Ranil Wickremesinghe; a history of economic mismanagement

Ranil Wickremesinghe; a history of economic mismanagement

Written by Staff Writer

21 Sep, 2019 | 10:36 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st):- On the 01st of August this year, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had made a statement that the government plans on taking US$ 500 mn worth of Samurai stocks from the Japanese stock market. Later on the 18th of August, he said that regardless of the profession that people pursue, even if you are from the state or the private sector, a farmer, an entrepreneur or a fisherman that their income will be increased to between 50% – 100%. On the 6th of September, he said that there is no other preceding government that has worked for the villages as much as the present government,

However regardless of such comments made by the Prime Minister, what is the reality of the country’s economy at present?

Following are the statistics of the government’s fiscal performance during the last six months:-

  • Income decreased from Rs. 925 bn to Rs. 888 bn.
  • Expenditure increased from Rs. 1,271 bn to Rs. 1,410 bn
  • The budget deficit rose from Rs. 346 bn to Rs. 522 bn.

Four years and nine months after assuming office as Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe announced even more plans for further upliftment of Sri Lanka’s economy. Here’s a continuation of yesterday’s report.  On the 5th of November 2015, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented his ‘Third Generation Economic Reforms’ package in the Parliament;

His proposals included:

  • The establishment of a State Holding Corporation Limited, similar to Temasek Company of Singapore.
  • Creation of a Public Wealth Trust with the Secretary of the Treasury and Governor of the Central Bank as the custodians.
  • To create an international trade agency to handle all aspects of international trade.
  • Amalgamate ETF and EPF to create a new national pension fund.

Apparently dissatisfied by these plans, in October 2017 the Prime Minister launched Vision 2025 in the pursuit of a grandly titled SL’s path to prosperity.

Significant features of those Plans were:

  • To make Sri Lanka an export-oriented economic hub in the Indian Ocean.
  • Per capita to be raised to $5,000.
  • One million new jobs.
  • Increase FDI to $5 billion per year.
  • Double exports to $20 billion per year by 2020.

Sri Lanka has been treated to a whole series of Plans that have not been effected. Instead many of these plans have resulted in a negative impact on our country. Wickremesinghe promised 1,000,000 presumably new jobs. Instead, Central Bank figures reveal that in the public sector there were 440,000 fewer JOBS.

However, these are the records after 4 1/2 years in power:

  • The exchange rate was Rs 131 to the US Dollar in 2015 – today it is Rs 180
  • Interest rates are high
  • Exports are stagnating
  • The Stock Market is stuck in a rut
  • The manufacturing sector is struggling.

Sri Lanka has failed to attract any significant new FDI business apart from hoax projects like the VW plant. We are reminded of what happened to the Central Bank in terms of the BOND SCAM after Wickremesinghe arbitrarily asked for the system of issuing bonds to be changed. The Bond Scam has not only played a pivotal role in highlighting corruption and conflict of interest but has severely affected the economy.

The scam has played its own role in driving away foreign investment with a net outflow of Rs. 23.2 billion in 2018, and Rs. 5.5 billion during the first quarter of 2019, simply because it is the very people who are running the affairs of the nation who either through inaction or otherwise perpetrated this fraud. The people of Sri Lanka will be stuck with the effect of this fraud for at least another 30 years.

Mr Wickremesinghe’s governance has been marked for its significant but pie in the sky grand plans. Specifically, the nation is reminded of an attempt to establish an oil refinery project in Hambantota. A $4 billion project was handed over to a startup and ultimately led to three cabinet ministers, transforming themselves into salesmen trying to persuade the government of Oman to make an investment. Predictably, nothing has come out of it thus far.

These are the PLANS PLANS AND MORE PLANS of Wickremesinghe. There has been much talk but LITTLE IMPLEMENTATION. Leaving the people and analysts to ponder if these further plans are merely a ruse to stay in power when in fact the people already know that thanks to his non-delivery of various plans. Or put another way, is Wickremesinghe planning on extending his reliance on the public purse for a few more years beyond the forty years he has already had?

The people are aware …

A change in the first among equals and necessarily from the leadership of the United National Party.

 

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