Wednesday, December 7, 2016
I have already written 3 blog entries in this regard in JULY 2016, so my blog here is in connection with the attached report that Groundbreaking on this project to build the huge embassy complex has just started!
Ironically it is called an enduring symbol of friendship, which any person with half a brain will have a wry smile, knowing it is the easiest method of eves dropping on every sick joke made at Temple Trees from now on.
So let us revisit my original appeal to the US NOT to build this Embassy here.
This was written 5 months ago, with the intention of avoiding a National Crisis in 4 years when the elections are in full swing and the Embassy is up and operational so that their presence then will NOT cause undue influence over the fickle Sri Lankan voter whose mind can be manipulated against the US with the Embassy at the doorstep of Sri Lankan power.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you understand the Sri Lankan psyche, it takes a long time to wake-up from their slumber, but once it has woken up, it can be deadly, and people's worst fears can easily be aroused irrationally, and your Embassy there is a RED RAG TO A BULL.
In any case the current Ambassador will not even be around when the new complex is ready for occupation and William Moser is just a bureacrat doing his job, and it does not matter either way to him. So it is for the sake of the US interests in Sri Lanka that I am making this appeal for common sense and once you have read my three previous blog entries you wil be better off being granted 100 acres along the Mahaweli Bank to develop the most beatiful US Embassy in the World, where even a future President can just Copter in from the largest Aircraft Carrier in the US Navy safely in the Trincomalee harbor.
As for pushing the procrastinating SL Govt. to move the Capital a gentle nudge and the promise of a US$1B grant for that purpose in Polonnaruwa will do the trick. At least we can have that ready in 10 years instead of 20, when it will cost twice as much!
Of course my point can only be understood by people who actually have a vision of the future and likely outcomes, so I do not believe any in Govtnone of whom are visionary will even understand what I am about to say, but here I am appealing not to Sri Lanka but to the US State Department NOT to be foolish and act in the interest of the US Public by donating this land for a much needed park complex in Colombo, as the City will be suffocating in a few years with nowhere to breathe.
Of course the foul air will in any case prevent any US staffer worth their breadth, wanting to serve in Colombo, so in the all round interests, plan on Building the US Embassy as the first building in the new Capital City Complex of Sri Lanka which I guess to be on the banks of the Mahaweli in Manampitiya!
The links to my other two entries relating to this are also shown below to complete the trilogy I wrote over 5 months previously, which no doubt the US Govt. have not cared a damn about, but don’t say I did not say so later on.
Saturday, December 3, 2016
If COLOMBO Gridlock of week ending December 2nd 2016 is anything to go by, then we may as well GIVE UP and move out
The only appeal I will make to the strikers is to completely isolate ALL Parliamentarians within the Diyawanna Island and DO NOT ALLOW THEM OUT for 48+ hours. Finally they will probably understand the plight of the rest of us. Let them debate from today and allow them out on Monday morning.
Lets use jamming technology so that they can then NOT get any of their mobile phones working and also use wi-fi jamming so that they cannot use the internet either. Parliamentarians are notorious for being glued to their smart phones.
When people who live even near the Parliament have now decided to move back into central Colombo, because even they cannot stand the commute into Colombo, it says a lot about the choices people make, and ONLY those with the wherewithal are fortunate, leaving 99% of the others to suffer in silence, until some serious alternative is INACTED.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES?
1 Do something immediately about the traffic gridlock
2 Prevent any protest that takes over public road for one year until some alternative means of protest is found
3 Immediately impose a Rs100 a day on cars and three wheelers entering Colombo.
4 Make it mandatory for MPs to use public transport one day a week say on Friday, so they can see for themselves how the majority of the people commute, otherwise NO immediate action will not be taken.
5 Remove ALL back up vehicles of ALL ministers so no one other than the President and PM have back up vehicles in Sri Lanka. Judges still permitted to have their motorcycle escorts to and from work.
6 All school vans can only come to a central exchange point at entry into the Colombo, where designated buses for schools will take them from that point. This will stop vans coming into Colombo and taking parking space for the whole day, until school is over.
7 Immediately asses how the Government servants come to work within Colombo city limits and except for designated persons, they must use public transport to get to their place of work. Each head of department must consider the productivity of the member of staff who works within Colombo city limits, and seriously look into transferring him or her to another area.
8 Build an alternative capital city far away, as it will be needed sooner rather than later!
Friday, December 2, 2016
Zac Goldsmith, referred to as a billionaire thanks to his late father, the mercurial Sir James Goldsmith, and brother of Jemima Khan, the ex wife of Imran Khan, spectacularly lost the by election held yesterday, 1st December 2016 by less than 2,000 votes, contesting as an Independent candidate, to his Liberal Democratic rival, whilst the Labor Party candidate lost his deposit.
In the 2015 General election when David Cameron created an upset by not just beating the fancied Labor Party, but also obtained sufficient seats to form a majority Government without the previous coalition partner the Liberal Democrats, goes to show how much can change in such a short time in politics, and this certainly is time we in Sri Lanka understand how whimsical the electorate in a democracy can be over the slightest change in temperament!
No wonder the dictators and one party rulers are having a field day lately with Putin the undisputed leader, who can, not just face his detractors at home, but all comers overseas, despite a FAILING economy, and Russians starving in the streets! But have the gall to carry out indiscriminate bombings in Aleppo.
Getting back to yesterdays upheaval, let us be reminded of a few facts. The Liberal Democratic Party was decimated at the last General Election, and to turn a 20,000 + Tory majority, into 2,000 for them is also mind numbing, but expressive of by-election tactical voting! Then Goldsmith promised to leave the Tories if the 3rd Runway in Heathrow was approved, and that is why his resignation and contesting as an Independent (there was NO Conservative Party candidate yesterday vying to be humiliated, or split the vote!) resulted in this.
Then we have Zac who was a Brexiteer in a constituency which voted 70% to stay in the European Community, playing a part, and his Liberal Democrat rival was pro Europe too. So it is a wake-up call to Theresa May that there is a significant voice to soft Brexit or no Brexit in the UK, reflecting the polarized nature of the Country and competitive democracy at work, where people are almost evenly divided on many issue with NO middle ground to reach consensus.
In my opinion the wealthy constituents who probably pop over the continent for a drive if they so wish, now find their pound sterling worth so much less, and voted their disgust at that too, as they don’t have to compete for housing with immigrants, as no one can afford to live there, and immigrants just man the Gas Stations and are the maids in most of the households of Richmond Park.
So the demographic reflected their views, and the 3rd Runway at Heathrow and the resultant noise pollution was a moot point with people there, who have heavy double glazing to keep out both the noise of the planes, but also the cold from their homes, and have an alternative weekend home to escape to as well. Don’t forget there are deer roaming in Richmond Park, and the mix of the outdoors with good access to the City of London for the stockbroker and banker types is a completely different class of Briton from the rural and industrial North.
While this by election is NOT AT ALL representative of the people of the UK as a whole, it is clearly an indication how people can change on a dime anywhere if their personal interests are threatened IN ANY WAY, and so the longer TM(PM) dilly dallies without going for a general election to tighten her grip on power, and hopefully sweep the board in the absence of a credible opposition, this MUST have given the Liberal Democrats false hope that they are in fact the de facto opposition to the Conservatives in the UK. FAT HOPES, but then pigs can fly!
As we saw with the Donald in the US
Who said we live in interesting times? The popularity of a Governing Party plummets almost as soon as they are elected. Let us see how long after the inauguration the Donald Trump’s approval ratings will last. In a funny irony, he is appointing so many far fetched unfathomable people into his cabinet, with news being issued of a new face every day, that in itself will probably carry his star a little longer as it takes to figure out one billionaire from another.
The “bodylicious” appointment of the ex-marine Janes Mattis is causing more of a stir outside the shores of the US, no doubt making the Donald give himself a pat for his audaciousness, as the General will have to change the rules to pass Congress, as one has to have retired 7 years from the forces to be considered for Secretary of Defense, he being out of uniform for barely 4.
Like everything Trump does, he is turning all the rules on its head and this is yet another instance, and the Serving Generals must be cock a hoop on this appointment that NO Democrat dare challenge!
I can’t remember having lived through such an interesting few months beginning with the Brexit vote, and ending with the by Election yesterday, but with the main event being the Donald’s overthrow of the shoe-in Hilary who must still be shoe-less! Of course with Modi and his demonetization at our doorstep causing palpitations over the pond in big old cash crazy India, no one knows what to expect as each day goes by.
As for Sri Lanka, let us just hope that the Government does NOTHING for a while, as we cannot take any more schizophrenic policy turnarounds on a daily basis causing too much grief all around especially to the man in the street!
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Just think about it for a moment!
From Grades 1 to 13 we have got our school age youth used to receiving FREE text books for ALL their subjects. That is SIMPLY crazy! Yes the schools usually insist that the books are covered with brown paper to protect the covers etc. but that is done more as a practice rather than the kids been taught why!
Only when a child before he or she enters grade 1, is taught at pre-school or at home, to look after their things, be they school books, pens pencils, uniform and anything that belongs to them, will they learn how to take care of the school books.
The schools are encouraged to ensure that the books are in a quality where they can be used for over 4 years, but most books are unusable after one year with just one student! Why? There is NO ONE willing to take responsibility to ensure that state property is well maintained, as there is NO incentive given. The schools merely list the number of copies of each book that they require for the next year and submit it to the Education Ministry, on which it determines how many books their printers need to print, and often further reprints are called for from the printers when they get their estimates wrong.
This whole process is completely unacceptable, BUT NO ONE IN AUTHORITY has raised this waste of public resources at ANY LEVEL!
So how about financially incentivizing the children by giving them 30 rupees a book that is returned in re-usable quality. This on average is about 25% of the cost of the reprinting of that book and is bound to save the state money. Of course one has to have faith in the individual school to administer this process fairly. Further, prizes of monetary value can be given to schools based on how much they save the Education Ministry in terms of text books, by NOT ordering for the following year, because they have the needed quality for the next year’s students. This will ensure that both the school and the students using the books collectively make every effort at maintaining the quality of the book and prevent it from being disfigured.
In my opinion, the ideal will be for the school to sell all the text books to the students at the beginning of the school year, and buy them back at the end, at a lower price. Second hand books can be sold at half the price of the new ones, so kids can choose depending on their financial circumstances, how they wish to purchase. Roughly 5 million students at Rs 1000 per student is how the Rs 5B is arrived at in my calculation in case someone was wandering where I got that!
In case the reader doubts the ability of parents to pay for the books, I maintain that considering how much money is spent on children’s pocket money, when they come to school, the monthly payment for the school van or bus to take them to school, the cost of private tuition classes, because the school does not give them adequate teaching to pass exams, and funding for other school activities, this is minuscule, about Rs1,000 per year!
Now ALL books are printed from discs and can therefore be all UPLOADED to the website, which I understand is what the Education Department is about to do to have all books on line for anyone to access! That is a great idea, further preventing the need for the giving of free books, when all the information is freely available on line.
Of course it is a matter of time when students will use TABLETS instead of school books, and if already this information is online, those students who choose to down load their text book to their tablet SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED to do so, with additional helpful teaching and learning guides added for each subject at each grade as an incentive for the students to actually obtain a tablet, just because it will be MORE HELPFUL for their studies than the mere text book they are given or later asked to purchase.
In this way within 5 years ALL students will avail themselves of TABLETS. I have a perfectly good tablet purchased from Dialog for Rs15,000 and that should easily fit the student’s requirement rather than the Govt. which has estimated to spend Rs25,000 per tablet, which I naturally assume to be more than Rs15,000 as a commission to the people pushing the TABLET on the PM who has NO clue that Amazon will actually give him 200,000 tablets FREE as a pilot project as long as they are able to use the publicity of this gift to the GOSL.
The problem is that a commission agent who is the PMs gate keeper is preventing anyone from Amazon from approaching the PM to offer this, as his gravy train is affected, and so the PM is ignorant of this wonderful opportunity.
I would like my readers to think very carefully of my suggestions which are timely and can save the Country Rs5B a year, and perhaps be used to improve the quality of education further by brining the curricula to 2016 and training teachers properly to teach relevant subject to students rather than only offering subjects at schools which will ensure that the student can never get a good job!
The previous blog entry alluded to a classic scandal to override even tender procedures to provide a useless product, at great expense to the Country, all these need to be stopped and better concepts given a hearing.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
(Education Publications Department)
EPD has been instructed that they MUST print these two belowsaid books for the 2017 Academic year on this specialized (plasticised long lasting) paper. These instructions have come supposedly from above meaning from the Cabinet and they are NOT to question its rights or wrongs, the staff have just got to follow orders to the letter and not to question the stupidity of the decisions that smack of gross violations!
The Tender was called for on 21st November for a closing date of 30th November, which in itself is BIZARRE TO SAY THE LEAST, as except for the belowsaid two Printers, no one else can supply a tender, as the Machines worth Rs600M have to be ordered, and even more so the paper has to be ordered which will take months to come from Japan, or Malaysia which have this quality, which then has to be approved by a testing laboratory, as being consistent with the tender, in case it is NOT of the specified quality.
It is NOT possible for the Tender awarding body to give a tender to just two who apply, as that clearly smacks of manipulation, and so all the Printers of EPD were asked to submit a tender. They have to pay Rs20,000 in the first place to get the right to tender for a book they know they cannot print, for which they have NO MACHINES, NO PAPER, NO INK, and NO GUM. Straightaway this RAT will make the Media and cause a stink that no one will want to be near to! So it is imperative that this tender is cancelled and reverted to the original awardee to print before School Term begins on January 2nd 2017.
One book is only an 80 page Geography book that does NOT require perfect binding due to size and can be stapled in the middle, but the tender requires perfect binding, which will further increase the cost!
What is the required result? To give a contract to two specified Printers, to print TWO School Books for the 2017 Academic Year, worth Rs100M each to print a quantity of books, using a special plasticized UV coated paper.
Only two printers in Sri Lanka as of 1st December 2016, have the machines capable of printing with this highly specialized paper. They are Softwave and Printcare. They use this paper for specialized printing needs for durable/washable paper for the textile and related industries.
If the normal paper is used, as is done on ALL books at present, then this job can be done for LESS THAN Rs 10M each. NAPCO a printer owned by Thilanga Sumathipala got the initial tender (as lowest bidder) to print these books with the regular paper, but were later told they will NOT be awarded this as the Cabinet has chosen to award it in a different tender with the use of durable paper, so the books will last in excess of 5 years as the paper is durable.
The Cabinet MUST be aware that Thilanga Sumithipala is likely to blow the whistle on this against the UNP colleagues involved in the scam, if this tender is NOT awarded rightly to NAPCO, and it is advisable to IMMEDIATELY instruct the Commissioner General of the Education Publication Department to drop this Instruction and revert to the original plan.
This was supposed to be a pilot project to test if the books in fact last 5 years, but as the cost is more than 500% of the tender for normal paper and therefore NO amendments to the book can be made for at least 5 years, for revisions or corrections, it is NOT an economically justifiable project to undertake. It is important to further understand that the supply of tabs to all students could be done in less time than that, which does away with printing in the first place.
It is also worthy of note that a different Govt. could take a different stand on this printing effort, negating any benefits, that the pilot project expects to achieve to test out.
Accordingly this whole pilot project which is NOT in keeping with proper tender procedures, smacks of some collusion, and Softwave and Printcare could be accused of underhand dealing to get this contract outside of tender procedures, and if we look into backgrounds of the INK and Paper suppliers, there may be more culpability of interested parties, that puts the CBSL Bond Scam in the pale in comparison, leading to a possible fall of the Government.
It is regrettable that the Jokers in the Cabinet get used to approving something out side of their remit of understanding, who through collective responsibility, can be held accountable for fraud caused in collusion with other parties.
These are examples of crooked deals, policy inconsistencies, overriding Good Governance Tender procedures, the people being taken for a ride, all to line a few people’s pockets.
If we as citizens of Sri Lanka don’t stand up for what is right! We are left to ponder why the people who we have sadly elected to HIGH OFFICE have completely fooled us. They ONLY achieve their personal objectives in life, WHICH IS TO ENRICH THEMSELVES at the expense of the General Public from whom they are actually stealing, as the TAXPAYER of Sri Lanka continues to pay for these mistakes, daylight robbery, and poor decision making, completely oblivious to what is going on under their own noses.
It is time to do the ONLY thing that will ensure that the people will NOT be robbed by lifetime politicians, and that is TO ONLY HAVE ONE TERM in office for any elected office throughout their life. What a relief would that make? NO MORE LIFERS WHO DIE IN OFFICE!
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
The perfect storm is rolling on and on, more like a storm in a tea cup, with no real news, just manufactured!
Isn’t it interesting that the Media, in order to create news out of nothing has resorted to inform the curious public (made only curious because of the media manufacture of news) of every detail of comings and goings of almost every human being to and from Trump Tower, then his Bedminster Golf Course in New Jersey and now the pack of hounds have moved to Palm Beach to his Mar-a-lago compound, almost like an excuse for a jolly good time! After all the Thanksgiving Weekend starts today, and what better way to celebrate the Trump win than have the whole extended family on vacation in sunny Florida, except for the intrusion of drones, secret service agents, paparazzi to spoil the show, but as an excuse to report on every person who comes and goes.
Surely it should be time out for at least a week for the lesser mortals like us to take breather from the Media frenzy, that is created to make news, sensationalize, get audience get ratings, and finally to make money out of the whole deal, all the while confronting the bellicose Trump, who has been unable to wean himself out of the TWEETING that has been a hallmark of his campaign and threatens to make light of his unpredictable stances on issues of the day, especially those he espoused during the campaign which need correction now that he is President elect.
The trouble is the plea to leave Trump news out of a week will not work as the answer is NOT to watch TV news, if you are fed up. I believe the last few days of the Obama Administration must be put on center stage, to record the closing chapters of his final days in office, lest we forget. We have four more years of photo ops and media frenzy contend with which after that time, I am sure people will be so fed up, of his tweets, the media pontification thereof and the following of every member of his family for no good reason, but that people like to know, being the real deal alternative to a Royal Family that the US does not have, but which Trump provides all the glamour and glitz to make up for!
I have now decided to switch off from watching the same old speculation of pundits who are trying to second guess every member of his administration and then comment on why that person is NOT suitable for the job, without many opining on the suitability of the candidate, which is the more positive statement, especially if they are finally to get the job, without the press baggage like a noose around their necks from day one as damaged goods, without giving them a chance to show their true mettle and suitability for the task they have been set.
By the way there are two more Trump National Golf Courses just in the State of New Jersey, at Colts Neck and Pine Hill, just for good measure~
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Trumps method of transitioning!
As if to throw chili into their eyes for their inaccurate reporting, Trump had summoned a gaggle of Media to Trump Tower, don’t know if it was to his office conference room, or the one in his private apartments, but effective @ his space, with his personal staff, wife, daughter and son-in-law at hand, and being blasted like pick pockets, is in itself a made for TV movie.
As it was off the record, all reports are based on strict confidentiality of names, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall, as Trump a businessman knowing the value of Media even though they may have gone against him, which ironically lead to him being elected had the audacity, emboldened by being President-elect to read the riot act in a Country with First Amendment Rights, guaranteeing free speech and free media NOT constrained by any strictures!
It is clear this gruff approach to you “to tell my story the way I want it”, rather than how you see it, which is very different to what it really is, leaves the Media moguls wondering how best to play this game.
They want to have access to the President, so they have a story from which they make money (the media in the US is there to profit, and not be merely a mouthpiece of a mogul willing to throw money down the drain) and be able to give the LIBERAL SLANT that is their want, as most media today, representing the middle ground of decency and fair play, with equal rights for all, where as to Trump some are more equal than others! Namely the rich, the racist, the right wing, and red necks who form the base of his support, even though he may not represent them fully in their views!!
We are treading new ground in this experiment as we have never had a President who is so well known in business, rich, and can command personal space, that rivals the White House, as he has SO MANY places that he can summon them to and harangue and intimidate these titans of bombasticity!
We ain’t seen nothing yet in his relationship with the media, but I believe the media will not complain as they have more than enough opportunity to make more money by the resulting viewership than they would have under a Hilary C Administration of more BOREDOM! What we the General Public must realize is that we should NOT be manipulated by these media hacks who create news from nothing, like the unending speculation about the pros and cons of Melania staying at Trump Tower to take Baron to school!
What a waste of our time!
Of course the speculation of how Trump is going to avoid being labeled as benefiting from his position as President to increase his business empire, will have pundits in the media flogging this horse for all the time slots there are when there is NO OTHER MORE INTERESTING NEWS TO REPORT ON.
Is that going to be the filler story of the media for the next 4 years and speculation if he will be impeached for breaching the rules, law or call it what you will? May God help us to prevent being dragged by the media in their own self created sinkhole of CRAP!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Establishment and much of the same in “Stronger Together” which is Hilary’s and “Lets Make America Great Again” is Donald’s. What resonates with disenfranchised as in CHEESED off voters? Surely it is Donald’s as the people of the US, the great majority of them, just don’t feel good about themselves, or their Country, and no matter how you measure them, they are for the most part, those who have rarely voted, feel the odds are stacked against them, and have NO person who listens or represents them.
Finally and IRONICALLY they have found in their search a SOUL MATE called Donald Trump, and they are willing to go out and VOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES for a man they know is full of faults, shoots his mouth off, and will shoot his gun off if he had it in his holster, and they like that earthy man, no matter how he cheated the world to make it to the TOP.
Its all about first time older voters stupid, and that is good for democracy. At least they can say they voted.
He took advantage of every tax break imaginable available to him, used bankruptcy to his advantage, and took self promotion to another level, to become famous. Why he took the Reality TV Show apprentice to sky high ratings was beyond me, but he did the unthinkable. Most Billionaires want to stay under the Radar, and the guts he had NOT to disclose his tax returns, DO NOT EVEN SEEM TO HAVE AFFECTED HIS POLL NUMBERS ADVERSELY which has confounded the opposition as they soon dropped that line, when they know it had NO traction.
The Americans Go to the Polls today to vote for the person they hate the least. When someone 4 years from now at the next Election reads this blog entry, will only be able to verify, that it was a remarkable time on 8th November 2016, never before and never again, and that America is Great again because of this election, and because of the bottom of the barrel their politics took them to realize what was needed to “make this Country Great Again!”
No one has actually predicted the post election psyche of the people. It will be relief, cold turkey that they don’t see that mop of hair and Hilary’s tiresome voice. For what it is worth, whatever comes out of Donald’s mouth is crazy or worth laughing about. Hilary’s pronouncements don’t present a wry smile or a cheer either! Why? BORING.
I would have not called her crooked Hilary, I would just have said too boring to be President. Boring people may be rocks and stable, but nothing will come out of their term, positive or negative. We have lived long enough to know that we need some catalyst for change, and that is the ONLY way to energize people to action, and that sadly can only come from TRUMP!
Monday, November 7, 2016
Without a shred of evidence he is now set his attack on to beleaguered and thoroughly incompetent management of EPF without actually making a sensible suggestion of how they should improve their performance.
WA has no case. He is one sided not knowing the truth, as he just surmises.
In order to create liquidity, you have to have PDs buying at a price, and they have available bonds to sell at the secondary market. EPF can choose NOT to buy or buy at the price that Perpetual Set. How can it be there was something untoward?
If the EPF just sits on the daily cash they get they DO NOT get any interest. This is a man with a Island mentality that has a problem! The fact that Perpetual sold to EPF at a profit, don’t lay the blame at Perpetual. They have the bonds, EPF needs to buy. Being the largest PD there is NO ONE else they can go to.
WA simply is dreaming as his case is with NO merit. As EPF though not a PD is allowed to bid at the auctions, why did they not bid in the first place? Ask EPF management, it is their problem, can’t you see it?
EPF has to be managed by professional fund managers, who are paid handsomely for their effort. Otherwise there is NO incentive to make a good return for the members, the GENERAL PUBLIC OF SRI LANKA.
It is best to concentrate your energies on that point, and get rid of the amateurs who manage these funds. In any other Country with Funds such as these, over US$10Billion, your asset manager must be paid at least US$10M to manage this, and if you did, the fund would have gone up by at least twice in the past 15 years.
So the loser is the PUBLIC. Just think about it, stop chasing mirages and get to the real problem of jokers of your puerile ilk, managing the people’s funds. We have to look at the big picture and it is NOT NICE. We need professionals. Retired bankers are just that, old lifers who don’t have a life so they rant on about a piffly point, forgetting the larger and more serious point of TOTAL MISMANAGEMENT of our people’s pension funds.
EPF current management and the CBSL MUST be blamed during WA’s time for most of it, should NOT be in the business of managing a huge portfolio, and also issuing bonds.
Sadly the writer, WA Wijewardena, should offer a solution of how the people’s pension fund is managed better for better returns in the long run. Otherwise his whole waste of pontification is merely for his own egotistical ha-rang of sour grapes.
Of course an incentive based on a running average rate of return over a 5 year period where they get say 25% of increase above say a 12% return, would have shown stellar returns for the public. Just hire the Perpetual Dealer to do that, and you will eat your words, when the EPF value goes up by 20% next year. The trouble is you cannot stomach his paycheck of Rs 50B, even though he makes 250B (after his fees) for the EPF.
Just think of the scandal that will cause! That is the ISLAND mentality we are stuck in today. This is the way pension funds are managed in any other Country, just not here! WHY?
Yes they divide it amongst about 5 or 10 wealth managers, but we only have ONE here at present, who can do the job, and you are attacking him for all he’s got.
Shame on you.
In the days before auctions, the EPF was forced by the previous administration to buy Bonds at low interest rates. That effectively means, that the Private Sector workers savings were being robbed by the Govt. as they were forced to earn a lower return.
Now the savings are earning a higher market determined rate of interest, and if you follow me, I am suggesting a method, by which they earn an even higher rate of return, if managed by REAL PROFESSIONAL managers and NOT Cowboys as at present.
The hardworking people of the Private Sector of Sri Lanka which is the only engine of growth in this economy, deserve better, and should be able to take out more than they do at present. We have lost the wood from the trees. Let us concentrate ON THAT simple premise and work towards achieving this simple goal. All the writings such as this are then superfluous to that aim.
We owe it to this sector of worker to be able to live well in retirement, considering the overtime, long years, stress and sacrifice they have made with their lives.
The Public Sector on the other hand (including all present and former CBSL employees) continue to leach off the people’s taxes, not adding one red cent even to this argument. The words spoken above are typical of the Public Sector mentality and is time we took account of the fact when we determine who is worth listening to and emulating for the Good of the Country.
The unfunded pension payments of the Public Sector, is something no one is talking about. It is time it comes to the fore in public discourse. It runs into trillions and there is NO investment fund for that, they will be merely paying it out of the taxes of the working people at that time, of which there will probably be less than today, with the population charts showing a fall in young people of working age as when compared with the retired.
This goes to the inevitable conclusion we MUST face, that we have to increase retirement age as soon as possible, as we are facing a huge labor shortage, and it is NOT inconceivable to raise retirement age from 55 to 75, by which time we may still have to pay pensions for the huge female labor force in the Public Sector who will likely live to a 100 but not have to do this for the male population who may kick the bucket earlier.
I am mentioning this aspect to focus the mind on the future. We have to face reality, as most of the people living in Sri Lanka are living a day dreamers’ existence, and not surprising because we have people like WA Wijewardena, spouting out mischievous lies, that he expects people to believe in order to hold him in high esteem.
It is time we called his bluff, and consign him to luxurious retirement on his fat pension. We have more important things to do rather than be bogged down by such infantile pronouncements. The GOVT owes it to the people to explain clearly the problems at hand, even though they may be unpalatable, and not get bogged down in scandals of their own making, due to their incompetent management of the people they hire and NOT give them a clear direction in what is expected of them.
I am confident that at some point shortly, people will realize it is more important to face the facts, and not be distracted by people who profess knowledge, that is harmful, and wasteful, to say nothing of the level of treachery involved in their statements. In the end all will be fine, let us hope it is sooner rather than later.
The US Presidential Election has provided real theatre to the media pundits waiting in the wings to pontificate on the various scenarios still possible, with NO ONE calling it for either candidate on this eve of Election Day tomorrow.
I don’t think we will EVER live to see another election as tight, as divisive and as contrasting in styles ever in anyone’s lifetime, and in less than 48 hours there will be a new President Designate to govern the US for he next 4 years! The reason it is of importance to all of us so far away, is because what they decide and how they rule affect our lives. To put is simply, US interest rate policy, affects the interest rates we eventually pay on our public debt, and has a direct impact on our deficit and not only monetary policy, but fiscal policy as they are both interrelated.
We cannot therefore get away from the fact that there are candidates of mediocre capability, playing politics with our lives. Few really trust either candidate, and have constantly been referred to as two worst candidates who have been nominated by the two main parties in US History.
Needless to say that NO policies have been discussed, and it has all been about PERSONALITY alone.
The link above clearly implies that neither candidate has been able to address the national problems in the US that are staring them in the face. This means that whoever wins, they will again continue to ignore them, as frankly few politicians wish to address the real issues of any Country, as either people are UNWILLING to accept a painful solution to it, that is imposed as the opposition will take a populist and opposing view, sinking a good plan even before it starts!
I am mentioning this in my blog here, because we in Sri Lanka also do not wish to face the reality. We have a overburdened public service that has saddled the Govt. We MUST shed at least 500,000 staff from the Public Service from adding to inefficiency and instead put them into the Private Sector which is crying out for more employees to grow their businesses.
This alone together can add to the Growth, BUT NO ONE has the guts to say so. People are so drunk on working for a Govt. dept, that they do as little as possible and hope to live out their working life! So all politicians lie to their constituencies to keep up their popularity, and it is part of the problem of democracy. Ironically though the US is NO different to Sri Lanka in that respect of completely taking the electorate for a ride.
Whoever wins you can be sure that the honey moon will only last a few months, perhaps not even till the State of the Union. As the Middle East will be in turmoil, and they will both be blaming each other, even though neither has even got to the first day at work on the job! That is how ludicrous the allegations will be.
Friday, November 4, 2016
In this eve of the US Presidential Elections, concentrating on the abrasive character of Donald Trump it is useful to know that he also came from IMPOVERISHED STOCK http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/02/politics/donald-trump-ancestry-scotland/index.html
His mother who was the youngest of a family of 10 went to the US in 1930 from the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland at the age of 17 to be a MAID. She gave birth to the DONALD in 1946, sixteen years later. She went on to live till 2000 to see her son get to the top in his real estate business, a far cry from the abject poverty she grew up in.
So what if an underage maid from Sri Lanka goes to say Italy, and then her son becomes the PM there, that would be wonderful wouldn’t it? However she could never be the mother of a President of Sri Lanka, due to the various prejudices that people in Sri Lanka carry with them, make it extremely difficult for one born into poverty to make it to the top.
It is also important to know that his father’s ancestors came from Germany. Nevertheless his immigrant roots are clear and it is NOT ironic that he wishes to stifle immigration, because many people who have actually made it big in the US, feel they have had to go up the hard way, and today’s immigrants are only coming not out of poverty, but to compete for jobs and take jobs away from local people. Back then it was the labor shortage that encouraged them to come to the US from a very sick and poor Europe that could not employ their people.
America was DESPERATE for labor to run their industries, and even as in this case to work as housemaids. If today’s circumstances are also considered, Sri Lanka is desperate for people to do the work locals refuse to do. We will not only have to import construction labor from India to fill the vacancies, but even maids from wherever they can come due to the shortage of over 50,000 maids just in Colombo to say nothing of the other domestic labor, and factory labor etc.
Isn’t it ironic that there are millions of people in refugee camps in the Middle East in countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, and we will not permit anyone here to take the jobs that we have, and instead send workers to Jordan and Lebanon. There is some human mismatch when that occurs, presumably the Jordanian refugees are NOT allowed to work in Jordan, or are so well looked after by the refugee agencies that they don’t want to do the jobs our people go for! All quite confusing!
Thursday, November 3, 2016
If the reporting is accurate in this Ceylon Today article, then it is reassuring to note that the present Governor of the CBSL, is aware of what he has to do, and as reported earlier on the paucity of the intellectual input of this fellow MB members, he will have to make some decisions that those outside the system will have to live by, and respect even though for the most part they will NOT agree.
One point he had alluded to in the paper article was the difficulty in proving the guilt of his staff, who are alleged to have been part of the scam. I accept his apprehension as it is almost impossible to find evidence that is admissible in a Court of Law, and one cannot rely on the mere words of he said she said, due to divided loyalties of the staff in question.
My concern is that there MAY not be a resolution on the grounds that I suggested, in my two previous blog posts, to stop any further criticisms of inaction, by fining possibly based on the Auditor General’s assumption of the loss of Rs1.6B. Though I do not agree with how he has come up with the calculation, the fact that he is independent and has his reasons for coming up with that figure, then let the CBSL fine Perpetual Treasuries that amount as being a loss incurred by the CBSL, and finally put an end to the saga, and move on from this point.
Of course the Entrust fiasco was far more serious and has NOT entered into the discussion in sufficient detail, as there has been a huge fraud on the CEB EPF funds that has to be made good, and these criminal acts if swept under the carpet will prove that this Bond Scam is a politically motivated witch hunt. The Governor therefore MUST balance all these conflicting agendas, and would be heartened to have heard that the President has requested that the AG take on the case and investigate independently to come to a conclusion on if and when and whom to prosecute based on the available and implied wrongdoings of the people concerned.
This takes him off the hook of recommending that the Former Governor be prosecuted, as that determination has been taken out of his hands today, by the new development.
It is time the CBSL and the Government decide how the MB needs to be reconstituted so that people of ability, and NOT age manage the CBSL.
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Has it NOT occurred to an intelligent person in Sri Lanka, to conclude that the Monetary Board that collectively guides the workings of the Central Bank, and oversees it and manages it, SHOULD be the first body to have reviewed the Bond Scandal and opined on it way back within days of this coming to light?
This should have been done in March of 2015, and granted the Governor is the Chairman of the Monetary Board, and if he was under suspicion then he should have recused himself from the proceedings and investigation thereon.
Unfortunately the other members are not up to the task, and therein lies the problem of quality of people. The next most knowledgeable is the Secretary to the Treasury to lead the investigation and that is Dr RHS Samarathunga, and his bio can be viewed here http://www.treasury.gov.lk/secretary-to-the-treasury-and-ministry-of-finance but which does not give confidence as he is just there due to his position as an ex-officio, and NOT due to any other competence on the matter.
Reading today’s FT on the Indemnity Provided to the Monetary Board for their mistakes, as long as it is NOT criminal intent, should have emboldened them to get to the bottom of the issue and NOT drag this Country through a traumatic 20 months of what if! http://www.ft.lk/article/577475/COPE-Report-and-indemnity-provided-in-Monetary-Law-Act-for-members-of-Monetary-Board-and-CB-officers
It is NOT too late as they are to meet on Friday, and without fearing their own safety they can opine on the fact for a change. After all it is said that the onsite examination report will also be presented, and if the Monetary Board which NOW comprises a person no one has an issue in believing his word, should come out and say that the examination report is CLEAN. There is NOT one iota on which the Central Bank can find fault with the actions of Perpetual Treasuries.
It is so obvious, why it has to come to that is that the MB did not opine on this 20 months ago, and should have in the first place set the record straight then, rather than hiding under their own incompetence.
I am ashamed to say that we have a MB of people who should NOT be there, and so they are NOT going to come out with a statement that makes any sense, unless of course they permit the Governor to speak on their behalf to say his piece as being the consensus opinions of all.
If only one person is competent and he is the Governor then there is NO point in a MB that understands nothing being constituted in the first place. It is time this Board is properly constituted before people can have credibility that the CBSL will in future be managed competently. There must be people who can challenge the Governor and NOT alow him to ride roughshod over them.
So this meeting on Friday is a meaningless one, as the outcome cannot be relied upon as it will merely reflect the competence of the Board and not the considered evaluation of learned individuals.
“independent professionals want the PM to step down temporarily”
Shamindra Ferdinando, writing in the Island continues to spout so much rubbish as to make these allegations and the credibility of the people making them sound simply outside of having a brain let alone any common sense. I know they are seeking attention by playing to the gallery, but some responsibility must follow.
Asking the PM to step aside, is tantamount to not only a constitutional crisis, but also a deleterious future for Sri Lanka. They are under the mistaken belief that it is reflective of good governance, when it is anything but. Good Governance CANNOT be at the price of NO FUNCTIONING GOVT. which appears to be what these asinine individuals want to see in Sri Lanka. In short utter CHAOS.
A former rear admiral to boot suggesting treachery against the Country should choose his words carefully, as he is advocating anarchy, and if he does so willingly GO STRAIT TO JAIL AND DON’T STOP AT GO OR AT COURT!
It is these sorts of imbeciles that we tolerate as Civil Society when we need intelligent, guarded and responsible people to take the cudgels of Civil Society to protect the people from themselves, let alone a Govt. gone haywire.
We must focus on the proportionality of the alleged crime and NOT get carried away with figures that are out of proportion from reality. When all profits of Perpetual Treasuries are assumed to be fraudulent, then there is a clear attempt at belittling competence and good management of the funds on behalf of shareholders. This a direct hit at the YOUTH! They know better than the OLD!
If we go to the heart of the Bond Scandal, if the particular transaction is unraveled, and profit earned on that quantified, then that is fair. Remember, those initially purchased bonds would have been sold in the secondary market and the profits arising could be quantified, let the allegation rest at that and NOT every penny the Company has earned since.
Referring finally to the headline of “independent professionals want the PM to step down temporarily” may I remind the reader that they are NOT independent nor are they professional and it is time writers like Ferdinando finally have their comeuppance! A newspaper permitting this must also have lost their way.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
If anyone has read my blog in its entirety you will know that it is upholding the law of the land that is paramount, in everything I recommend and write. Most of my detractors of my opinionated statements do so as they talk out of emotion, or from what they have read, or have been INFLUENCED by people who they believe are experts.
I have debunked these so called experts as Charlatans most of the time, as they have an agenda to which they work, and that has nothing to do with upholding the rule of law, though they may imply such a stance to the uninitiated. My previous post on the subject is one classic example of bull shit from experts.
This whole BOND SCANDAL has been grossly mismanaged by the Govt. to their cost, and accordingly, the Govt. has lost goodwill, especially from people who voted for them, who have turned due to this ONE event. Most of the people have NO clue as to what occurred, but having been plugged into 20 months of misinformation, you cannot expect much from intellectually challenged public, who have to believe what the Media feed them, even if that is a pack of lies.
The spectators of this scene in Government, and I mean the highest echelons of Govt. and their advisers, have shown their true colors, namely unqualified even to manage their household. They have let matters come to this stage, unable to foresee the extent this FRANKENSTEIN’s MONSTER of their own creation, which has taken a life of its own, resulting in this state of utter HYSTERIA.
If at that stage, the PM had the humility to accept that though he did nothing wrong, it does seem that he did! I hope he understands that at least. So if it seems that he did err, what would be the best course of action?
It would be “accept blame that in an environment of say a 9% interest rate in the Commercial Market, the issuance at 12% was unusual, and if only to prevent the element of collusion of an untoward transaction, the CBSL SHOULD have immediately, looked at how much those particular bonds were sold in the secondary market, and issued a penalty amounting to the value of the profit on the FIRST transaction of these bond sales.” IMMEDIATELY all allegations of misappropriation of state funds could then be nipped in the bud. I REITERATE THAT IT IS NOT TOO LATE to issue this penalty NOW and clear the air with regards to this transaction and the one a year later, once and for all.
Having explained this simple way out of the mess to save the Govt. any more embarrassment, do they have anyone with a modicum of commons sense to understand and act on it? I am afraid not.
As a result of this stubbornness we will have the AG investigate this, and make a recommendation that they have NOT been able to prove that collusion took place, as they have NOT been able to show any financial enrichment by TWO parties to collusion, and ONLY in one party, that is NOT sufficient for such an assumption.
Then this will create a furor from ANTI GOVT groups, including Civil Society that gives a lot of moral high ground to the detractors, and the issue will CONTINUE TO FESTER.
Is my latter prediction, the preferred alternative of this Govt. the price for stubbornness?
I MUST NOT BE, and so I plead with anyone who has any brains in this Govt. to take cognizance of my proposal and immediately request that the CBSL, issue a letter of demand for lost interest, based on the calculation proposed by me, on Perpetual Treasuries, and have done with it. They can then continue to do their business, as they are the Primary Dealer with the best dealing room, and should be an asset to the Country to pave the way for other enterprising entrepreneurs to enter the field of Primary Dealing, to give them a fight in competitive bidding.
It is now proved that State Institutions are too incompetent in doing this job, due to the lack of motivation on the part of their management, and it is therefore WRONG of the COPE report to give priority to STATE actors in allocating Bonds. The reasons are pretty obvious, as they are second class in their performance, due to the public sector mentality that rewards incompetence and punishes competence.
If Sri Lanka is to move forward with a dynamic workforce, dynamic youth MUST be incentivized, rewarded, promoted and permitted to excel, instead of the current practice of clipping their wings at EVERY stage. The present result is a MASS migration of the best of Sri Lanka, as soon as they have received their education to go to lands that appreciate their competence and ability.
It is time our 225 fossils in Parliament simply leave and let new BLOOD in to give some much needed blood transfusion into the “Body Politic” so that practical solutions to everyday problems are found, and we move on, rather than get stuck for 20 months on a Bond Scandal that appears to have another 20 months of life left to resolve!