Sri Lanka Finance Minister admits slow reforms

ECONOMYNEXT- Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has admitted that their "good governance" administration was slow to deliver on promised reforms, but noted the climate of fear had ended since the fall of the Rajapaksa regime.

Samaraweera said those who voted overwhelmingly for change at the January 8, 2015 elections may be disillusioned, but urged them to reflect on the restoration of personal freedoms that had been deprived for a decade.

"We are not where we hoped to be by this time. But we will get there. Change is incremental, political systems are entrenched and sometimes immovable; but the will to change remains as strong as ever," he said.

He admitted that those who voted for the "good governance" government in 2015 may waver, but urged them to support the administration at the February 10 local elections to ensure stability.

"Incumbency fatigue and the monumental challenges ahead of Sri Lanka as the country strives to march towards sustainable peace and prosperity, weighs heavily on the January 8th constituency.

"Disillusioned by the road ahead, which seems fraught with difficulty and the potential for lost opportunity, this constituency may waver."

He said it was important to build on what has already been achieved and keep the window open for peace and change.

"As memory fades and we are embroiled in the politics of the present, it is easy to forget that once, not so many years ago, a government shot and killed its citizens for the crime of demanding clean water," he said.

He listed attacks of journalists and other dissidents and said the culture of violence had ended with the collapse of the Rajapaksa regime at the 2015 elections.

"With the Rajapaksa regime and its fellow barbarians at the gates once more, Sri Lanka is at another crossroads at this election," the minister said.

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"In a way, this makes the choice clearer for all those citizens who want liberty, democracy and peace. On February 10th the people will have to choose once more – will we continue the march to freedom or herald a return to fear?." (COLOMBO, January 27, 2018)

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