Towards a prosperous Sri Lanka

27 September 2018 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Sri Lankans can take a cue from the people of Maldives who have shown us that ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do’. Here Mohamed Solih’s celebrate his win at the Maldivian Presidential Elections (Reuters)

The Opposition’s cries that this Government has failed have been reinforced by the rate at which the rupee is depreciating. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa recently claimed that the foreign debt commitment during his regime was rupees 443 billion as compared to rupees 820 billion under the present Yahapalana regime. Despite the value of the rupee depreciating at a shocking rate, the pulse in the political set-up is about former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa being looked upon as the person to put this country on the right path; towards enjoying prosperity.   

 


  • This is the time when the country needs to think deeply about whom to vote for as the next leader
  • These are tough times for Sri Lankans with the rising costs cutting expenditure
  • The problem with the increasing voices of dissent is whether they understand the global trends

It has come to a time when Sri Lankans have started ‘believing’ that this man Gotabaya can turn this island into a Singapore or a Malaysia. The word ‘belief’ has its inadequacies because reasoning might be absent where this words is applicable. This word belief also suggests that the right to think also might not be entertained. Gota boasts of his Viyathmaga organisation, but he has still not spoken of how he is going to settle the country’s foreign debts.   

This is the time when the country needs to think deeply about whom to vote for as the next leader; largely because the younger brains are making a mass exodus from the island. This is why the country is lacking competent young men and women to infuse its political set-up and culture.   

Gota promises development and prosperity during the meetings he has been having with Viyathmaga supporters. It’s in this context that this writer wishes to bring into the picture the ousted Maldivian President Abdullah Yameen.   

Those, who have made a ritual of taking a peep into the financial market’ in this island know that many Asian countries have been affected by this crisis

Yameen was a dictator, a no-nonsense man and can show for his efforts a developed Maldives. There was no question about progress in the Maldives under his period as president. But what was questioned was the way in which he ruled this Muslim nation. For a fact much of the opposition was imprisoned at the time of the recent elections. This man Yameen even imprisoned his half-brother Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. That’s how dictators engage in politics, if the doors are opened to them. And mind you the people of Maldives this time around voted for a man (Mohamed Solih) who values democracy and decency instead of retaining in power a politician who proved his prowess to develop a country.   

Sri Lankans have quickly forgotten why they voted for ‘somebody’ (At that time anybody was ok) instead of Mahinda Rajapaksa. The multireligious and multicultural Sri Lanka wanted to taste democracy after 10 years of being ruled by a clenched fist. 

 

The problem with the increasing voices of dissent is whether they understand the global trends in the financial market (Photo AFP)

 

The believers who believe that the former military man can cure all ills in this country must also note the global developments that have contributed to the depreciating of the Sri Lankan rupee. Former President Rajapaksa has said enough about the falling rupee, but not much about the factors contributing to it.   

Asian countries affected

Those, who have made a ritual of taking a peep into the financial market’ in this island know that many Asian countries have been affected by this crisis and their currencies have depreciated against the US $.

If Sri Lanka (8.2%) is to be compared with India (12%) and China (5%) the latter two countries have also felt the ‘heat’ due to several global factors among which rising oil prices are quite significant. Another key factor contributing towards the depreciation of the rupee is the increase of interest rates by America. This has made investors shift towards safer heavens.   

In this context, Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe has promised to come up with a solution within a month, so that the country can recover from the effects of the rupee depreciating rapidly. However Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajith Coomaraswamy has said that though Sri Lanka has made some progress in stabilising its economy, the external factors which are contributing towards the depreciating of the rupee are too strong. The problem with the increasing voices of dissent is whether they understand the global trends in the financial market which are having ripple effects on most Asian countries?   

Capitalising on the depreciating rupee 

Whoever who can be termed a political animal will capitalise on the falling rupee and also withes the masses to be ignorant of these external factors devaluing Asian currencies. The vociferous member of parliament, Wimal Weerwansa, who is now serving a suspension from attending parliament sessions, has said that the people in this country don’t want politicians who talk about explaining the reasons behind a financial crises, but instead want leaders who can show the way towards settling debts and making the nation prosperous. This is a typical layman’s analysis of the financial crisis that’s being experienced. The problem with the past regime, that this man too represented, was that it shun the company of the educated, so that it could have its way over the less educated.   

Despite the present hardships Sri Lankans do continue to live in harmony and are nourished by a huge dose of democracy they presently enjoy. When the cost of living stifles them and the much popular man with the mustache makes a call to the masses to return to former times, the people with the power to reason out things will heed this call, if at all, only after considering all the pros and the cons.   

These are tough times for Sri Lankans with the rising costs cutting expenditure and the disastrous performances of the national cricketers denying us of any entertainment, when the chips are down. But lets take a cue from the people of Maldives who have shown us that ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do’. 

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