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Sunday June 16th, 2024

Sri Lanka govt leaders criticized over Facebook frame with national flag 

#GoHomeGota protest in front of Sri Lanka’s Presidential Secretariat

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government politicians who have been asked to resign are under fire from frustrated protesters on social media after close allies of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa added the national flag on their Facebook profile frame.

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis has now turned into a political crisis after a March 31 protest turned violent near President Rajapaksa’s private residence followed by people defying his curfew order despite State of Emergency and social media ban.

In solidarity with protests against the government for its economic mismanagement, thousands of Sri Lankans added a Facebook frame to their profile picture with the national flag.

On April 6, a sleuth of government ministers including the President and the Prime Ministers have added the frame to their Facebook profiles too.

This frame has also been a significant association with the protest slogan #GoHomeGota, a slogan made popular on social media platforms before the protests grew on a mass scale on March 31.

Protests have spread across the country and political analysts say the agitations are intensifying.

Sri Lankan Facebook users responded negatively to Rajapaksa and his close allies’ move to include the national frame.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the most popular leader Sri Lanka has ever had, got over 15,000 laugh reactions and 7,700 angry reactions to his picture with many commenting “Rest in Peace”.

His son Namal Rajapaksa, the country’s Sports, Youth and Digital technology minister was cursed for ruining and looting the country.

A comment from Raveesha Sathsarani said, “This is our national flag!!!. Don’t steal even it and save it for us. They have taken people’s pain and hard work as a joke. �� ��
#gohomerajapaksas #GotaGoHome2022 #GoHomeGota #SaveSriLanka.”

Dishan Rajarathnam in his comment said “We are fighting against the most corrupted family in SriLanka ������”

Manomi Jayawardena: “ජාතික කොඩියවත් ඉතුරු කලොත් නේද හොද….(Wouldn’t it be better to leave at least the national flag….)

Kasun Bandara Weerakoon: “Go when you are told to go…. And there are more… I’m done with you people….. There is no point in trying again……. The few who took advantage are struggling… But the majority of the country doesn’t like you….. Go away without any more sins…… It’s hard to live….. This is more than enough…… Don’s destroy our future any more…….”

(යන්ට කිව්වම පලයංකෝ….තවත් ඉන්නෙ…උබල මිනිසුන්ට එපාවෙලා ඉවරයි…..ආයෙ
දැගලුවට වැඩක් නෑ…….වාසිගත්ත ටික දෙනෙක් දගලයි…ඒත් උබලට රටේ බහුතරයක් කැමති
නෑ…..තවත් පවුනොදී පලයං……ජීවත් වෙන්න අමාරුයි…..මේ ඇති හොදටම……අපෙ අනාගතේ
තවත් විනාස කරන්න එපා……)

Keheliya Rambukewella, the former cabinet spokesperson too was flooded with similar comments. One commentator on Rambukwella’s profile said the people’s struggle has become a joke to them.

Ranjika Damayanthi, “මුන්ට විහිළුවක් වෙලා මිනිස්සු දුක් විදින එක ����������”

Although the country’s President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa too used the frame, he has restricted the comments on his profile yet over 33,000 had laugh reacted to the picture with 15,000 “angry” reactions.

In the ongoing protests in the past seven days, the President has been called a Pissek (mad man), a murderer and a gobbayā (a local slang for a useless person). (Colomb0/April 08/2022)

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Sri Lanka car import relaxing roadmap given to IMF: State Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has submitted a roadmap on relaxing vehicle imports to the International Monetary Fund, State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siymabalapitiya said as the country recovers from the worst currency crises in the history of its central bank.

The import relaxation will allow vehicles for public transport, goods transport, then motor cycles and cars use by private individuals and after that, luxury cars, Minister Siyambalapitiya said.

Luxury cars however attract the highest taxes for each dollar spent on imports.

Economic analysts have characterized vehicle import controls as a ‘cascading policy error’ that follows inflationary rate cuts, which then deprive taxes to the state and triggers more money printing and more forex shortages, requiring even higher corrective interest rates and a contraction of economic activities to save the rupee.

According to the latest IMF report car import controls may have led to revenue losses of 0.7 to 0.9 percent of GDP.

Sri Lanka started controlling imports few years after a central bank was set up in 1950 and also tightened exchange controls progressively, so that macroeconomists using post-1920 spurious monetary doctrines taught at Anglophone universities could print money through various mechanisms to suppress rates.

Sri Lanka is working with the IMF as a guide on many issues and the roadmap was submitted to the agency on June 14, Minister Siyambalapitiya said.

The IMF in an economic report released last week the plan was expected to be submitted by June 15.

Whatever the IMF’s faults, which some wags have called ‘progressive Saltwaterism’, the agency does not advocate import controls as solution to balance of payments problems, despite a Mercantilist fixation with the current account deficit in countries with reserve collecting central banks, analysts say.

Import controls have the same effect as import substation on the balance of payments, which is none, classical economists have pointed out and is now mainly a problem associated with macro economists and economic bureaucrats of so-called basket case countries.

Any pressure on the currency or missed reserves targets in the IMF program has come in the past only if the central bank printed money to suppress rates as credit growth picked up from car imports.

Sri Lanka had 3,000 items under import controls when rates were suppressed with printed money from 2020 to 2022 but eventually ended up with the worst currency crisis triggered by macro economists in the history of the country and eventual external default.

A committee made up of the Department of Trade and Fiscal Policy of the Finance Ministry, the Department of Registration of Motor Vehicles, the Central Bank and two associations representing vehicle imports were appointed to come up with the roadmap, he said. (Colombo/June15/2024)

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Chitrasiri Committee presents draft constitution for Sri Lanka Cricket

ECONOMYNEXT – A draft constitution for Sri Lanka Cricket, the governing body for cricket in the island, prepared by a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge K T Chitrasiri, was presented to President Ranil Wickremesinghe today (15).

The Sri Lanka team were ignominiously knocked out of the Men’s T20 World Cup tournament this week, sparking renewed criticism of the team and the governing body.

Last November, a cabinet sub-committee was appointed to address challenges faced by Sri Lanka Cricket and provide recommendations after consecutive losses became a hot topic in parliament.

After parliament decided to remove the administrators of the sport, the International Cricket Council (ICC) Board suspended Sri Lanka Cricket’s membership.

Based on the sub-committee’s recommendations in its report, the Cabinet then appointed an expert committee to draft a new constitution for Sri Lanka Cricket.

The committee headed by judge K T Chitrasiri includes President’s Counsel Harsha Amarasekara, Attorney-at-Law Dr Aritha Wickramanayake and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Chamber of Commerce Duminda Hulangamuwa.

Deputy Solicitor General Manohara Jayasinghe, and Shamila Krishanthi, Assistant Draftsman representing the Legal Draftsman’s Department, and Loshini Peiris, Additional Secretary to the President were also on the committee. (Colombo/Jun14/2024)

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Sri Lanka’s Cable Solutions in Rs605mn IPO

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Cable Solutions Limited will make an initial public offering of ordinary voting shares on the Diri Savi Board of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE).

The CSE had approved, in-principle, an application submitted by the company, for the listing of its ordinary voting shares by way of an offer for subscription and an offer for sale.

For subscription, 14,666,600 shares would be offered at 7.50 rupees a share.

For sale, 66,120,000 shares would be offered at 7.50 rupees a share.

The opening of subscription list is July 23. Copies of the prospectus would be made available to trading participants on July 9. (Colombo/Jun15/2024)

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