Economic growth: Rhetoric and realities

18 June 2012 06:30 pm - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


In the past few years we have had an overdose of empty political rhetoric and gobbledygook by government spokesmen and politicians about successful development projects. Even the Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal had joined this bandwagon with his hype about Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product or increasing per capita income. Despite these sandcastles thousands of Sri Lankans are clamouring to flee the country looking for greener pastures abroad.

Recently the police arrested 116 asylum seekers reportedly on their way to Australia. They would have had to brave shark-infested stormy seas, travelling on rickety boats, risking life and limb to get to Christmas Island from this paradise isle. Amid the news that the police had arrested 53 asylum seekers off Batticaloa, the Indian authorities had also arrested some 150 asylum seekers among whom were women and children including infants. Why are they taking such risks if everything is honky dory here? Have the authorities found out from the arrested asylum seekers why they prefer to take all the risks to get away?
Recently a senior minister told parliament Sri Lanka was well on the way towards achieving its desired goal in economic growth and development because according to him rural youth were now wearing denim jeans.

If prosperity could be measured by denim jeans when hundreds of thousands of people are living below the poverty line and struggling to survive then the learned minister may be referring not to Sri Lanka but to a cuckoo land elsewhere.
Not so long ago we saw thousands queuing up for days at the Army grounds to obtain application forms to go to South Korea for employment and this also shows that if at all only a few believe in this kind of doublespeak.

If Sri Lanka is to be developed and if all Sri Lankans are to enjoy the fruits of this development, first and foremost we need to eradicate fraud, bribery, corruption, waste and the blatant misuse or abuse of national resources. The eradication of this cancer is not impossible if one of the most ruthless terrorist groups was eradicated from Sri Lanka’s soil even though at a bloody price.
If the much hyped about development is to become meaningful and tangible with its results or fruits being more evenly distributed to all Sri Lankans it would only happen if political leaders gave the start by example rather than by spewing out empty words about Sri Lanka’s phenomenal economic growth because some rural youth are wearing jeans or that a three-member family can survive on Rs.7,500 a month.  

This same senior minister told the media that Sri Lanka was hoping to negotiate a security loan of US$ 500 million after the IMF pays out the final instalment on the US$ 2.6 billion standby arrangement.
This goes to show the health of Sri Lanka’s economy.

  Comments - 2

  • LB Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:39 AM

    I would love to see this 'senior minister' survive on Rs7,500 a month! Perhaps he would miraculously be able to if he were to slip on a pair of jeans! What an insult to the intelligence of the masses!

    Independent Observer Tuesday, 19 June 2012 02:06 AM

    Sri Lanka is a paradise only for politicians !

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