in which subjects were allocated to Ministries, defies all logic,  said, critics. Examples are Ministry of Education and Highways;  Ministry of Livestock Development Public Administration; Ministry of  Higher Education, City Planning and Water Supply; Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Co-operative Development, Vocational Training & Skills Development.

A  Yahapalana minister had said to eat manioc and Wattakka as they were cheap. The public suggested that new ministries be created such as ‘Thanakola Amethi’, ‘Bathala Amethi’, ‘manioc Amethi’.

19TH AMENDMENT

Yahapalana passed many laws in Parliament which were strongly criticsed by the public. The 19th Amendment, created two power centers. It reduced the power of the President and transferred them to the Prime Minister and created what Udaya Gammapila has delightfully described as a Bherunda Pakshiya.

The 19th amendment also created the outrageous Constitutional Council , consisting of on Parliamentarians. Chandraprema commented, what happened was that all ten members of the Constitutional Council were Yahapalanites and they, in turn, stuffed all the so-called independent commissions and high posts of the state with Yahapalanites. This was exactly the opposite of what was supposed to happen. 

Dushana Vidu Nethin, (DVN) ,  condemned the appointment of Power and Energy Minister Ravi Karunanayake’s lawyer Sandun Gamage to the vacant position of Commissioner at the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka. Gamage’s name was approved by the Constitutional Council. Gamage represented Karunanayake multiple times during hearings into the Central Bank bond scam before the Presidential Commission appointed to inquire into the case, DVN said.

ENGINEERING COUNCIL BILL

Proposed Engineering Council bill inimical to the profession. Of the 17 persons, 13 are to be nominated by the PM, said the media.

SECURITY

The Prime ministerial security division took into custody a   youth for videoing the motorcade of Ranil while was driving past Kollupitiya. He had done so with his cellular phone.

FINANCIAL CRIMES INVESTIGATION DIVISION

The establishment of the non-democratic and extra-judicial institution of FCID to carry out politically motivated investigations

WELFARE SERVICES

One way of crushing the people was by hitting the key social services. The social welfare state (free health and education, pensions, allowances for the elderly and disabled, the milk and mid-day meal for school children, etc.) is being dismantled, said Tissa Vitarana in 2018. In three years of the Yahapalana regime, the socio-economic conditions of the masses have rapidly deteriorated, said Tamara Kunanayagam in 2018. There is a general decline in welfare services said, analysts. Instead of strengthening public education and health, the government is moving towards privatizing education and health, pensions and social welfare funds.

The government had disrupted the payment of poor relief, distribution of school uniforms material and the fertilizer subsidy.

A large section of the people was unable to afford even essential food items. The poverty and malnutrition rates have gone up, and many people are having two meals a day and some only one. The poverty (over 30%) and malnutrition levels are soaring. Vegetable prices are going through the roof, complained to the public.

All Island Private Pharmacy Owners Association opposed the  400% increase in registration renewal fee.

Fishermen said that they have to provide files to obtain allowances given to them.

Health

  • Health Ministry budget allocation was reduced from Rs 175 billion in 2016 to Rs 160 billion in 2017.
  •  Structural changes were carried out in the health services since 2015  which will totally destruct the system in five or ten years, said the media.
  • The minimum standard for medical entrance was lowered from 3B passes to two C and one ordinary pass.
  • Yahapalana was gradually moving the health sector towards privatization.  
  • The free health service is to be phased out and an insurance-based service put in place.
  • Yahapalana has not shown any interest or readiness to combat the prevailing Dengue epidemic. Reported cases of Dengue all island for 2019 were 55,894 as of Oct 18.
  • Low-quality drugs were bought, also drugs that were close to the expiry date.
  • There were drug shortages, these included drugs for diabetes, asthma, heart disease, urinary infection and emergency medicine. Several cancer drugs were in serious shortage.
  • There was a severe shortage of phaco machines in hospitals and doctors had halted  eye surgery. Some hospitals were unable to perform any cataract surgeries.
  • National Eye Hospital usually  performed 80 to 100 cataract surgeries per day. When the use of private phaco machines was prohibited, the number  dropped to 23.
  • Kantale  hospital ICU closed for the past three years.
  • Bandaragama government hospital  had no eye surgeon in February 2017. Eye surgeries were done there earlier.
  • No water or electricity at the  newly constructed health service center at Mawala, Kalutara.
  • Malnutrition among mothers and children in the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa districts is on the rise said North Central Provincial Health Secretary. 15,000 children under the age of five years were suffering from acute malnutrition complications.

Education

  • The budget allocation for education was reduced drastically from Rs. 185.98 billion in 2016 to Rs Rs.76.94 billion in 2017. 
  • Yahapalana government was trying to scuttle free education.
  • Vouchers were substituted for the free uniform material. The sum was not enough  for more than one uniform and parents had to spend two days away from work to collect the voucher.
  • Textbooks  offered  free by the government were not printed in time.
  • Teachers and principals were harassed in various ways.
  • Salary arrears of principals and teachers were not paid,  or they were delayed.
  • Staff promotions were delayed.
  • 3856 appointment letters were given to those who had passed the competitive exam of recruitment to  Class 3 of the  Principals service, but  Yahapalana then planned to give the appointments to the acting principals who were political appointees and had not even sat the exams.
  • Teachers serving ten years in the same national school  were transferred. Teachers in leading schools in Kandy and Colombo were  among the first to be transferred. There was a mass transfer of teachers  in Kandy schools. The best teachers of Dharmaraja and Mahamaya were  the first to be transferred out. Dharmaraja and Mahamaya are the two leading Buddhist schools in Kandy.
  • Higher Education was one of the main avenues for social mobility. Yahapalana government issued a circular that said that the number of external students enrolled must not exceed twice the number enrolled as internal students.
  • Derana  6.55  news 22.3.19 showed school children studying by candlelight due to a power failure.
  •  Derana  6.55 news 4.8.19 showed that the lights  go off in a  classroom where students were studying for grade V
  • For three years there was no class teacher for grade V at St Mary’s Vidyalaya, Mabole, Wattala. Parents had met education officers ‘in vain’ in 2018.
  • Balahuruwa Kanishta Vidyalaya had a shortage of about 18 teachers while urban schools in the province had excess teachers.A group of  300 parents arrived in buses and surrounded the Chief Ministers’ office refusing to disperse until a solution was provided.
  • In one school selected for improvement,  the building contractor had broken down one set of classrooms, completely and had removed the roof of another set of classrooms  and departed. Television news showed children taking lessons under umbrellas in the roofless classrooms.

LOSS OF EMPLOYMENT

The second way to crush the people” was to take away their livelihood. They would then become impoverished and politically weak.  Mass unemployment could be achieved quickly by hitting the whole industries. Yahapalana targeted the micro industries and the SMEs. The government was not allowing the local industrialists to survive, said the media..” Small businesses have been hit hard by the policies adopted by this government, said, critics.   Here are some observations.

  • Micro enterprises account for 91.8% of the total business establishments on the island and employ 44.6% of the total labor force.
  • Small businesses have been hit hard by the policies adopted by this government.
  • Businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to survive. Some startups have gone bankrupt. People who took loans are unable to pay the installments.
  • Yahapalana increased the interest on loans given to the local industrialists. 
  • Many local industries are being bought by their foreign competitors.
  • Small and medium scale industries are getting closed down.
  • Unemployment is increasing.
  • Foreign goods are flooding the market.
  • Local industries cannot compete with them owing to heavy taxes. 
  • All industries are on the verge of collapse.
  • The tax on vehicles made it difficult, if not impossible, for the small businessman to buy a vehicle. Mini trucks and three-wheelers were among the worst hit. The selling price of mini trucks jumped from Rs 1 million to around Rs 1.8 million. The loan-to-value ratio on a three-wheeler was capped at 25%, making the initial down payment jump from Rs 200,000 to Rs 485,000. Mini trucks and three-wheelers were mainly used by micro enterprises like small retail stores, garages, and bakeries. The purchase of mini trucks crashed to 298 from around 1,400 units a month, and three-wheeler registrations crashed from around 6,000 a month to 900 in February 2017.

SOME TARGETED INDUSTRIES

  • Yahapalana removed price control on sugar in March 2017. An owner of two large scale sweet shops at Pettah market said they try to make at least a five rupee profit from each product. But this time they won’t be able to do so. Also, orders were not coming their way this Avurudu season.
  • Lanka Confectionery manufacturers Association employs over 50,000 direct and 500,00  in indirect employment. Government has increased the import levies of confectionery fats from 60% to 160% in its 2016 Budget. The industry faced closure.  Our products are good. We export to over 55 countries. This levy increases  the cost and price and affects production. Cheap, inferior imports will now flood the market.
  • The government has failed to import gunpowder and other necessary chemicals required for manufacturing safety matches.
  •  11 safety matches manufacturing companies, with staff numbering nearly 5000 have had to close down. They think that the authorities wanted to shut down the safety matches industry in preparation for the importation of foreign-made safety matches.
  • The firecracker makers had similar complaints. Imported crackers were invading the local markets and affecting their business. There was also a shortage of chemicals.  Many of the small-scale firecracker producers had their shops shut down in 2018, by police. These illegal firecracker makers, work mostly out of their homes. The whole village of   Kimbulapitiya, around 15,000 families, depend on this occupation. It was passed down through generations. Because of the license restrictions, they were unable to purchase all the chemicals they needed.
  • In 2018 Yahapalana had placed a 15 percent tax on gold imports. The industry is being forced to lay off workers. Some 25,000 workers are employed in more than 1,000 shops registered to carry out gold and jewelry trading in the Colombo city limits. There are more than 12,000 goldsmiths in the city limits.
  • Yahapalana has also meddled in the poultry trade. There are around 6,000 poultry farmers and 450,000 persons employed directly and indirectly in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan farms are producing an excess of eggs. Sri Lanka produces around 8 million eggs a day with the demand being only 6.5 million a day. The surplus  was due to the imports of excess parent chickens in 2017. in 2017, the Livestock Ministry imported 200,000 parent chicks when we needed only 75,000 chicks and this has led to the excess production of eggs,’’ Despite this,  six container loads comprising 2.8 million eggs were to arrive from abroad  in March 2018, Local poultry farmers said they will be driven to suicide if government continues to import eggs from India when the country already had egg stocks exceeding the local demand,. 
  • Sri Lanka has a long-standing mature shipping agency/freight forwarding industry. There are over 750 local shipping and freight forwarding and clearing agents,    mostly SMEs,  employing over 12,000 direct staff with  agents representing all major container lines and non-container vessels calling at all ports of Sri Lanka.   If shipping agency/freight forwarding functions are opened to foreign shipping agencies like Maersk, it will lead to the death of the local industry. Enterprises may have to close down. The jobs of a workforce of 12,000 will be at stake. They will lose their livelihood.

RAIDS AND INSPECTIONS

*The Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) Southern Regional Office Investigation Officials have earned Rs. 10,090,500 in court fines from fraudulent traders through raids and inspections conducted in 2018 in the South. The total number of raids carried out in the Southern region during that period was 2,584. The number of raids carried out in the Galle district was 793 and the revenue collected was 4,100,000. Raids conducted in the Matara district were 891 and the income was 3,144,000. The number of raids conducted in the Hambantota district was 900. Rs. 2,846,500 was obtained by way of court fines.

Errant traders were prosecuted in the Magistrates’ Courts of Galle, Matara, and Hambantota. Charges framed against them were selling rice at exorbitant rates, hoarding of essential consumer items, sale and display of food items unsuitable for human consumption, sale and display of expired food items, selling food decayed and eaten by rats, weevils and insects, altering set prices on labels and selling them at excessive rates, selling electrical appliances without issuing warranty cards, sale of cement above the set price, non-display of price tags and violating orders, rules and regulations imposed by the Consumer Affairs Authority.

* In Galle, in 2018, there was an inspection of vehicles transporting schoolchildren from home to school and back. 110 vehicles which were found to be not roadworthy were issued prohibition notices, Galle district Motor Vehicle Examiner said. The inspections were carried out in four Divisional Secretariat divisions during November and December 2018..Twenty-three such vehicles in Neluwa, 16 in Nagoda and 40 in Galle Four Gravets and 31 in the Tawalama Divisional Secretariat were issued prohibition notices. Many mechanical and maintenance defects including overused tires, faulty foot, and hand brakes, use of improper motor spare parts contravening the provisions of the Motor Traffic Act, corrosion on the body of the vehicle, and faulty signal lights were detected in the vehicles which were issued prohibition notices.

TAXES

The tax policy is one of placing the burden on the people, leading to a huge increase in the cost of living, while allowing the very rich, a small section of local and foreign multi-billionaires, to get richer and live a life of luxury.

The present government is unleashing a vicious cocktail of unconscionable taxes on struggling businesses and hapless people, while effecting major increases in prices of public utilities as well. .Increased taxes, loan interest, and debt have hit small producers and traders. The masses were severely burdened with excessive taxes and prices have increased manifold.

Yahapalana is hitting the public with taxes. In 2016, Yahapalana increased the value added tax (VAT).  Small hardware, clothing, shoe and furniture shops, bakeries and eateries and shops selling mobile phones and other such consumer durables will be affected by VAT

In 2015, the taxes collected from the people were increased from Rs. 1,050 billion in 2014 to Rs. 1,355 billion in 2015 – an increase of Rs. 305 billion in a single year. Such an increase would have been spread out over at least three years under my government, said Mahinda Rajapaksa. As a matter of policy, we kept the year-on-year increase in taxes within the range of Rs. 50 to 100 billion a year so as not to oppress the public.

ENERGY

  • The petrol milasutraya”. This is probably  unique to Sri Lanka and Yahapalana
  • Colombo Municipality had got 61 proposals last year for waste energy which could generate 30 MW of power.
  • Three successive national blackouts rocked the establishment in 2015-2016, showing how vulnerable our supply is. The last time Sri Lanka had emergency power was 2004, and what was that government?
  • By January 2015 there was 4,042 megawatt of generating capacity; by January 2020 there will be an abysmal 4,148 megawatt. Between 2014 and 2018, electricity sales increased from 11,000 to 13,400 million units (a 22% increase), while the generating capacity increased only by 3%, and that too in renewable energy. Where does the balance come from, to serve the increased sales?, by running the aging oil power plants of CEB and from emergency diesel generation.
  • Yahapalana is playing around with the electricity needs of the country, said  critics. During the Rajapakse regime, there was a plan to have  a coal powered electricity plant at Sampur. CEB had already started preparing for the Sampur power plant by setting up transmission towers for it. Yahapalana cancelled the on-going Sampur power generation project as well as the  Sampur No 2 project that was also in the pipeline.
  • Yahapalana Government could have easily commenced physical construction work on the 500MW Sampur CEB/NTPC Coal Power Plant by mid-2015 if it had diligently followed the on-going process. If it had done so, the Sampur Coal Power Plant would have been ready to commence generation by end 2018.
  • The CEB has no plan to meet the increase in energy needs. It is unlikely that a large power plant will come up until 2025. The only plan they have is to purchase emergency power as a stop-gap measure. This will be a massive financial cost to the CEB and the people. The estimated cost of purchasing emergency power in 2019 alone is estimated to be Rs. 101 and the accumulated cost over the next seven years would be Rs. 1187 billion, most of which will be paid for fuel imports.
  • Yahapalana has approved emergency diesel power plants Diesel is fuel for vehicles, not meant for power generation.
  • By careful design by politicians (not by planning professionals), Sri Lanka will have about 300 megawatts of diesel generation (floating or otherwise), very soon.
  • Yahapalana government also  favors gas terminals.
  • The share of electricity produced from oil reached a 20-year low of 18%, in 2015, and now it has risen back to 34% by 2017, and will surely exceed 50% by 2020.
  • The retired oil power plants are been revived. Companies are writing reports on how one oil power plant is more expensive than the other. The PUCSL is not approving contracts as regards oil power plants. There are accusations and counter accusations against oil power plants. In the end, it is oil and more oil.  Gas costs more than coal and renewables.
  • Securing LNG is perhaps the most hilarious drama of the 2015-2019 Era in the backward movement of the energy sector. A feasibility study by CEB in 2014 confirmed that Sri Lanka should import LNG. Sri Lanka needs only one LNG terminal. Apparently, there have been more than ten cabinet papers to build LNG terminals not even an agreement has been signed. , Although Sri Lanka has no LNG or even an LNG terminal project on the horizon, energy ministry, and CEB have issued bids to build a power plant to run on LNG. Actually, power plants cannot be run on LNG but on re-gassified LNG, which may be called R-LNG. So Sri Lanka wants to have a power plant to run on a non-existent fuel.
  • The Solar Industry Association expressed its dissatisfaction in June 2019 over the sudden decision taken by the Ceylon Electricity Board  and the Ministry of Power and Energy to stop the installation of country’s future solar power projects that could add 200 MW to the national grid other than small size solar power projects.`

INDUSTRIES

 WINKLER INTERNATIONAL Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) had committed a serious offense by granting permission to Winkler International Pvt. Ltd to export 294 MT of gold mixed soil, valued at USD 88,200 in July 2019,  said the Presidential Commission of Inquiry  probing alleged corruption in the current administration.

Managing Director of Winkler International had written to the head of the Geological Survey and Mines Bureau (GSMB) to determine whether they needed the permission of the GSMB to export a large quantity of gold mixed soil. Sri Lanka Customs had apprehended 15 containers of gold mixed soil that Winkler was trying to export. The answer was” yes”. GSMB approval was essential for exporting gold mixed soil. However,  following several meetings at the Presidential Secretariat, the GSMB decided to give Winkler permission to export this consignment as a special case. Since Winkler had no mining or trade license we decided to get recommendations from the President’s Secretary also, GSMB said.

CEYLON GRAPHITE Foreign companies have been trying to get full mining rights to Sri Lanka‘s graphite mines  several years..  In August 2019, under the Yahapalana rule, extensive mining rights were awarded to a Canadian company Ceylon Graphite. This company with headquarters in Vancouver was in the business of exploring and developing lump vein graphite mines in historic resource jurisdictions in Sri Lanka. The contract was awarded to Sarcon Development Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ceylon Graphite.

DEDURU OYA SCHEME

The government had stopped all ongoing development work of the old government when it took office. Said DEW Gunasekera. Yahapalana had failed to complete the Deduru Oya irrigation scheme to  give water to the whole of Wayamba which he started said Mahinda Rajapaksa. ( CONCLUDED)

One Response to “YAHAPALANA AS A PUPPET REGIME Part 14 (C) (APPENDIX)”

  1. Hiranthe Says:

    I was wondering how stupid the Sri Lankan Society is !!

    No reactions or protests against the approval of the MCC Compact by the Yamapalanaya Cabinet!!

    Why the people do not see the danger of this agreement to the nation and Mother Lanka as a whole?

    Only Sarath Weerasekara seems to be worried.

    Are everyone else ready to sell their mothers for $$$?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2021 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress