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Sunday June 23rd, 2024

Lack of coordination between Sri Lanka president, PM: former President Sirisena

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe have no real working partnership and there is a clear lack of coordination between them, former President Maithripala Sirisena said.

Speaking to the media on Friday, June 17, Sirisena said the two leaders have competing approaches to governance. He likened it to his own experience as president with Wickremesinghe as prime minister from 2015 to 2019. There were also tensions between then President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in the short-lived United National Party (UNP)-led government between 2001 and 2004.

“You’ll remember the situation in the country when Ranil Wickremesinghe and I were governing.

“Today, you have the president summoning ministers and officials for discussions and to issue instructions to them. Then you have the prime minister also summoning ministers, appointing committees and issuing instructions to officials.

“It is clear that there is no partnership between these two,” said Sirisena.

Though President Rajapaksa and PM Wickremesinghe have indeed been conducting separate meetings with officials or representatives from the same industries – a recent example being the tourism sector – there are no reports yet of open conflict between the two leaders.

Wickremesinghe was one of several choices for Rajapaksa for the premiership after the unceremonious exit of his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa who was forced to resign as prime minister on May 09 after violence on peaceful protestors and retaliatory violence on government supporters.

Sirisena said the Rajapaksa-Wickremesinghe administration was not an all-party government. He reiterated the position of his party, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), to form an all-party government with 15 cabinet ministers for a period of six months or one year, after which a parliamentary election may be held.

“This is a view shared internationally.

“Today the biggest problem facing the government is that it doesn’t have the approval or confidence of the people. Internationally, world leaders and organszations have no confidence in the government either because of how the government acted over the last three years,” he said. (Colombo/Jun17/2022)

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  1. rupadevi monerawela says:

    This reminds me of Nero playing his fiddle while the country is burning. from 1956 with SWRD Bandaranaike THE COUNTRY PLAYED UP TO HIS WHIMS AND FANCIES and his arrogance broke up the existing infrastructure just as what happened in Cambodia. Sadly many fell for his big talking as they had no knowledge of a good system of government

  2. Nirmalan Dhas says:

    Sri Lanka stands on the twin policies of 1) genocidal marginalisation of minorities to increase economic opportunities for the majority and 2) Increase the physical quality of life of the majority through borrowing and printing money while increasing productivity by encouraging foreign direct investment to pay loans and imports. The outcome is that policy 1) leads to human rights violence that makes policy 2) impossible and has led to economical and political collapse. No one is willing to propose alternatives.

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. rupadevi monerawela says:

    This reminds me of Nero playing his fiddle while the country is burning. from 1956 with SWRD Bandaranaike THE COUNTRY PLAYED UP TO HIS WHIMS AND FANCIES and his arrogance broke up the existing infrastructure just as what happened in Cambodia. Sadly many fell for his big talking as they had no knowledge of a good system of government

  2. Nirmalan Dhas says:

    Sri Lanka stands on the twin policies of 1) genocidal marginalisation of minorities to increase economic opportunities for the majority and 2) Increase the physical quality of life of the majority through borrowing and printing money while increasing productivity by encouraging foreign direct investment to pay loans and imports. The outcome is that policy 1) leads to human rights violence that makes policy 2) impossible and has led to economical and political collapse. No one is willing to propose alternatives.

India supports Sri Lanka Coast Guard to boost maritime security

ECONOMYNEXT – India has given 1.2 million US dollars’ worth spare parts to Sri Lanka’s Coast Guard to be used in a vessel also gifted to the Indian Ocean Island on an earlier occasion, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

“Handing over of the large consignment of spares symbolizes India’s commitment to support capability building towards addressing the shared challenges of Maritime Security in the region,” the Indian High Commission said

The spare parts were brought to Sri Lanka on the Indian Coast Guard Ship Sachet, an offshore patrol vessel that was on a two-day visit to the island.

The spares were formally handed over to the Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship Suraksha which was gifted to Sri Lanka in October 2017 by India.

India has gifted spare parts for the ship in June 2021 and April 2022 and also provided assistance in refilling of Halon cylinders in January 2024. (Colombo/June23/2024)

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Sri Lanka Water Board makes profits, tax-payers inject Rs28bn

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run National Water Supply and Drainage Board has made a profit of 5.2 billion rupees in the year to December 2023, after a tariff increase despite not getting money for 25 percent of its water it pumps out.

Total revenues went up to 61.8 billion rupees in 2023 from 35.4 billion rupees, a Finance Ministry report said.

Water revenue surged to 58.5 billion rupees from 33.1 billion rupees, cost of sales also went up to 32.8 billion rupees from 23.14 billion rupees, helping boost gross profits from 12.3 billion rupees to 29.0 billion rupees.

Finance costs surged to 14.9 billion rupees from 3.9 billion rupees,

NSWD reported net profits of 5.2 billion rupees for the year, against a loss of 2.7 billion rupees a year earlier.

The Treasury had given 28 billion rupees from tax payer money to settle loans.

During the Rajapaksa administration, macroeconomists who ran the Finance Ministry made state enterprises borrow money from banks through Treasury guarantees listing them as ‘contingent liabilities’, claiming they were ‘off balance sheet’.

The Road Development Authority, which had no revenues to speak of borrowed large amounts of money from banks which were listed as ‘contingent liabilities’ though they were a responsibility of the state from day one, allowing macroeconomists to understate both the budget deficit and national debt, critics say.

The water tariffs were raised by 81 percent after macroeconomists printed money to supress interest rates for flexible inflation targeting/potential output targeting. The currency collapsed after macroeconomists tried to float the rupee with a surrender rule in place.

Non-revenue water for which no money is collected was 25.2 percent. The agency was supposed to reduce non-revenue water. In some districts religious establishments are responsible for non-revenue water, according to an official who said it on condition of anonymity.

The water board is also unable to collect money from some services like common toilets for underserved communities. (Colombo/June23/2024 – Update II)

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Sri Lanka will expedite Indian projects: President

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will expedite Indian-backed projects in the island, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Indian business people after a visit by Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar this week.

“I discussed with Prime Minister Modi the need to accelerate the joint program that we have decided, agreed on. So the major ones are identified, and Foreign Minister Jaishankar came down today [20] to have a discussion. Now this will show the new path we are taking,” president Ranil Wickremesinghe said.

“It won’t be individual projects. We’ve discussed a fair number of them. First is the grid interconnection between Sri Lanka and India, so that sustainable energy can be transmitted to India.

“We have the Sampur solar power project, which is a Government to Government (G2G) project, and a three island project, which is where we hope the ground breaking can take place in July,” he told Indian business people at the 31st All India Partner’s Meet 2024 (AIPM 2024), held at ICT Ratnadipa in Colombo.

The AIPM 2024 which was organised by KPGM Sri Lanka and India provided a platform for both countries to reaffirm their commitment to collaborative projects that promise to redefine bilateral relations and propel socio-economic growth.

“It’s a great pleasure and a privilege to have you in Sri Lanka, in Colombo, holding this meeting. It shows on one hand the close friendship that our two countries have, and on the other hand, the confidence that you have in Sri Lanka.

“Having now survived two difficult years, I must acknowledge that this was possible because India gave us a loan of $3.5 billion. All that will be repaid.”

Cooperation between the two nations needed to be enhanced, particularly in the energy sector, aiming to foster new development for the Northern region, Wickremesinghe said.

“We are looking at developing Palk Straight for wind energy and solar energy, both countries to get together and have a large farm for solar energy, for renewable energy. It also means that we will have a new economy for the northern province, which was worst affected by the war.”

Several Indian-backed projects in Sri Lanka have stalled due to protests from some parties, with some going to courts.

India is helping expand the Kankesanturai port, and is discussing development of the Palali and Colombo airports.

The National Livestock Development Board of Sri Lanka, in collaboration with India’s Amul Dairy Company, is involved in a project to enhance liquid milk production in the country.

The two nations are also considering establishing land connectivity.

Discussions have also taken place regarding expediting the Trincomalee Development Project, which encompasses industrial investment zones and tourist areas.

“Plans are underway to construct a multi-product oil pipeline from Nagapatnam to Trincomalee, pending the final observation report. Trincomalee is poised to become a hub for oil refining, with the development of ports and investment zones, transforming Trincomalee Port into a significant hub on the Bay of Bengal.

“Today, the entire East Coast is being opened up for tourism, with additional land earmarked for hotels in Galle and southern areas. Moreover, there are plans to establish more investment zones across the country, alongside expanding our professional training programs. In these endeavours, we are collaborating closely with India.” (Colombo/Jun22/2024)

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