Written by Staff Writer
25 Oct, 2019 | 8:40 pm
Colombo (News 1st): Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the Presidential election will be used as a referendum on calling a general election immediately after the presidential election. He made this statement addressing the unveiling of the manifesto of Presidential Candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre today (October 25).
The manifesto is titled “The ten principles of inclusive governance”
The 10 principles are :
As there is a need for an effective cabinet of ministers, the composition of a practical and realistic future cabinet will be decided upon and suitable MPs who can hold these positions will be appointed. The establishment of a national policy and procurement commission under the president has also been proposed after abolishing the National Economic Council.
According to the manifesto, purchasing of vehicles for Ministers and hiring of office premises for state institutions will be suspended for a period of three years. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto notes that legal action will be filed against all acts of fraud and corruption including the Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam and measures would be taken to recover the losses and prosecute the wrong-doers.
It also states that the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division will be established legally and, no state institutions will be privatized. The manifesto noted that the Central Bank, the People’s Bank, National Savings Bank, the ports, airports, SriLankan Airlines, the Ceylon Electricity Board, the Sri Lanka Transport Board and the Railways Department will be handed over to a completely professional administration.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto also states that a new constitution based on the aspirations of the people will be drafted. The manifesto pledges to probe the April 21st attacks with a full-fledged independent commission.
It adds, all bilateral and multilateral agreements signed during the past 05 years will be reviewed, and adds that steps will be taken to release all security forces officials who were remanded as a result of exacting political vengeance. It has also been proposed for the youth to be given the opportunity to purchase a smartphone, a tab or a laptop under an easy payment scheme.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa also pledges to restore the pensions that were deprived of state sector employees. The manifesto also proposed the abolishing of the fuel pricing formulae currently in effect. The manifesto also proposes to increase the salaries of estate workers to Rs. 1000. Gotabaya Rajapaksa states that he will initiate diplomatic discussions with China to amend the agreement signed for the Hambantota Port.
Speaking at the event the Presidential Candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna noted that this includes the basic concepts required for them to stand as a sovereign nation to reap the maximum benefit from global trends and build a strong economy. He added that Sri Lanka is a unitary state and they will not allow anyone to divide them or to influence Sri Lanka which is a sovereign state.
He noted that they will develop the security mechanism required to protect the country from terrorism, the underworld, drugs, and foreign influences. Rajapaksa said there can be only one law implemented in one country. He went onto note that they will soon introduce a package to reduce the cost of living of the general public and will make the required investment to provide facilities for all students who pass their advanced level examinations to study at a university and obtain a degree.
The Presidential Candidate noted that they will take steps to extend the current degree program for nurses from 3 years to 4 years so that they will get an internationally recognized qualification. Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes to change the current tax regime that does not suit our country and reduce the tax burden on the general public and to reduce the manufacturing sector income tax. He stressed that they will abolish the Economic Service Charge and withholding taxes and will reduce VAT to 8%.
He added that various taxes imposed on religious places of worship will be abolished while removing various complex taxes imposed on vehicles to introduce a simple tax scheme. He noted that they will also remove the PAYE tax imposed on the state sector and private sector employees and will take steps to incorporate modern technology at the Excise department, the customs and the Inland revenue department and provide a solution to the massive disparities in the tax regime.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa hopes to create more than 1 million jobs in the country through the development drive in the next 5 years. He has decided to provide the fertilizer subsidy for free under their government and to completely ban the re-export of agricultural products. He noted that they also hope to completely write off the loans of the farmers.
Adding to this Leader of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that they will never ask the general public for oxygen so that we can live off of them. He reminded the people that they always fought to give back the oxygen that was taken from the people. He added that this manifesto does not include the conditions and influences of any individual. He noted that this is a document that does not include any provisions that will bring them under any foreign power.
Mahinda Rajapaksa noted that they went home in 2015 after building a safe country and when he left that day he handed over the responsibility of the children of this country to the current government, however, he noted that this government has not been able to protect them. And therefore he said they have to start from the beginning. He pledged that they will create a country without fear in the future.
He noted that there was an important section of this manifesto that was not mentioned. He clearly stated that at this election they also seek the public mandate to call for a general election immediately after the presidential election.
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