Who will get the economy going? No one, unless truth is told
Posted on May 31st, 2015

by Sanath Nanayakkare  Courtesy Island

With the parliamentary elections approaching, Sri Lanka is on the verge of entering another phase of its familiar ‘pledge cycle’, therefore, it’s high time the main political parties told the masses the absolute truth on the status of the country’s economy, and the masses demanded to know the truth and nothing but the truth before the country would end up in an economic crisis, think tanks of the Pathfinder Foundation told the media in Colombo last week.

Pathfinder Deputy Chairman Dr. Indrajith Commaraswamy, Executive Director – Luxman Siriwardena and Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne-Professor of Economics, University of Colombo and Senior Fellow of Pathfinder held this press briefing concurrent to the launch of the Foundation’s valuable booklet titled ‘Charting the Way Forward : Prosperity for All’.


Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne

The booklet discusses 12 highly relevant topics in a very succinct style. They include: Maintaining Sound Macroeconomic Fundamentals, Improving the Business Climate, Land/Labour/Capital Markets, Exports and FDIs, SMEs, Ways to Increase Agricultural Productivity, Training and Skills Development, Empowering Plantation Community, Reform Strategy for Public Enterprises, Efficient Public Service Delivery, Social Protection and Capitalizing on Emerging Mega Funds.

Commenting on the independent, analytical work presented in the booklet, Pathfinder Executive Director Luxman Siriwardena said,” It’s timely to inform the manifesto preparation process of the political parties, and stimulate public discussion on the important determinants that enable successful transition of the Sri Lankan economy to a sustained high-growth path. We’re submitting the reform proposals in the spirit of constructive engagement to promote the improvement of the lives of all Sri Lankans”.

Hitting the nail on the head, Siriwardane said,” The hole in the budget deficit was dented by the Budget Speech – November 2014 as well as the Interim Budget – February 2015.

We need to get out of this vicious cycle and deal with the harsher economic realities without misleading the people”.

Dr. Sirimal Abeyratne,-Professor of Economics, University of Colombo and Senior Fellow of Pathfinder said,” Sri Lanka needs to follow good practices which are being pursued by an increasing number of countries around the world. Welfare measures promised through the political manifestos must be cost -calculated and shown where the funds would come from to deliver them. This will enable the voters to assess the financial viability of the promises they vote for. 10% economic growth is necessary in the next 10-20 years to meet the growing aspirations of the people, and this is doable and feasible if the right policy framework is followed with consistency”.

Pathfinder Deputy Chairman Dr. Indrajith Commaraswamy noted,” We are not saying that the country is in an economic crisis, but we may end up in a crisis if we don’t take action. There’s a lot of discussion on political and constitutional reforms, legal reforms etc., but the management of the economy is the most important thing”.

“The debt dynamics have changed substantially and the scope for the State to borrow is no longer there. The budget deficit is likely to deteriorate as a result of the non-fundable ‘budget handouts’ that we saw in the recent past. Lee Kwan Yu said that elections in Sri Lanka are an auction of non-existent resources. The boost given to consumer demand is no longer sustainable. The Balance of Payment is under pressure. It’s only a matter of time that we will have tax increases, expenditure cuts, interest rate increases and depreciation of currency or some mix of this prescription. This is why we need to implement major economic policy reforms at this juncture,” he pointed out.

“The impact of the economy on the day-to -day lives of the people is of paramount importance. The Pathfinder Foundation feels the need to get the whole country focusing on economic issues and all other issues. The longer you wait the more intense the pain will be, so we need to achieve macroeconomic stabilization as soon as the elections are over. For this, the political leaders, the academics, the public and private sectors and the whole society have a responsible role to play. Facing the economic reality in a realistic way could see us through the looming crisis’, Dr. Commaraswamy said.


7 Responses to “Who will get the economy going? No one, unless truth is told”

  1. Ben Silva Says:

    The Nobel truth is people should have desires and a desire to be successful to drive the economic engine. Further, people need to be prepared to undergo suffering or pain to make a gain. Muslims and Tamils and now even Indians understand this basic truth of economics. People has to be told of this truth.

  2. Lorenzo Says:

    AGREE with Ben. That is the Noble truth. (NOT Nobel, Ben!!)

    Look at the war victory. The MASSIVE DESIRE to have peace led to the deaths of 27,000 soldiers, billions of dollars in spending, etc. Ultimately success.

  3. Cerberus Says:

    Is the UNP trying to take the country down the road of Capitalism? Indrajit Coomaraswamy brother of Radhika Coomaraswamy is involved with UNP in determining economic policy. All the countries in the world which are now doing well are Socialist. U.K, Denmark, Sweden, France, Germany are all Socialist. USA which is purely capitalist is going down fast. They are powerful enough to stop erosion of their economy by printing money which Sri Lanka cannot afford to do. We must develop our own thinking on the economy which is what President Mahinda Rajapaksa was doing. Imported ideas will not work in Sri Lanka since our psyche is different to the Western psyche. The Western psyche is one which will exploit others and enslave countries. Whereas the Buddhist psyche is live and let live. The Chinese have been practicing it and that is why they have been so successful. The Tamils (some) have the Western type of psyche since they have been deprived for so long (3000 years of caste in India) that they will feel no compunctions to take from Sinhalese and then tell lies to the world about how much they are ill treated by the Sinhalese. As one Tamil writer once said lying and cheating is like mother’s milk to some Tamils.

  4. Metteyya_Brahmana Says:

    I don’t see how 6-7% GDP growth is sustained with all of the Chinese-funded infrastructure projects being shut down by Ranil and the UNP. The 1st Qtr GDP numbers come out in two weeks (June 14th), so we will see for the first time the adverse result of the new government’s anti-China policies on the Sri Lankan people.

    So far, I do not see any ‘capitalism’ being practiced by the UNP, as they simply seem fixated on making the prior government look bad by killing off all of the prior investments in the country. Ultimately, this will make the UNP look bad, as the US, UK, and EU are in no position to make up for the multi-billion USD investments of the Chinese, and whatever money they ‘might’ put up will invariably have substantial strings attached in which Sri Lanka would be forced to be a neo-colony of these white countries and lose its independence as a nation.

  5. Independent Says:

    Gon Silva has been awarded Nobel Price for stupidity by Lorenzo.
    I am not going to help these two fools, as many commentators tried to do it but failed as they get confused Kama Sutra with Kalama Sutta.
    Ben and Lorenzo should keep their desires and desire to be successful. Sinhala Buddhist will use their courage, fearlessness, enhanced power by to subduing of slop and torpor and concentration to be successful – as taught by Buddha. Fools need not teach them – just apply more and more desire to yourself and come out from depression.

  6. Independent Says:

    This is not for the FOOLS.

    Buddhism always encourages “urgency” or සංවේග​ in Pali. Buddha categoricaly said that one needs

    1. Chanda (Zeal or enthusiastic diligence)
    2. Viriya (energy )
    3.Chitta ( application of mind / intelligence to it)
    4. Vimangsa (investigation)

    These four qualities are essential too MOST DIFFICULT task in this world , that is to completely irradiate desires.
    Desire alone cannot do anything. If one has a great desire to be the PM he still cannot achieve it without the abovementioned 4 qualities and also prove the public that he has “less personal desires” than others.
    Desire is not the driver. Driver is the urgency. Buddha never asked people to get rid of urgency.

    This Ben Silva and Lorenzo both enemies of Buddhism trying to blame Buddhist Dhamma practice of Sinhala Buddhist on political issue. There is no reason whatsoever for Gon Silva to start a discussion completely out of the topic to blame Buddhism and LTTE Lora supporting it. I believe repeated offenders shall be banned completely.


    OBAMA will never allow SL economy to start again. It took OBAMA 50 million dollars to Stuff the ballot boxes and discredit MR! OBAMA today gave an interview to KYLE RUSDROFR at National Public Radio (USA), Market Place and clearly said that if Sri Lanka is a powerful economic entity then, US workers will loose manufacturing jobs, so we must put human rights and Amnesty international to stop it. TAMILS FOR OBAMA has tones of money to distribute. So, Sarath, we all lost.

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