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Mangala says govt. has failed, calls for unity

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Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday said that the country’s national income had declined by about LKR 600 billion, the lowest revenue recorded in the last seven decades, was recorded in 2020.

Addressing the media at the Freedom Hub in Colombo yesterday to launch a new organisation called ‘True Patriots’, the ex-Finance Minister said that the largest budget deficit since 1988 had been recorded in 2020.

“Last year, the Central Bank had to print the largest amount of money in a single year to cover the growing budget deficit. In addition, the amount of new loans obtained by the government for the year 2020 alone has increased by another Lankan Rs 2 trillion,” he said.

“We welcome you today to the first ever media conference hosted by the ‘True Patriots’ at the Freedom Hub.

“We decided to hold this inaugural media discussion on the occasion of the 38th anniversary of the Black July pogrom, considered to be the darkest days in Sri Lanka’s history. Black July is yet another turning point that led to the catastrophe we are facing as a country today.

“When we gained Independence in 1948, we were considered one of the most developed countries in Asia. Lee Kuan Yew, the founder of modern Singapore, described Sri Lanka as a model country in the Commonwealth.

“But, as many countries in the world today, including those that were considered poorer than Sri Lanka back then, are moving towards an era of Bitcoin- Block Chain-NFT-Artificial intelligence, we have fallen into bankruptcy.

“We are becoming a failed state isolated from the world.

“Before July 27, we must repay a billion dollars for a loan taken in 2011. In addition, around USD 1.3 billion in Sri Lankan Development Bonds will have to be paid in December this year.

“When I took over as Finance Minister in 2019, the foreign exchange reserves in the Treasury, which stood at USD 7.6 billion, after July 27 will fall to a record low of USD 1.6 billion, the lowest level in the country’s history.

“Our national income has declined by about LKR 600 billion, the lowest revenue recorded in the last seven decades was recorded in 2020.

“Last year, the Sri Lanka Central Bank had to print the largest amount of money printed in a single year to cover the growing budget deficit. In addition, the amount of new loans obtained by the government for the year 2020 alone has increased by another LKR 2 trillion.

“Because of this, in this situation, there is a severe shortage of fertiliser in the country. Also, there is a serious shortage of imported medicines. With about USD 1.2 billion in fuel costs still due, a fuel shortage is likely to occur very soon. Through all this the hunger of the common people is increasing day by day.

“We must all acknowledge that our country has fallen into this state today because of decades of politics through the sale of so called patriotism, the voters who were continuously deceived by these so called patriots and an Opposition that interfered with the government’s attempts to do what is right in the name of patriotism.

“In fact, everyone else involved in governance, including myself, is to some extent responsible for the current situation.

“The hypocritical mentality of the majority created in the name of the Five Great Forces in 1956 and its cunning culmination in the last election are primarily responsible for this devastation.

“Today, it is said everywhere that ‘Sir has failed’. But it is not President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has really failed today. It is the religious, majoritarian and outdated socialist ideologies he represents that have failed.

“Today, it is the government that promised a solitary Sinhala government that has failed.

“Who has failed today is the present Opposition which has gone beyond ‘Sir’ in proposing an ideology containing racism and majoritarianism as a solution.

“What has failed today is the socialist mentality based on religiosity and narrow racism that has fascinated the voters of this country since 1956.

“What the country needs today is an alternative, not a substitute. If we are to better this country’s future and to lay the foundation for a future where the youth of today can live freely let us now identify exactly what true patriotism is. Let’s start a conversation about that.

“As true patriots let us discuss how to take the country forward economically and politically. Moreover, let’s free ourselves from the frog in the well mentality and plan how to conquer the world for the sake of the children of our country.

“Let us talk not only about the development, security and sovereignty of our country, but also about the appearance of the country that our children will inherit in the future.

“This is the moment to discuss how Sri Lanka can move forward hand in hand with the world without being isolated from it. We must begin this conversation, not tomorrow, not next year, not at the next elections. We must begin this conversation today, right at this moment without avoiding it any further.

“Today, those with different ideologies are attempting to create alliances based solely on anti-Rajapaksa sentiments. However, what is really needed is an alternative based on policies and plans, not a substitute based merely on opposition.

“That option must be a patriotic one, not limited to one race, religion, caste, party, group or family.

“At this critical juncture, our country needs an alternative ideology based on democracy, freedom, brotherhood and unity based on justice and the rule of law. We need an ideology that protects the environment, plants and animals.

“The principle, ‘let all animals be without sorrow, healthy and healed” requires an ideology that is not limited to memorisation but is actually put into action.

“Although we gained Independence in 1948, the failure to lay the foundation for a new independent state was the cause of the catastrophe.

“Every government has tried to build a palace called Sri Lanka on land without a foundation. That is why we have been building only palaces in the sky for 73 years.

“Therefore, let us now move towards a true patriotic ideology based on liberal democracy.

“The Freedom Hub space is active as a center for all those who want to radically advocate the middle path or liberal democracy.

“We invite all true patriots to join us through social media.

“This difficult situation is the moment when we as true patriots must truly stand strong”.

 

 



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Explanation sought over Monetary Board Secy.’s sudden transfer

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Rohini calls for social media campaign against govt. move

By Shamindra Ferdinando

 The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) has sought an explanation from the government over the sudden removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, K.M.A.N. Daulagala on16 Sept.

Matale District lawmaker Rohini Kaviratne yesterday (19) questioned the rationale behind Assistant Governor Daulagala’s removal. The former UNP MP emphasised that Daulagala had played a critically important role in the Central Bank’s response in the wake of Treasury bond scams perpetrated in 2015 and 2016. Therefore, her removal was quite suspicious and might facilitate efforts to suppress those scams as well as future frauds as well.

MP Kaviratne represented the UNP during Ranil Wickremesinghe’s tenure as the Prime Minister (2015-2019).

Declaring that Daulagaha had been at the forefront of the efforts to create a clean administration, Kaviratne stressed that she was second only to Rohini Nanayakkara of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) and earned the respect of all for courageously taking a stand against fraudulent practices.

The SJB spokesperson said that Daulagala, in her capacity as the head of the non-banking sector financial institutions, handled the ETI investigation at the onset (2010-2012) of the probe. In the wake of her recommendations pertaining to the ETI being rejected by the Central Bank, she received a transfer to another section, MP Kaviratne said.

The Monetary Board is responsible for making all policy decisions related to the management, operation and administration of the Central Bank. It comprises Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Finance Secretary S.R. Attygalle, Sanjeeva Jayawardena, PC, Dr (Mrs) Ranee Jaymaha and Samantha Kumarasinghe.

Cabraal, who served as the Governor (2006-2014) recently replaced W.D. Lakshman on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s request.

Kaviratne asked who had benefited from the removal of the Secretary to the Monetary Board?

MP Kaviratne said that Daulagala had been involved in the internal process following the first Treasury bond scam and the subsequent developments, including the coordination between the Central Bank and the Attorney General’s Department pertaining to the Treasury bond scams. Urging women’s organsations, civil society and law abiding citizens to take up Daulagala’s removal through social media, lawmaker Kaviratne said that the issue at hand should receive attention of the parliament.

“The Parliament is responsible for public finance. The Parliament cannot turn a blind eye to what is going on in the Central Bank. The national economy is in such a perilous state every effort should be made to investigate past frauds and thwart future adventures,” the MP said.

MP Kaviratne also recalled the role played by Deepa Seneviratne, Superintendent of Public Debt at the time of the first Treasury bond scam in exposing the then Governor’s culpability. “Unfortunately, we seem to be unable to change the direction regardless of exposure of past misdeeds,” she said.

Declaring that she had no intention of protecting any wrongdoer under any circumstances, MP Kaviratne said that the incumbent government should ensure transparency and accountability in public finance.

Examination of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), COPA (Committee on Public Accounts) and COPF (Committee on Public Finance) proceedings revealed a frightening picture, lawmaker Kaviratne said. Shocking revelations made by the watchdog committee should be examined against the backdrop of overall deterioration of the national economy over the past several years, the MP said.

She said that it would be a grave mistake on the government’s part to blame the current crisis on the raging Covid-19 epidemic. Acknowledging the difficulties caused by the economic downturn, MP Kaviratne said that the country was paying a huge price for unbridled waste, corruption, irregularities and negligence.

The MP asserted that the citizenry could play a bigger role in a political campaign on social media. The vast majority of those who use social media strengthened democratic opposition, she said. Removal of Daulagala could be a rallying point, she said, urging public onslaught on the SLPP government.

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Those responsible for Easter carnage will be haunted eternally – Bishop Galle

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Text and pictures by PRIYAN DE SILVA

The Chief Celebrant of the 114th annual feast of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Matara, Bishop of the Diocese of Galle, Rev. Dr. Raymond Wickremasinghe told a virtual congregation that the conscience of those responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage would never be at peace and it would haunt them eternally.

 The celebrations of the 114th annual Feast of the National shrine of Our Lady of Matara commenced on 05 September with the raising of the flagstaff and ended on Sunday 12 September. This year’s feast was held in keeping with strict health guidelines sans public participation.

 Rev Dr. Wickremasinghe reiterated that it was the wish of the general public, especially all Christians that those who carried out and those masterminded and those who knew but did not prevent the Easter Sunday carnage would be exposed and Justice served. “It is our prayer that the divine father guides the authorities in their endeavours” the Bishop added

 Rev. Wickremesinghe also called upon every person including decision-makers to heed the advice of the experts and act intelligently to overcome the pandemic.

 The Marian procession carrying the miraculous statue of our lady of Matara. accompanied by clergy and security personnel paraded the town, concluding this year’s festivities.

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Wild jumbos destroy houses in search of newly harvested paddy

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BY CYRIL WIMALASURENDRE

KANDY— Herds of wild elephants raid Ududumbara and Minipe area sdestroying houses in search of newly harvested paddy.

Farmers of Minipe, Hasalaka and Udadumbara keep paddy in their houses as they are without proper storage facilities.

Kandy District Secretary Chandana Tennakoon visited the house of a farmer destroyed by elepheants in Kongahaela, Hasalaka.

The victim informed the District Secretary Tennakoon that a herd of elephants including young ones were roaming had attacked his house.

Similar complaints were made to the District Secretary by farmers at Minipe, Hasalaka, Welgala, Ulpathagama and Udunuwara.

The farmers said at least they should be provided with an adequate number of elephant crackers to scare the elephants away. The farmers had to travel about 30 km to the Randenigala Wildlife Office office to receive one cracker each, they said, adding that they needed many more.

District secretary Tennakoon told the farmers that steps would be taken to resolve the issue this year by putting up an elephant  fence around the affected villages of Ududumbara, Medsadumbara, Minipe and Hasalaka sector.

The project would cost about Rs. 100 million. The length of the fence would be about 43 km, he said.

Divisional Secretary of Minipe Nuwan Hemachandra and Deputy Director of Plan Implementation Palitha Rajapakse were present.

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