Sunday, December 2, 2012

Think about it! But for the Rajapakse’s we would be the Miracle now

When history books are written and the legacy of the Administration critically analyzed, the belief of many in this Govt. will be proved to be clutching air only. Without a peace dividend we have achieved hot air!

Every proclamation is one of what they wish, not what they can, and not what they do! There is a huge gap in this.

If one were merely to look at the time of the Mahinda Rajapakse rule now approximating to 8 years, Sri Lanka has received a dividend in excess of US$50Billion from remittances of our disenfranchised patriots overseas. Even during Chandrika’s 12 year rule we only received US$10B in total. It was only a trickle during the JR and Premadasa administration. In 2013 it is expected to top the US$10B for the first time. None of the Government’s in power contributed anything towards this, except charge for passports and fees from them for the Bureau of Foreign Employment.

How have we spent the foreign currency received from it? We have simply wasted it. During the time of the hostilities all the weapons we imported that we had to pay for we paid out of those dollars. Under another administration, instead of having to buy overpriced arms from brokers and middlemen in Sri Lanka who made huge commissions, we could have purchased these weapons from Governments under concessionary terms, especially from the US which gave us all the satellite, laser guided and high tec support and Israel with the UAV drones. I know for a fact that the Peace Dividend would have included the write off of the cost of these.

If we left this to the Private Sector to manage, have a floating exchange rate, the amount of rupees the workers families received would have been much more, and this money would have circulated within our economy to provide all the employment and business opportunities to our most entrepreneurial workforce, namely those who have ventured and taken the risk of overseas employment, and their families, “the new Entrepreneurs” The use of Domestic Savings for investment, not requiring huge overseas loans at high interest rates, would have left this country with much less debt, and with an industrial and production base greater than what we have today.

We would primarily have imported intermediate goods and built a few successful industries that would have further contributed to Exports.

Instead what have we got? Our Export Sector is decimated. 5 Large Groups control 80% of the Garment Exports. Namely, Brandix, MAS, Hirdaramani. A few large conglomerates have performed well, more out of their abilities and despite, I should say, paying obeiscense to the Govt.

The fuel import bill has ballooned by the increase in number of vehicles, that cost much of this foreign exchange that was earned, followed by imports of consumer goods. The MR Govt. is to be blamed for this. Giving duty free permits, allowing 1% to get extremely rich from the people’s money, importing luxury vehicles of NO productive use, adds to an endless list.

Investment in public transport, by improving the commuter times was the need of the hour, with Colombo being a priority. We could have then made people, usually well educated workers more productive by them not having to commute in vans and motorbikes for hours to work. The original concept of JR to build the Capitol and all Govt. functions in a hub around Kotte, is still a long way away. Where are the high speed links for people to get there in 30 minutes max?

Improvements to the road network while visible, has been at a huge cost. All what we see today, using better quality materials could have been provided at half the cost. If proper procedures and tenders were carried out, without allowing local PS Chairman to divide it amongst themselves and their friends at huge cost to the public, purely for MRs political longevity.

The slaughter of the Forests, by tree felling, the reversal of water flow direction of rivers and widening by sand mining, the loss of springs and natural water aquifers by blasting all rock in sight, the cutting of mountains to refill paddy fields are just a few of the irreversibly destructive acts of this administration and a price that is unfathomable.

All the white elephants have only added to this waste, as items of more priority should have taken precedence. I need not go into the list of Mattala, of Hambantota Port and roads and buildings in that District that still remain empty while the income of their citizens of that District remain as low.

We could instead have a class of 2,000,000 small entrepreneurs running their businesses all over the country, knowing what waste means, not having to pay protection money to anyone, producing everything including our food. Most of all we would not have this list of hundreds of thousands of underemployed people waiting for that unproductive and elusive Government Job, a curse further perpetuated by the MR Administration to keep people obliged to them, when in fact it is draining the economy of productive people who are needed in Industry and Commerce for productive use.

Now who can challenge this pretty basic analysis.

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