by Sarath Amunugama
Sri Lanka had not seen a leader of the calibre of JRJ. In public, he appeared to be aloof with “ice running in his veins”. But among his friends he was a hospitable and friendly person who invariably ended a conversation with a sophisticated joke. In public he was austere in a dress of his own design. At home he wore long trousers with a fashionable bush shirt. As a young minister representing his country abroad he had always dressed elegantly in Saville Row clothes. In public he was not easily accessible. But anyone visiting him at home was treated with great courtesy.
Once he told me how he dealt with wedding invitations which are the bane of politicians. Anyone who personally met him and invited him would get a cheque as a wedding gift. Anyone who sent him a mailed invitation would get a congratulatory letter. At home with his wife and grandchildren and the family dog he was relaxed and enjoyed a joke often at his expense from his near and dear.n public he invariably wore an immaculate white `national with his wife and grandchildren and the family dog he was relaxed and enjoyed a joke often at his expense, from his near and dear. He had what the French called with admiration ‘sang froid’, which means ‘cold blood’.
Nothing in the early days would faze him. When in Pasyala he was garlanded with cadjunuts, JRJ happily started eating his garland while the audience of cadjunut sellers cheered. Once when on the comeback trail his enemies garlanded him with flowers which had red ants hidden among them. JRJ endured all the ant bites without flinching till the meeting was over. He then had the bright guy who introduced the red ants thrashed. In Nawalapitiya, when he was heckled by an onlooker, who had been set up by an opponent, he told Chandra Karunaratne his electorate organizer, that unless he got rid of the nuisance in two minutes, he will appoint another organizer for Nawalapitiya in five minutes. The heckler disappeared.
In the celebrated attack on him and Anandatissa de Alwis when they were on a protest march to Kandy, JRJ had spies in Mrs. B’s camp who told him about her plans to stop him from coming to Attanagalla (The infamous Attanagalla Doctrine). He arrived incognito to a house in Attanagalla the night before and calmly held a puja in the Maha Vihara the following morning and called off the March, after getting maximum local and international publicity organized by media genius Ananda.
In the meanwhile ‘storm troopers’ from Kandy led by Anuruddha Ratwatte and Clarence Delwala had cut down trees to block the road and attack the ‘Satyagrahis’. They waited in vain because JRJ had called off the march and with his men were back in Colombo. He had achieved his objective of getting maximum publicity when the Non–aligned movement was thinking of holding its next sessions in Colombo.
JRJ was a media savvy president. Being a well read and well-informed person he knew that media would play an important role in the success of his administration. His mother’s family, the Wijewardenes, were the media Moguls of the country. As a first step he wanted to put his personal loyalists or henchmen as the bosses of the main media outlets. As Chairman of Lake House he appointed his former private secretary, the amiable Ranapala Bodinagoda, a low key operator and fanatical JRJ loyalist.
He was a personal acolyte of the President and Mrs. Jayewardene and would attend to their small tasks which were confidential and needed instant attention. He was a habitue of Braemar and would keep his boss informed of political, social, and especially personal gossip, that he picked up at embassy parties. If you fed Bodi with gossip, you could be sure that it would reach JRJ within 24 hours. It was well known that he was the conduit for JRJ’s views which would find articulation in the Lake House papers on a daily basis.
Having got his boss’s ideas printed Bodi would rush to Braemar every morning with the early editions of his papers for his approval. The rumour among the Colombo glitterati was that JRJ could not begin his morning ablutions without glancing at the Lake House papers brought to him at the crack of dawn by Bodinagoda.
When the Times group became insolvent and was acquired by Government, JRJ appointed another of his henchmen-Paul Perera who too would convey JRJ’s wishes to his journalists but in a harsher tone. When Paul was nominated to Parliament, he was succeeded by another henchman Nalliah who was a kind hearted but ineffectual gentleman. The binding thread was that the wives of Bodingoda, Paul Perera and Nalliah were all members of the inner circle of Madam Jayewardene’s friends who were constantly seated in the veranda of Braemar supplementing the gossip that was liberally passed on to Godfather JRJ.
Consequently he was in the know of everything that happened in the social, business and administrative circles in the country. Bodi was at his best recycling Embassy gossip as he and his wife attended every embassy party and were highly regarded by the diplomats who knew of his connections and wanted a quick introduction to the President.
JRJ then extended his connections to radio. During the transition he, at Menikdiwela’s urging, appointed a well-regarded civil servant and my friend from Peradeniya days, Dharmasiri Pieris, as the Chairman and CEO of the State Broadcasting Corporation. He managed to bring some order to the SLBC in a short time.
Ridgeway Tillakaratne’s departure had been followed by a period of indiscipline which became a hallmark of the transition of management in State corporations. But the newly appointed Minister of Trade and Shipping, Lalith Athulathmudali wanted Dharmasiri as his Permanent Secretary. Perhaps Dharmasiri himself preferred the less stressful assignment which showed the sagacity of the new minister who went on to be a star in the new cabinet.
When the name of Neville Jayaweera was suggested by me as Dharmasiri’s replacement at SLBC, JRJ shot down the idea on the somewhat curious grounds that Jayaweera ‘was too old’. The real reason may be that Jayaweera went around accusing JRJ of being involved in the military coup of 1962. Later it appeared that he had rushed to judgment. After interviewing Sir John Kotelawala in England on this incident Jayaweera recanted and wrote to the papers that it was Dudley who was culpable and not JRJ.
By then it was too late. No wonder then that JRJ was not enamored of his former protege who had crossed over to the Dudley camp as the Chairman SLBC in 1968. JR had a long memory of insults directed at him. As he said to Rajiv Gandhi he “can forgive but cannot forget”. For the post of Chairman of SLBC he insisted on the appointment of Eamon Kariyakarawana who was his lifelong henchman. While Lake House journalists were divided in their loyalties during the Dudley-JRJ dispute, Eamon led the JRJ faction. He was a committed UNPer, who was as the saying goes, ‘an eating, drinking man’ and a popular colleague who ranked among the best-known Lake House journalists. His brother DF, was a perennial President of the Press Association. This position gave DF much power especially in arranging freebies, including foreign trips for journalists, which were coveted by all and sundry.
Before long Eamon had charmed the distinguished Board of the Corporation which included M.J. Perera, D. Rajendra and Jezeema Ismail. He and his chief advisor Thevis Guruge maintained good relations with both JRJ and Prime Minister Premadasa. As a result we had no problems with the political authorities – a situation which was quite unusual regarding the media.
I had the closest of rapport with my Minister, Wijetunga, who was content to let me handle the affairs of the ministry as long as he did not have any issues with the President and the PM. He was not in the least insistent regarding perks such as staff, vehicles and foreign trips. In fact he abhorred foreign travel and preferred to send his deputy Chandra Karunaratne or me on those assignments. Media personnel loved him because he was accessible and ever ready to confer benefits on them.
The only privately owned newspapers at that time were of the Davasa group owned by the Gunasena family. The Managing Director of this group was our old friend from Kandy, WJ Fernando. WJ, Wijetunga and I had worked very closely during the Dudley regime. This proved to be a bonus because the Davasa group looked on our ministry as a friendly and helpful organization.
This relationship was best seen in the episode of the print supply for the Davasa newspaper. One day WJ called me in a panic saying that their shipment of newsprint was getting delayed and there was the real possibility of a shutdown. It would be a slur on the newly formed government which came to power on the slogan of freedom of the press. I immediately called my Minister and asked for his approval to mediate in this matter.
He was more than happy to oblige since WJ himself had asked for help. My solution was to ask Bodinagoda of Lake House to advance an emergency stock of their newsprint to the Davasa group till such time as they would get their own stocks and return the amount of newsprint borrowed. Though this appeared to be a horrific solution to some Lake House journalists who would have loved to see their rivals shortchanged, Chairman Bodi was willing and the transfer was made.
The Davasa and Sun newspapers in their editorials of the following day publicly praised the Minister and me saying they were publishing the .newspaper only because of our cooperation. There was an interesting sequel to these editorials. As soon as they were published, Minister Premadasa telephoned me in the early hours to thank me for my initiative. But the sting was in the tail. As an old friend he asked me to include him also as a contributor to good relations with the newspapers so that any future editorial would refer to his assistance as well.
Needless to say 1 was impressed by his dedication and attention to detail which was a hallmark of his ascent to power. The new regime also brought Esmond Wickremesinghe back to the media scene in a big way. There was early speculation that he would come to Parliament and assume the post of Foreign Minister. But JRJ had a different view. He brought in Esmond’s son Ranil to Parliament and made him the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs under ACS Hameed who had taken his side during the Dudley–JRJ conflict in the party.
He wanted to be his own Foreign Minister relegating Hameed to activities dealing with the non-aligned movement and the Middle East. He thought correctly that the Middle East provided many opportunities and a Muslim minister would be an asset in counterbalancing of Indian interests. Since he himself had been a special envoy to the San Francisco conference in 1951 where he had won his spurs, JRJ also introduced the practice of adding roving Ambassadors and Special envoys to his foreign policy establishment. Leading these envoys were his brother Harry Jayewardene and Esmond Wickremesinghe.
On occasion he would also use Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali much to the chagrin of Hameed. However Hameed was much too cunning to enter into a turf battle with these heavyweights. He managed to secure his position by proposing that Harry Jayewardene be promoted as a candidate for the International Court of Justice. This naturally elated the Jayewardene brothers and Hameed was permitted to undertake more trips abroad which he enjoyed enormously, under the guise of canvassing for Harry. In order to strengthen his credibility with JRJ he managed to get Harry in to a high level UN fact finding committee on Iran which received much publicity in the local media.
The other high profile envoy who got Hameed’s goat was Esmond Wickremesinghe who had regular meetings with the President and advised him on international affairs, especially relations with India. Soon India became a ‘no go’ area for Hameed because Esmond had set up a back channel with Indira Gandhi through his friend Ralph Buultjens who was a Professor of Political Science in New York. Indira Gandhi had requested, through Esmond, that Hameed be kept out of India as her Customs officials had briefed her that our Foreign minister was bringing gems into their country. All this meddling and trickery led to confusion in our Foreign Ministry which contributed to the bad relations with the Gandhi regime which had catastrophic consequences for Sri Lanka leading to a thirty year ethnic conflict in the island.
(Next week The JRJ Persona)
(Excerpted from the recently published Volume 2 of Sarath Amunugama’s autobiography)
Italy: The Hard Right nears power
By Gwynne Dyer
There’s an election in Italy next Sunday, almost exactly 100 years after Benito Mussolini’s ‘blackshirts’ marched on Rome and brought the first fascist dictator to power.Giorgia Meloni, the hard-right populist politician who is likely to win that election, rejects any comparison with that ugly past. The party she leads, Brothers of Italy, has some ‘nostalgic’ neo-fascists in its ranks, but she prefers to compare it to Britain’s post-Brexit Conservative Party or the US Republican Party as rebranded by Donald Trump.
She shares her hostility to the European Union with Britain’s Conservatives, her hatred of immigrants, gays and Muslims with the US Republicans, and her truculent nationalism with both those parties. She is also militantly Christian, and she dabbles in ‘Great Replacement’ paranoia. And just like them, she wages a non-stop culture war.
“There is no middle ground possible,” Meloni told a rally last June. “Today, the secular left and radical Islam are menacing our roots…Either say yes, or say no. Yes to the natural family, no to the LGBT lobbies. Yes to the universality of the Cross, no to Islamist violence. Yes to secure borders, no to mass immigration.”
The brutal simplicity of these slogans works just as well with lower-income, poorly educated Italians as it does with the same sort of people in ‘heartland’ America or ‘red wall’ Britain. The goal is to distract them from the fact that their populist heroes really govern in favour of the rich (which explains why those leaders must be shameless liars).
Giorgia Meloni lies, too, but when you compare her to populist peers like Viktor Orbán in Hungary, Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, and Donald Trump in the United States, she actually doesn’t seem that bad.
Like them, she has no permanent political principles, just a bundle of cynical techniques for attracting distressed and desperate voters. But she needed to shift towards the centre ground to build her Brothers of Italy party up from 4% of the vote in the 2018 election to a predicted 25% this time – so that’s what she did.
She now claims to support both the European Union and the NATO alliance. Even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she avoided the pro-Putin stance that was common on the radical right in both Europe and the United States. With the fragile Italian economy teetering on the brink of recession, she is promising good behaviour to Brussels.
So not a complete disaster, then. Continued access to the EU’s Covid recovery fund, which has promised Italy 191 billion euros over the next six years, should keep Meloni from straying too far from orthodox economics. If the EU withholds those funds, her prospects of remaining in power would be slim.
Brothers of Italy will probably be the largest Italian party after this election, but with only 25-30% of the vote she will not be able to govern alone. The problem is that the two parties she will need to make a coalition with, Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia! (Go Italy!) and Matteo Salvini’s Lega (The League), are direct rivals of her own party.
Berlusconi at 85 is still a big political player thanks to his huge media empire. Salvini is willing to bring any coalition down if it improves his chances of being prime minister in a different one. Both men will be trying to claw back the popular support that Meloni’s Brothers of Italy has stolen from them, so there will be tears before bedtime.
In normal times, their chosen tactic would be to undermine Meloni’s party by pushing for harsher policies on immigration and bigger conflicts with the EU. With the Russian energy blockade promising a hard time for Europe economically this winter, however, the obvious strategy for far-right parties is to advocate a softer line on Putin’s war in Ukraine.
Both men have been Putin fanboys in the past. Berlusconi sees the Russian dictator as a personal friend, and Salvini called him “the best statesman on Earth” three years ago. Now Salvini soft-pedals his admiration for Putin, but he demands an end to the sanctions against Russia because they are allegedly hurting Italy more than Russia.
Meloni can’t afford to play that game, and the expected post-election coalition of far-right parties is unlikely to last very long. She has sufficiently detoxified herself that she could lead a coalition with other parties instead, and that may well happen.Post-fascist parties in power in Italy are still bad news, but the damage to the European Union and the NATO alliance can probably be contained.
Why do we go to the IMF?
By Shahid Mehmood
THE resumption of the IMF package, that was badly needed to avert an external payments crisis, has reignited passions. As most countrymen wrestle with the question of whether or not the Fund is a tool of neocolonialism to keep countries like Pakistan sedated and subservient, what is lost in the debate is why we always wind up at its door. Let’s take a peek.
Energy is the relevant sector to get this conversation going as it constitutes the largest portion of our import bill. Economic growth and economic mobility depend on energy, whose demand rises as economies expand (along with other factors like population growth). A large portion of Pakistan’s entire energy edifice is dependent on imported fuels, given our meagre internal energy sources.
Aside from raw material, the machines and equipment underpinning our power production are also imported — from turbines at hydel power plants to equipment at LNG, coal and furnace oil plants. So, not only are we importing raw materials, we are also importing services to sustain them over the long term. All these have to be paid for in dollars.
Read: Wanted — a non-partisan economic plan
Here, let me address a misconception, that ‘indigenous’ sources of power will take care of the matter. Think again. These can’t be utilised without outside help. Decades after the construction of the Mangla and Tarbela dams, we still need foreign experts to solve critical issues related to them. Consider the Neelum-Jhelum run-of-the-river hydel power project, which has extracted gazillions from Pakistanis under the label of ‘surcharge’. Meant to utilise an ‘indigenous’ source of energy, hardly a year later it is down due to a ‘fault’ that required the services of foreign experts because our own ‘experts’ could not identify it. (It meant inflicting losses in the billions on consumers due to power production from expensive, imported fuel).
We are importing not only raw materials, but also the services to sustain them over the long term.The case of other indigenous sources is somewhat similar: we cannot build nuclear power plants without foreign help; we had to hire foreign experts to determine whether our coal plants could use Thar’s indigenous coal, etc.
This is not a revelation: there has been recognition for long that Pakistan creates problems for itself that, in turn, generate a demand for dollars, which we are usually short of. The Economic Survey of 1980-81, for example, recognised that long-gestation projects under the public investment garb was the main reason for saddling Pakistan with an external debt of $9bn. Yet, PSDPs refuse to budge! It’s still about grand projects like roads that incentivise an increase in vehicular traffic, in turn creating more demand for dollar imports, as the main components of the products of our highly protected car manufacturers are imported.
Let’s move to the role of public regulations. A few of endless examples will suffice. We have this infinite fascination with horizontal sprawls, complemented by ‘housing societies’ in the public and private sector. Aside from cities becoming administratively difficult to govern, a result of these endless sprawls is the need for more vehicles, leading to greater demand for energy products such as oil and diesel. There has, arguably, never been an estimate of the increase in energy imports that accrued to the country due to this endless expansion. But if ever such an exercise is carried out, the results will make other import-related issues — like IPPs — look puny.
These endless sprawls have resulted in millions of acres of fertile agricultural land being gobbled up over time. Given that more than 100 agricultural ‘research’ institutes are producing little or nothing in terms of higher land and crop productivity, complemented by a rapidly expanding population, there is little choice but to import food staples to meet our food requirements — so much for being an ‘agricultural country’.
Another good example: the illogical fascination with uniform pricing. In terms of the ultimately imported energy products, it leads to waste. Pakistan’s fast-depleting natural gas reserves are an apt illustration of this phenomenon. First, it was Balochistan, and now it is Sindh whose natural gas reserves are dwindling fast. There has, historically speaking, always been an incentive to consume it inefficiently because they have been under-priced, primarily due to uniform prices that are way below the market prices. Had the pricing been market-based from the start, there might not have arisen the need for importing expensive LNG or coal, which severely taxes our dollar earnings.
Moving away from big-ticket items, even the micro level does not inspire much confidence. Consider the common office chair. Some time back, they were in short supply, carrying a premium. That’s because they are merely ‘assembled’ here from imported parts. Most other products fare little better.
To summarise, Pakistan’s economic edifice is built in a manner that, unless we import, our economic activity will come to a standstill. And as GDP inches up, we end up importing more — to the extent that our dollar earnings will never be enough to pay for our imports. So whether it’s the IMF or anyone else, Pakistan will sooner or later knock at their door for dollars.
How to change all this? Before someone presents ‘import substitution’ as the Holy Grail, God save us from that predicament. Our earlier experiments only ended up producing rent-seeking seths and the likes of the car industry that sells low-quality tin for millions — the promised ‘localisation’ never happened. For a start, enough of brick-and-mortar ‘plans’ that create more liabilities than assets, besides raising pampered generations of subsidy-sucking businessmen under the banner of ‘infant industry’ and ‘qaumi mufaad’ (national interest). Neither do we need NOCs or hundreds of regulatory agencies to scare away foreign and domestic investors.
The way out of our dollar cash-flow troubles lies in greater global integration and trade, promoting competition and developing our human capital base. For a change, take the government out of business and let Schumpeterian creative destruction prevail on a level playing field. (The Dawn/ANN)
The writer is an economist and research fellow at PIDE.
National Day of Saudi Arabia – 23rd September 2022
Crown Prince Message- Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud
It is my pleasure to present Saudi Arabia’s Vision for the future. It is an ambitious yet achievable blueprint, which expresses our long-term goals and expectations and reflects our country’s strengths and capabilities. All success stories start with a vision, and successful visions are based on strong pillars.The first pillar of our vision is our status as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds. We recognise that Allah the Almighty has bestowed on our lands a gift more precious than oil. Our Kingdom is the Land of the Two Holy Mosques, the most sacred sites on earth, and the direction of the Kaaba (Qibla) to which more than a billion Muslims turn at prayer.
The second pillar of our vision is our determination to become a global investment powerhouse. Our nation holds strong investment capabilities, which we will harness to stimulate our economy and diversify our revenues.The third pillar is transforming our unique strategic location into a global hub connecting three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa. Our geographic position between key global waterways, makes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia an epicenter of trade and the gateway to the world.
Our country is rich in its natural resources. We are not dependent solely on oil for our energy needs. Gold, phosphate, uranium, and many other valuable minerals are found beneath our lands. But our real wealth lies in the ambition of our people and the potential of our younger generation. They are our nation’s pride and the architects of our future. We will never forget how, under tougher circumstances than today, our nation was forged by collective determination when the late King Abdulaziz Al-Saud – may Allah bless his soul – united the Kingdom. Our people will amaze the world again.
We are confident about the Kingdom’s future. With all the blessings Allah has bestowed on our nation, we cannot help but be optimistic about the decades ahead. We ponder what lies over the horizon rather than worrying about what could be lost.
The future of the Kingdom, my dear brothers and sisters, is one of huge promise and great potential, God willing. Our precious country deserves the best. Therefore, we will expand and further develop our talents and capacity. We will do our utmost to ensure that Muslims from around the world can visit the Holy Sites.
We are determined to reinforce and diversify the capabilities of our economy, turning our key strengths into enabling tools for a fully diversified future. As such, we will transform Aramco from an oil producing company into a global industrial conglomerate. We will transform the Public Investment Fund into the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund. We will encourage our major corporations to expand across borders and take their rightful place in global markets. As we continue to give our army the best possible machinery and equipment, we plan to manufacture half of our military needs within the Kingdom to create more job opportunities for citizens and keep more resources in our country.
We will expand the variety of digital services to reduce delays and cut tedious bureaucracy. We will immediately adopt wide-ranging transparency and accountability reforms and, through the body set up to measure the performance of government agencies, hold them accountable for any shortcomings. We will be transparent and open about our failures as well as our successes, and will welcome ideas on how to improve.
All this comes from the directive of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, may Allah protect him, who ordered us to plan for a future that fulfills your ambitions and your aspirations.In line with his instructions, we will work tirelessly from today to build a better tomorrow for you, your children, and your children’s children.
Our ambition is for the long term. It goes beyond replenishing sources of income that have weakened or preserving what we have already achieved. We are determined to build a thriving country in which all citizens can fulfill their dreams, hopes and ambitions. Therefore, we will not rest until our nation is a leader in providing opportunities for all through education and training, and high quality services such as employment initiatives, health, housing, and entertainment.
We commit ourselves to providing world class government services which effectively and efficiently meet the needs of our citizens. Together we will continue building a better country, fulfilling our dream of prosperity and unlocking the talent, potential, and dedication of our young men and women. We will not allow our country ever to be at the mercy of a commodity price volatility or external markets.
We have all the means to achieve our dreams and ambitions. There are no excuses for us to stand still or move backwards.Our Vision is a strong, thriving, and stable Saudi Arabia that provides opportunity for all. Our Vision is a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method. We will welcome qualified individuals from all over the world and will respect those who have come to join our journey and our success.
We intend to provide better opportunities for partnerships with the private sector through the three pillars: our position as the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, our leading investment capabilities, and our strategic geographical position. We will improve the business environment, so that our economy grows and flourishes, driving healthier employment opportunities for citizens and long-term prosperity for all. This promise is built on cooperation and on mutual responsibility.
This is our “Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030.” We will begin immediately delivering the overarching plans and programmes we have set out. Together, with the help of Allah, we can strengthen the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s position as a great nation about which we should all feel an immense pride.
His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs.
History & Heritage
Saudi Arabia has long occupied an important role at the center of the Islamic and Arab worlds. Located at the heart of three continents, the Kingdom has served as an important ancient trade route and a vital link connecting East and West.
It also has a unique heritage landscape that has developed over the centuries, including 6 UNESCO World Heritage sites.
People & Culture
Saudi Arabia has a rich culture shaped by the diversity of its people, which has formed the basis of its cultural identity. The Kingdom has 13 regions across which 34 million people live who are united by the Arabic language, but each region has a unique dialect, traditions, heritage, and culinary identity.
The Kingdom has four official yearly celebrations; two Islamic celebrations, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, Founding Day (February 22) and Saudi National Day (September 23).
The people of Saudi Arabia embrace many social values influenced by their Islamic values which preserve the Kingdom’s ancient customs and traditions, including generosity, courage, hospitality, and maintaining strong family relationships.
Economy & Business
Saudi Arabia has implemented structural economic and financial reforms since the launch of Vision 2030, which established a new economic system that prompts the creation of a diversified and robust economy that achieves sustainable growth for the Kingdom.
Investing in previously untapped sectors has supported the Kingdom’s economic diversification efforts and led to an improved business environment. Thus, strengthening the role of the private sector in the economy and creating the necessary environment for sustainable growth.
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