President Ranil Wickremesinghe underscored the imperative to fortify the nation’s economy, ensuring that forthcoming generations are spared from enduring the unfortunate period that both the country and its people have weathered in the past two years.
Highlighting that resolving the country’s economic challenges goes beyond the success of the debt optimization program, the president emphasized the need to promptly initiate an economy-building strategy guided by sound decisions
President Wickremesinghe made these remarks while participating in the 150th Anniversary celebration of St. Thomas College in Matale today (13). Addressing the gathering, he said;
As this year draws to a close, we hold the belief that our nation can overcome bankruptcy by successfully executing the credit appreciation program. Achieving this necessitates stringent control over public expenditures and a shift toward a more productive economy. We have already begun implementing these measures.
However, it is essential to recognize that while our current endeavours may alleviate the “bankrupt” label unless further steps are taken promptly, we risk facing the same fate within a decade. Consequently, the government’s course must be charted anew, underpinned by a revamped system.
"Financial authority rests with parliament"
The proposed measures for domestic debt optimization have been successfully passed in the Parliament, despite attempts to hinder the process through legal channels.
The EPF has introduced a draft law aimed at providing a 9% interest rate to all members, and this initiative is currently in progress. Consequently, there are no grounds to impede the advancement of this program.
As stipulated in Article 04 of the Constitution, financial authority rests with the Parliament, thereby vesting it with the responsibility and competence to execute these actions. All legal cases related to this matter have been dismissed by the Supreme Court.
Upon the completion of the debt optimization endeavour, our focus should shift to the effective implementation of the subsequent economic program.
Presently, there is a significant exodus of individuals from our nation. The departure of skilled experts and professionals has created a substantial void that cannot be easily filled. It is essential to reaffirm our commitment to establishing a robust economic foundation conducive to the well-being of all citizens.
Challenges confront our country today, primarily driven by insufficient government revenue and a trade imbalance skewed towards higher import costs relative to exports. A reliance on daily credit is not a sustainable solution. Once the debt consolidation process concludes, the same question emerges anew.
We must proactively address this concern by bolstering our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at a rapid pace, as an increased GDP directly translates to heightened national income.
Parallelly, we must intensify our efforts in the realm of exports. A comprehensive strategy for this endeavour should be formulated within the next decade.
In the current landscape, conventional political slogans have lost their relevance, even within both ruling and opposition parties. Instead, it is imperative to assess the country’s challenges and forge ahead with practical solutions. If the proposed solutions fail to gain traction, alternatives should be presented to address the issues at hand."
The event was attended by a multitude of individuals, including Education Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha, Prime Minister’s Secretary Anura Dissanayake, Central Province Governor Lalith Y. Gamage, Ministry of Education Secretary Nihal Ranasinghe, former judge and Chairman of the Human Rights Commission M.P.B. Dehideniya, Professor Chaminda Ratnayake, Vice Chancellor of NSBM Green University, General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Staff of the Tri forces, Kaushalya Navaratne, President of the Sri Lanka Bar Association Dhammika Hewawasam, Principal of St. Thomas College in Matale, and a substantial gathering of faculty members, parents, and alumni.