Written by Staff Writer
11 Jul, 2019 | 9:43 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Serious doubts were expressed by the opposition of the government’s inability towards due diligence, in spite of the various committees and advisers.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe came to power on a bandwagon of several promises to re-establish transparency, accountability and create an equitable lifestyle for all. Unfortunately, the delivery of these undertakings has been seriously compromised as the prime minister has not delivered what he said. Only talk – no walk?
Here are some matters where the Prime Minister has not delivered
1. Central Expressway – Phase 1 and Phase 3
Phase 1 is in bits and pieces, phase 3 has not even started. He gave the people the impression that the loan for phase 3 was a concessional arrangement; it now transpires that far from being a concessional arrangement it a very commercial proposal and ultimately, the bank has withdrawn.
2. The Volkswagen transaction
The simple action of due diligence that Volkswagen AG did not have any plans of investing in Sri Lanka was left for News 1st to make a simple phone call to the head office to establish the veracity.
3. The Singapore FTA
The cabinet wanted it referred back after the Attorney General’s observations. However, a known and longtime confidant of the PM in the shape and form of Malik Samarawickrama signed it anyway on the dotted line all on his own.
4. LNC plant in Hambantota
Once again a simple due diligence exercise would have revealed that the US$ 4 billion projects were being proposed by a newly established company, with an obscure address to boot. When we News 1st exposed this there was a mad scramble which saw 3 cabinet ministers fly off to the Middle East in search of the investments
5. WiFi for all project
Prime Minister promised the nation free WiFi. The Google loon project crash landed and alas the peoples hope for wifi crashed.
The Prime Minister’s government said that with stones blocking the entrance to the Hambantota port, this was a vanity project. It is this same vanity project presumably complete with rocks that Ranil Wickremesinghe manages to lease to the Chinese for 99 years for US$ 1.2 bn. The prime minister said he had to do this because as the country couldn’t afford the repayment, yet strangely the money received by the Sri Lankan Ports Authority was transferred to the general treasury, and the loan is presumably still acting, meaning unpaid.
6. MATTALA AIRPORT
Prime Minister and his government sighted birds about the Mattala Airport and used it for a while as a paddy storage facility. Yet this is the same airport with all its emptiness that they are negotiating to sell or lease to a foreign interest.
Last but not least of all the Prime Minister has managed to list the Central Bank of Sri Lanka away from the Ministry of Finance for the very first time in the history of independent Sri Lanka and promised to bring transparency to the manner in which Treasury bonds were issued.
Under this guise the Prime Minister by his own admission insisted on changing a system that had been in place since 1997, a system that the then Auditor General of Sri Lanka Gamini Wijesinghe is on record having said that it was the least cost methodology to obtain funds for the government.
This false undertaking of transparency resulted in a spectacular loss of the peoples’ money. The losses, a presidential commission of inquiry found was at least a minimum of Rs 8,500 mn to the EPF and the accumulated losses are subjected to anyone’s guess.
The SOFA agreement the Prime Minister denies, being anything other than the 1996 agreement, yet he admits the receipt of a proposal from the United States. He insists that he will not compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and in almost the same breath he says that there is no change and attempts to belittle this serious matter with a special kind of humour comparing an agreement to be important only by the number of pages.
The prime minister can quite easily table the draft including any annexures to a special committee in parliament or parliament itself instead of couching his actions with humour and disrespect for the people of this country.
He has shown spectacular disrespect for the people by not paying attention to the holding of provincial council elections where an initial few pages change to several pages during the committee stages. His track record for doing what he says is simply questionable.
The opposition members have been demanding that the SOFA agreement and the ACSA with its annexures be tabled in Parliament and they have also expressed concern of the Millennium Challenge Compact.
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