Looking back at the recent history of Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksas have deceived this country and the people for power, over and over, using different tactics. In 2005, placing national security first, in 2010, on the basis of sympathy showing the electric chair, and in 2015, Mahinda campaigned presenting a concrete desert as development. 2019 came the Easter terror attacks and racism was the key that opened doors of power for them.
Eran Wickramaratne said that the Rajapaksas are confusing the country and the people again, using the Easter attack documentary recently aired on Channel Four – they seem to think that this is the hand of cards that will lead to their 2024 election win. Eran is confident that the people are not naïve. Member of Parliament of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya addressed the press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s Office yesterday, Sunday, 17th September 2023.
The member who spoke further, said that the Rajapaksa government is misdirecting the people to steer attention away from their own actions and inactions that led to the downfall of the country. People fell dead in queues, gas cylinders exploded in houses, there were reports from hospitals where patients were dying from inferior medication and families with children surviving on one meal a day.
National security and racism are the cards this government play to blur the minds of people of all that has been taking place since 2019 and their assumption of power. Wickramaratne warned against the attempts to confuse the country once again, based on racism and religionism with the aim of gaining power in the 2024 elections.
The State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe recently stated that the government cannot do businesses. After years leading the country towards bankruptcy, the Rajapaksa government has been forced to accept economic fundamentals. Unlike the Rajapaksa government, the SJB has a steadfast plan, said Wickramaratne. The SJB aims, to not only bring much needed reforms to public enterprises, but will manage public assets in a manner that will generate income. In the end, the people will benefit from these gains and burden of life will reduce for the common man.
Instead of intelligent management of public assets, the current government has resorted to burdening the people with heavy taxes, that is now driving scholars and professionals away from the country. The burden of tax falls most heavily on the poor and low-income earners.
The proposed tax on EPF was more than the corporate sector. Tax on EPF is much higher than the taxes levied on businesses, banks and bond investors. The MP said that the economy of a country cannot sustain on such high taxes levied on low income earners. The better management and higher returns on public assets will permit a reduction on the tax burden.
Successive governments over the years have held on to outdated economic thinking and practices that has led to the current state of affairs. In the 1970s, the government policy was that the ownership needs to be held on to, even if there is no income from public assets. Left-wing parties and its governments insist on public asset ownership by the government, an argument that it no longer followed by, even the socialist economies.
It is estimated that there is an approximate 60 million tons of fertiliser in the Eppawala phosphate deposit. When plans were brought about for new investment and technology to add value and increase export income, slogans were carried out resisting change. Living conditions of the people in the surrounding villages are still what it used to be many years ago. Illogical economic protests in our country benefits no one.
Oil deposits were discovered in Saudi Arabia in 1938. Mr. Wickramaratne said that if Saudis protested with slogans the way the Sri Lankans did, they’d still be a nomads in their deserts. In the 1970s, when Middle Eastern countries formed OPEC, Sri Lanka was ahead in terms of quality of life. Many countries, including the Middle East are ahead of us today – they understood that available resources need to be enhanced with new technology and investments from time to time, for the betterment of the people of a nation. Now, our people and professionals are providing skilled labour in those countries instead of their home country.
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