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PRESIDENT, PM SPELL OUT VISION 2025

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe observed that the Unity Government proved a success during the past two years as the only one of its kind in the global political history since the two main rival political parties had joined together to ensure development while guaranteeing the rights of the people.

They made these observations yesterday in response to the queries of five youth during a Question and Answer session at the ceremony to launch the eight year economic plan Vision 2025 of the Unity Government, at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) yesterday. Five youth from different parts of the country representing various youth organisations raised questions from both the President and Prime Minister in the presence of the audience.

President Maithripala Sirisena responding to Sri Lanka Youth Society Convention Chairman Shehan Kannagara who queried as to whether he was satisfied with the progress of the first Cabinet of the Unity Government said that the concept was novel.

“It had brought the two main and rival political parties in the country together after 60 years,” the President said.

“This was so hard as we had experienced massive destruction housing and property, political vengeance at work places, even rape after some past lections. When two political parties come together, it is impossible to achieve 100 percent success overnight. But, we have been able to run the last two years under such challenging circumstances,”President Sirisena said.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe responding to the same query said that the two political parties could have gone down the path of destruction.

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe participating in a Question and Answer session with five youth at the ceremony to launch the eight year economic plan Vision 2025 of the Unity Government, at  the BMICH yesterday.

“But, we needed to give the youth something new and constructive,” the Premier said. “President Maithripala Sirisena making a great sacrifice by joined us. The new development was a challenge to all of us. Earlier, attempts to do so ended in failure.Therefore, those who tried before and failed should hail our success,”the Prime Minister said.

The Premier also said the youth feel a change and they have hope.

The Prime Minister said eventhough we have not chieved all our goals, the Unity Government has made great strides.

The Premier in response to Speaker of the Youth Parliament Sachintha Dulanjana who queried of the government’s strategy in its bid to improve the economy by creating one million jobs for the youth by 2025, said they had already implemented the strategy.

The Prime Minister stated that the two main parties and several other parties were brought together.

“S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike obtained a two thirds majority but he got only 48 percent of the votes. The UNP got a five sixth majority but it only secured 51 percent of the votes,” the Premier said. “But, in order to implement important policies and goals,the two main parties should come together. There should be political stability to bring about development.”

President Sirisena in response to Dinushi Deerasinghe who queried if he thought that the country obtained the maximum benefit by the joining of the countyry’s two main parties, said that it has not yet achieved all its objectives.

“We have to go further to get the maximum benefits,” the President said.

“We are making these efforts amidst various obstacles by certain elements. We can make this a success when all think of their responsibilities and commitment towards their Motherland.”

The President also said that a project cannot achieve 100 percent success overnight. President Sirisena responding to the query as to what measures the government has taken to arrest corruption as in line with the election pledge, said corruption and waste that was practiced during the previous regime cannot be eradicated in a day or two. “We have strengthened the laws. The institutions that deal with corruption and waste such as the Bribery Commission have been strengthened. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was also was introduced in support of it,” the President said.

“Politicians fear to commit corruption waste and frauds because of the legal measures we are taking today.”

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in response to Thilini Medagoda who queried about the Unity Government’s means to write off Sri Lanka’s debt burden accrued from the previous regime said that the government could at the least meets its loan repayments through its revenue and eanings at the time the unity government was elected.

“But, now we are stable enough to settle the premiums,” the Prime Minister said.

“We will have to obtain loans on some occasions. But,the country hopes to repay all its outstanding loans by 2025. The income from the massive investments that we would get during the next three years will be added to the revenue in 2025. Thereafter,it will not be a difficult task to settle the loan premiums. In such a situation,we would solve these issues and hand over developed country to our future generations,”the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister said the country would then undergo a greater development drive than it experienced in 1977. The Prime Minister added that the North,South,West and East could be developed on an equeal footing as there would be no conflict situation.

Responding to the query as to what the strategy would be in creating one million job opportunities and increasing the per capita income to US$ 5000,the Premier said that first we need investment and for investments, investors are needed. For them technology is needed. We need technology for the agriculture,service and health sectors etc.

“If we do not have the proper technology, investors will not be forthcoming,” Premier said. “That is why stability was created. There is no religious or racial conflict in the country. We have to provide training to boost the country’s human resources. Then they will be able to compete in the international market,” the Prime Minister said.

President Sirisena responding to Jaihuja Ilmanadan who queried as to what the government would do to bring about reconciliation and development with the regained international recognition, said we were able to gain international trust and recognition as we maintained democracy, human rights, fundamental rights media freedom, independence of the judiciary etc,.

“The previous government could not obtain international support as it failed to maintain these rights and standards,” President Sirisena said.

“The 18th Amendment was rejected by all the educated people not only in the country but outside the country.”

The Premier responding to the same question said that Sri Lanka had to maintain a non-allied policy. But, we had problems with the UN and other countries and we lost many facilities and opportunities.

“Our exports dropped as we did not have markets. The garment industry was dealt a severe blow as a result,” the Prime Minister added.


Govt’s economic vision

The government’s vision is to make Sri Lanka a rich country by 2025. The government will do so by transforming Sri Lanka into the hub of the Indian Ocean, with a knowledge based. Highly competitive, social market economy. The government will create an environment where all citizens have the opportunity to achieve higher incomes and better standards of living. To achieve this the Government will create the conditions which will generate economic growth with equity.

The structural transformation necessary to achieve this vision is currently under way. The ‘Empowered Sri Lanka’ document laid the foundation for this transformation by identifying the priorities of raising incomes, ensuring employment and housing for all, and improving the quality of life for all citizens.

The Government will position Sri Lanka as an export oriented economic hub at the centre of the Indian Ocean.

The government recognises the fundamental reality that Sri Lanka has a domestic market of only 20 million consumers with a modest per capita income, and must rely on external demand for sustained, high, and long term growth.

The Government will strategically position Sri Lanka as the hub of the Indian Ocean, securing opportunities for local businesses in Global Production Networks (GPNs).

This outward looking approach will increase the efficiency of the domestic economy, contributing to a better life for all Sri Lankans.

The Government will stamp out corruption by encouraging competition and enabling transparency to give all Sri Lankans an equal chance at prosperity.


 

“VISION 2025”: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT  PLAN UNVEILED

President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday unveiled the proposed eight year economic development plan “Vision 2025” at the BMICH. Picture shows the President and Prime Minister posing with youths. Pictures by Rukmal Gamage