Shut down Mihin Air, losses exceed Rs.13 billion-Harsha

* Right to Information Act required to ascertain govt’s growth rate claims


by Zacki Jabbar

Mihin Air, which had suffered total losses of Rs.13 billion between 2007 and 2010, should be closed down immediately without burdening the treasury and masses any further, UNP MP Harsha de Silva said yesterday.

He told a news conference in Colombo that among the many white elephants was Mihin Air, which served no purpose since the country already had a national airline and it was also in a severe financial mess.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime’s "Unintelligent Egocentric Economic Management" has crash landed and experts such as Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, who had claimed that the Sri Lankan economy was galloping faster than China’s, were now looking for lame excuses, De Silva observed.

"We were called names for saying that it was not possible to keep interest rates low and the rupee over valued. It has taken far too long for the mandarins to understand proper economic management", he said adding that the government was still asking the people to tighten their belts nearly three years after the war was over.

De Silva, said that the Rajapaksa regime which couldn’t bring down the cost of living, had embarked on constructing the tallest tower (Nelum Kuluna) in Asia, when it should be saving every possible cent to provide the masses with urgent relief.

Asked about the government’s claim of an 8 to 9 percent GDP growth rate, he said that such statistics were irrelevant, since the vast majority of people still remained below the poverty line.

Questioned if he accepted the Central Bank’s statistics on the growth rate, De Silva said that there was no way of verifying due to the absence of a Right to Information Act.

The UNP had been campaigning for the establishment of a Right to Information Act for a long time and unless it is done there was no way of independently verifying the various statistics that were being floated, he observed.

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