Join the process to build the country - President

President Ranil Wickremesinghe delivering the Government’s Policy Statement in the Parliament in the morning that if the parties in Parliament had heeded his continuous appeal to join the process to build the country, SL would have been able to extricate from this crisis even earlier. He told Parliament, “We left the IMF in 2020. That short-sighted decision has also affected the current situation. We had to initiate the process from the beginning. However, amidst all the difficulties, we started this journey”.

He said in his speech:

Sri Lanka’s economy today is severely damaged. Its malaise needs to be immediately diagnosed and treated accordingly. However, people are pointing to the mistakes made by those in-charge and are urging them to be punished first. However, I try to cure the malady first, after which we can take further measures. We should prioritize curing the ailment, which is what I am doing.

An Anti-Corruption Bill will be introduced and the Government is taking steps to include the “Stolen Assets Recovery Initiative (StAR)” into this Bill, together with the World Bank and the United Nations.

The strategy of the government should be to guide the private sector in business activities, while being in the background. Government should intervene only in areas such as monitoring functions, public facilities and maintenance of law and order. The private sector should be used as the driving force of the economy.

The Government was able to revive the tourism sector. Tourists visited Sri Lanka even in the midst of political street protests. Sri Lanka was designated among the top 10 tourist destinations in the world. The number of tourists who visited Sri Lanka in the month of January is over one hundred thousand, which is a record.The country is making progress in all sectors, in this manner.

In the Jaffna district, there are 3300 acres of state land including security camps. The extent of 100 acres that had been taken over for the Palali Camp was recently released. A decision has to be made regarding more land to be released for which discussions are being held with the Army and other parties. Discussions have also been initiated regarding the lands around other security camps.

The Government is streamlining and expediting the process of tracing missing persons. The mechanism of the Office on Missing Persons will be strengthened and attention has been focused on the people who have been imprisoned for being involved in terrorist activities. They have been imprisoned for many years without trial. Measures are being taken to systematically release these prisoners.

It is alleged that due to certain practices of the Central Government, the powers of the Provincial Councils have been reduced in the fields of education and health. Therefore, we envision bringing new laws regarding the implementation of powers of the Provincial Councils in these fields.

The President said that the Kankasanthurai Port is being modernized and expanded. Trincomalee is being developed as a modern international city. A special development plan is also being launched for the Eastern and North-Central provinces that have suffered economic and social setbacks during the conflict. Special attention is being paid to the Upcountry Tamil community, who were first brought to Sri Lanka 200 years ago, to develop the plantation industry in Sri Lanka.

Change should begin from within ourselves. We all should change and that too should be for the betterment. As politicians we should change for the better. Political parties, the parliament, the executive, the judiciary and the public service should change for the better.

The President, presenting his Government’s Policy Statement at the inauguration of the fourth session of the ninth parliament there is a question whether the role of the media has been properly fulfilled. Therefore, he said media reforms are needed & a national policy on mass media needs to be considered. It is important for the government and the media industry to take care of a collective self-regulation system.

All are bound to protect the State of Sri Lanka. Any citizen has the opportunity to democratically change Governments through the elections, but no one has the right to create anarchy in Sri Lanka. Not any political party. Not any group. The country cannot be allowed to become an economic or social colony. Anarchy cannot be allowed.

I hope the political leaders will get their act together – they have failed miserably. A leader should have the ability to lead by example if they expect people to follow. Sri Lankans are very resilient and will buckle up and do what it takes to come out of the present crisis. If the leaders could act wisely, use some common sense and put their words into action, we will be able to manoeuvre through these challenging times.

All politicians that it is their responsibility to meet the expectations of the country’s children and youth who have aspirations for the country and are determined not to leave. It is the duty of this House to make them inherit a free tomorrow and a free nation.

by Daily News Sri Lanka

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