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President says no plans for reforms; stresses need for new economic model

6 December 2022 02:23 am - 33     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Ranil Wickremesinghe 


  • Says rebuilding current economic structure will be of no use as it will crumble again
  • “What is the plan for reform? Frankly, I have no plan for it. What reforms when we don’t have an economy”– Prez Wickremesinghe  
  • Says govt.’s future programme will be branded as ‘The Next 25 Years’
  • Asks whether private sector is ready for new economic model that will be introduced
  • Says SL needs to be “highly competitive” to race with regional peers such as China, Japan, Korea and India
  • Says both govt. and private sector have failed to create an enabling environment for talent to remain in country  

By Shabiya Ali Ahlam 
Sri Lanka has no plans whatsoever for reforms going forward, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told a room full of the country’s top private sector business leaders yesterday but instead would be thinking bigger and bolder in terms of its growth agenda. 

While the buzzword in recent months, particularly since the collapse of the economy, has been the need for urgent reforms, the country’s leadership affirmed there would be none going forward. 

“What is the plan for reform? Frankly, I have no plan for it. What reforms when we don’t have an economy,” Wickremesinghe told the inaugural session of Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2022, themed ‘Resetting from turmoil to opportunity’.

The annual event, which was kicked off yesterday, is organise by the country’s premier business chamber, the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. 

“The government will not have plans for reform. What we want to do is to build a new economy. But is the private sector ready for it? Can you handle the pain,” Wickremesinghe asked the business leaders present in the audience, who appeared shocked for a moment.   

According to him, the current economy, where the extent of its fragility is being fully felt by the people, is not worth reforming, as it is unavoidable that sooner or later the model will crumble gain.  Since the present circumstances are not in favour of the local economy, rebuilding the same structure would only result in a downfall, possibly even at a faster phase, Wickremesinghe pointed out.  He said going forward, being competitive alone would not help the crisis-hit nation. According to him, Sri Lanka needs to be “highly competitive” and only then the country can even think about competing with regional peers such as China, Japan, Korea and India. 

As Sri Lanka is at the moment witnessing a flight of talent or as Wickremesinghe put it, “youth voting with their feet”, he said that this translates to the fact that both the government and private sector have not succeeded in creating an enabling environment for the local human resource pool to remain in the country.  “So, stop pointing fingers at each other. We have to make sure we go ahead. So, our programme for the future will be called ‘The Next 25 years,” said Wickremesinghe.



  Comments - 33

  • Abd Tuesday, 06 December 2022 06:51 AM

    Basically if you people reforming yourself not to misuse public funds,that’s more than enough but abewardena not sure

    Neo Tuesday, 06 December 2022 12:28 PM

    Don't you realize we don't even have a thing called public funds to mishandle it? We need to make our economy competitive not go after mythical dollar thefts.

    Waco Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:09 AM

    All rouges are at large still.

    Waco Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:11 AM

    Government must only rule the country. Leave the Businesses to private sector .

    Don Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:22 AM

    Ranil..you know nothing about economy. The audience here are just racketeers who seek political help to exploit the innocent people. You need political stability first before thinking about economic plan. Call an election and get fresh mandate from people to be patient next 4 years. Then implement a new economic plan developed by apolitical local experts with international expert help. You guys go nowhere by crushing balls of youth because your balls about to fall down.

    Lokka Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:46 AM

    Can the President answer this question. Can the economic reforms go forward with the same set of thieves in power. My understanding is that economic reforms have to go hand in hand with judicial, legislative, administrative and financial reforms. In doing so the present scum in the parliament should be removed.

    Ruvin Tuesday, 06 December 2022 07:54 AM

    Enough said Mr. President. You were in positions of power for 40 years . You were in many teams that brought us to our knees.

    Sambo Tuesday, 06 December 2022 08:03 AM

    Everything he says will never happen and never did. Only empty promises.

    Athk69 Tuesday, 06 December 2022 08:11 AM

    Mr. President, allow the private sector to pay higher salaries to all employees by making salary costs exempt from taxable profit. There won't be a loss to the government, because with more money in the hands of employees, there will be a higher spend on goods and services that are anyway being taxed. This will kick start higher economic activity that will enable the much needed growth, entrepreneurship and growth in all sectors.

    CEB bill for vacant house Tuesday, 06 December 2022 08:49 AM

    Govt. sector is the dumping ground to win votes, even when it is over-staffed. Suitability is not the criteria for this. This was going on for decades. e.g. CEB recruits Meter Readers who do not go to read meters, but repeat last month's reading to send the bill. They don't know that the house is vacant for over 3 months. When you go to CEB office to complain, the lady says, "First pay bill, otherwise we will disconnect power supply." This is not a fairy tale, but my personal experience. Rulers say no room for reform. The silent majority will talk.

    Sudda Tuesday, 06 December 2022 08:50 AM

    A president without a vision. No change. He follows the previous regime. Sad!

    Jude Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:01 AM

    Only way to develop SL is thru agriculture!! You don't need an Nobel prize winning economist to figure that out!!

    Jude Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:14 AM

    SL Will never ever develop with jumbo cabinet, jumbo number of MP'S, 8000 LG members and PC members!! Rs.500 Billion loss making national airline!! The biggest change must come with only 100 MP's, scrap PC's and LG councils. Ground the damn SRILANKAN AIRLINES!! With these changes in couple of years government will have budget surplus!! Only business with airlines, government collect exorbitant landing fees from any airplane touching SL airports yeah!!

    Jude Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:28 AM

    When Ranil dies HALF of the problems are over!! RW have no legacy!! RANIL never did anything good for SL people!! Ranil only want power, and he'll sell his mother to grab power!! RANIL have a pact with Rajapaksa siblings that they'll be never be prosecuted!! Yeah!!

    Jude Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:32 AM

    RANIL forget about Asian power house China, japan, India and Korea!! Just check the progress of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia yeah!!

    johan Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:41 AM

    But SL needs greater Financial reforms from bottom to the top to curb malpractices and fraud and also change on tender procedures otherwise whatever assistance we get all will be vain.Developing the country is impossible without closing the loopholes

    Jude Tuesday, 06 December 2022 09:47 AM

    Hello, big fancy words and plans NOT GONNA develop SL!! Develop Agriculture, agriculture, agriculture yeah and agri-based industries, including livestock fisheries and poultry! Don't need rocket scientists or people with titles before the name to make the change!! Remember, Vietnam had a war with Yankees for twenty years!! Look at them today, they're in top 5 in biggest Rice producers in the world and and in top 5 biggest textile and apparel exporters in the world today huh!!

    Eper Tuesday, 06 December 2022 10:09 AM

    B4 plans for reform, our experts should find out where we went wrong and avoid a repetition of the economic disaster and highlight/punish those responsible and recover the stolen funds if any. INDEPENDENT Auditors/Judiciary should be given top priority. Otherwise the 22million will have to suffer

    Daya Tuesday, 06 December 2022 10:22 AM

    It's the successive governments which ruined the economy and now why ask the Private sector? All the political parties who ruled the country are responsible, ie: UNP, SLFP, SLPP, etc., Now, the citizens are asked to pay for the mess through increased taxes, price increases, etc. What is the responsibility of the politicians, only looting the economy and still enjoying their lives whilst we the taxpayers are suffering?

    Visuvalingam Tuesday, 06 December 2022 10:24 AM

    Making a population robotic labor and building skyscrapers, high roads and airports should not be development. Japan did it and now facing the crunch, others following the path, that is not sustainable, . If we have high logical and emotional intelligent. We can be smart by being poor also. Research skills and emotional skills can be a futuristic economic model. Future wealth of a nations can be population understanding themselves and others and being healthy, mentally, physically, and environmentally. I hate the Greek version of high class buildings or Romans version big cities or Medieval Medici family and Machiavellian introduce renaissance with materialism. Renaissance can be within us also. We are in connected high information age.

    Observer Tuesday, 06 December 2022 10:33 AM

    NO REFORMS ! Only hold on to power and enjoy with the few supporters and let the vast majority of the population suffer!

    Volker Metzger Tuesday, 06 December 2022 10:58 AM

    These are almost unbelievable statements by a president who is supposed to lead the country out of the greatest political and economic crisis!!! He has known the catastrophic conditions for years and, as President, the first thing he did was neither set up a working group for a realistic analysis of the actual starting conditions in Sri Lanka nor developed conceptual ideas and models for economic reform !!! And Sri Lanka has competent scientists for all this! He behaves like a blind man who is supposed to move on in life without any aids!!! And Basil thinks Ranil would be the right man for President !!!

    Volker Metzger Tuesday, 06 December 2022 11:52 AM

    These are almost unbelievable statements by a president who is supposed to lead the country out of the greatest political and economic crisis!!! He has known the catastrophic conditions for years and, as President, the first thing he did was neither set up a working group for a realistic analysis of the actual starting conditions in Sri Lanka nor developed conceptual ideas and models for economic reform!!! And Sri Lanka has competent scientists! He behaves like a blind man who is supposed to move on in life without any aids!!! And Basil thinks Ranil would be the right man for President !!!

    Roshan samarathunga Tuesday, 06 December 2022 12:27 PM

    The unelected president doesn’t need plans as common folks need to master debate him in the parliament before becoming immortal

    max Tuesday, 06 December 2022 12:28 PM

    waht Asian power house- SL cannot compete with Bangladesh- or even repay money borrowed

    dinesh Tuesday, 06 December 2022 01:19 PM

    the business community is mad to invite a thief with no national vision to their forums...wasting everyone's time...he should have been chased away...

    Kathir Tuesday, 06 December 2022 01:44 PM

    Hello why don’t you ask the Indian gouvernement to take all Tea and Rubber estates workers back to India under five years period and put all your arm forces to work in the tea estate There is no tiger anymore Put your all 350000 arm forces and their children to work in the tea estates

    Aquarius Tuesday, 06 December 2022 03:09 PM

    I cannot believe what I am reading, and this is coming from a President who never had any vision for the country. His dream was to become President at any cost, even selling his soul to the devil. No reforms mean he wants to protect the monkeys hanging on to his tailcoat and be remotely controlled by the Rajapakses. What a pathetic leader!

    Kathir Tuesday, 06 December 2022 03:42 PM

    If you have no plans to reform this Island I suggest you my best plan to reform this country economic ally Remove all your useless arm forces of more than three or four Lakhs men and put the all in steam Rubber estates and also in agricultural lands to work Remove them immediately to work for the country.

    Sam Wednesday, 07 December 2022 09:55 PM

    All the best to reinvent the wheel.

    Deby John Thursday, 08 December 2022 04:50 AM

    Ranil is not to be blamed. We knew well he is just a clever selfish fox. He never had a great vision for the country….same as his predecessors. Ranil is just an appointed person now. It is foolishness for people to expect Ranil to do anything beneficial for the people. He clearly said there is no economy in Sri Lanka….which is very true. There was no economy….not only now but since 1948. All past leaders corrupted the country, systems, and the mind of the people. The biggest credit should go to Rajapakse family. They are still happily ruling the country.

    Waco Thursday, 08 December 2022 11:32 AM

    USA, UK, Australia- are worried about businesses? Businesses are left to the Bisness people. Ranil has no knowledge about Sri Lankan economy. Now he will make Business omminuty the “Escape Goat”. This man is a conning Fox. He can not convince the people. Therefore now he has started confusing every body.

    Cam Sab Friday, 09 December 2022 03:07 AM

    Sri Lanka economy can be revamped easily by a good economic development plan. For that to happen, the Tamils political rights have to be respected and constitutional protection must be given / guaranteed. The whole Sri Lanka will become like Singapore in 5 years. We don’t need to have 25 years…..a time Ranil will be dead and gone.

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