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Thursday February 29th, 2024

Sri Lankans express anger, frustration over president’s tweet after cricket win 

Sri Lanka won the ODI series against Australia for the first time in 30 years. Picture Credit: International Cricket Council

ECONOMYNEXT – Hundreds of Sri Lankans, battered by the country’s worst ever forex crisis, took to Twitter to vent their frustration at President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this week when he tweeted a congratulatory message to the national cricket team which won a five-match cricket series against Australia.

A young Sri Lankan cricket team won the fourth game held in Colombo by just four runs to secure a series win after conquering the five-time world champions.

“Congratulations to Sri Lanka cricket team on the win against Australia in the one day series. The sportsmanship shown by the Sri Lankan team has been remarkable. People of Sri Lanka are also grateful for the support given by Cricket Australia to overcome the economic challenges in Sri Lanka,” Rajapaksa tweeted. 

Sri Lankans, who have been going pillar to post to feed their families and ensure essentials like fuel, cooking gas, medicines, food, and milk powder amid lengthy power cuts, took their frustration out on the president who had just turned 73 a few days prior.

It was the first time Sri Lanka had won a series against mighty Australia in 30 years.

Many Sri Lankans see Rajapaksa and his family as responsible for the current economic crisis. Thousands of young, nonpartisan protesters have been demanding Rajapaksa’s resignation for 76 days as of Thursday July 23 near the presidential secretariat in Colombo. Over this period, Sri Lanka saw a change in prime ministers as well as the resignation of the entire cabinet twice over.

However, Rajapaksa has said he cannot leave as a “failed president” and has vowed see his term to its completion in November 2025.

“You obviously never played any sport. That is why you do not know how to accept defeat. You are a failed President. Please GO,” responded one Twitter user.

“At least learn from cricket how to make way for someone more capable than you,” another tweep said.

“Please resign and make this moment even better to give some relief to the grievances of the nation,” said another.

Some of the tweeps used abusive language in response to the president’s congratulatory tweet, and many demanded that he step down due what they called his abject failure.

“No. This is victory for the cricket team. Your dismissal is the real victory for all Sri Lankans,” said one tweet.

“Please Mr President keep out of this. The SL cricket team is the only entertainment and [source of] pride we are left with,” said another.

“How can the Australian cricket team help to overcome economic challenges? Did they bring dollars in the plane? Pls don’t take credit for our team’s win,” another tweeted.

Some more tweets are reproduced below:

“Dont think people will be delusional with this win and forget to remind you about the most important message…..” GOTAGOHOME”

“Namal went, Cricket prospered You go, Watch how the country will prosper.”

“A young team of cricketers put us back on the winning streak. Please handover the reigns to a team that can win – we as a country need to rejoice and winning back our lives we had.”

“Please don’t try to get involved in this [and] screw this one up too. Just let it be the way it is. You are NOT needed.”

One Twitter user had used crossed out images of President Rajapaksa, current Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and former finance minister Basil Rajapaksa with the line: “There is no point of cultivating without removing weeds”.

Thousands of Sri Lankans started spontaneous protests over the looming economic crisis early in March when Rajapaksa’s government started to impose power cuts and struggled to import fuel and cooking gas due to a crippling dollar shortage – a shortage that experts have blamed directly on ill-advised policies of the government.

Rajapaksa is also blamed for his disastrous ban on chemical (inorganic) fertilizer without providing any alternative to farmers. As a results, the country has seen record high food prices due to a shortfall in farmland produce and lack of fuel to transport agricultural commodities.

The president also appointed himself as the Defence and Digital Technology Minister and appointed his elder brother Mahinda as Prime Minister. His oldest brother Chamal was made Minister of Irrigation while younger brother Basil became Finance Minister. His nephew and Mahinda’s son Namal, meanwhile, was appointed Youth and Sports Minister, while another nephew Shasheendra Rajapaksa, son of Chamal, was named deputy agriculture minister.

The powerful political dynasty controlled the country through the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) even as the economic crisis turned into a full blown political crisis by early April. Since then, Rajapaksa was forced to remove his family members from key position due to strong protests by the public.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned after his supporters brutally attacked unarmed and peaceful protesters in Colombo on May 9. A court has ordered that he surrender his passport and police has questioned him over a meeting with his supporters held just before the attack. May 09 saw violent clashes, with over 70 ruling party members’ houses and assets either damaged or burnt.

The president later appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as prime minister, but analysts say nothing has been done to supply essentials to the public with the crisis now getting worse.

Sri Lankan Twitter users had some choice words for their head of state.

“It’s time to go home”, “What do you know about sportsmanship”, “Devil, we are at fuel queues. It’s better if you go even now”, “Don’t screw up the little happiness the fans enjoy, pls leave”, and “OK, now you resign. Then it’ll be the perfect day” were among the responses that saw much engagement. (Colombo/Jun22/2022)

Comments (4)

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  1. Expat says:

    Politics is different from cricket or any conventional game of play; it is like hitting a volley ball with a cricket bat. Here, the batsman does not hit the ball with a bat, rather he hits the bat with a ball. He does not run but the audience has to run after the batsman. Even if you run you can catch him only once in five years! Miss-catches and run-outs are the faults of the audience! People in developing countries who make comments do not understand the game but lament; why? They play without understanding who the real players are. They think President is the player. When will they understand that he is only a football in cricket!

  2. lanka says:

    Well done Mr president. What some idiots do not understand is that you have the human right as a person to express your own opinion regarding the SLC victory. Some bigots think that everyone must speak according to their views and opinions.

  3. Adrian Deutrom says:

    I agree with the general view of the public comments about the president.
    This present president is a laughing stock of this country and worldwide.
    As for his presidential powers, he is doomed to his powers and has nowhere to turn even to hide his face.
    He and his cohort has sucked the life blood out of this beautiful island with corruption, greed and manipulation and his so-called presidential power
    This man had no experience of how to run a country with twenty two million people.

  4. Malwis says:

    There is a very few percentages of mentally distressed people in the society, who are barking all the time at Hon. president. But main public body knows the president and his vision is to take Sri Lanka to the next level.

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Comments (4)

Cancel reply

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

  1. Expat says:

    Politics is different from cricket or any conventional game of play; it is like hitting a volley ball with a cricket bat. Here, the batsman does not hit the ball with a bat, rather he hits the bat with a ball. He does not run but the audience has to run after the batsman. Even if you run you can catch him only once in five years! Miss-catches and run-outs are the faults of the audience! People in developing countries who make comments do not understand the game but lament; why? They play without understanding who the real players are. They think President is the player. When will they understand that he is only a football in cricket!

  2. lanka says:

    Well done Mr president. What some idiots do not understand is that you have the human right as a person to express your own opinion regarding the SLC victory. Some bigots think that everyone must speak according to their views and opinions.

  3. Adrian Deutrom says:

    I agree with the general view of the public comments about the president.
    This present president is a laughing stock of this country and worldwide.
    As for his presidential powers, he is doomed to his powers and has nowhere to turn even to hide his face.
    He and his cohort has sucked the life blood out of this beautiful island with corruption, greed and manipulation and his so-called presidential power
    This man had no experience of how to run a country with twenty two million people.

  4. Malwis says:

    There is a very few percentages of mentally distressed people in the society, who are barking all the time at Hon. president. But main public body knows the president and his vision is to take Sri Lanka to the next level.

Sri Lanka’s RAMIS online tax collection system “not operatable”: IT Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s online tax collection system RAMIS is “not operatable”, and the Ministry of Information Technology is ready to do for an independent audit to find the shortcomings, State IT Minister Kanaka Herath said.

The Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) was introduced to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) when the island nation signed for its 16th International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in 2016.

However, trade unions at the IRD protested the move, claiming that the system was malfunctioning despite billions being spent for it amid allegations that the new system was reducing the direct contacts between taxpayers and the IRD to reduce corruption.

The RAMIS had to be stopped after taxpayers faced massive penalties because of blunders made by heads of the IT division, computer operators and system errors at the IRD, government officials have said.

“The whole of Sri Lanka admits RAMIS is a failure. The annual fee is very high for that. This should be told in public,” Herath told reporters at a media briefing in Colombo on Thursday (29)

“In future, we want all the ministries to get the guidelines from our ministry when they go for ERP (Enterprise resource planning).”

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government said the RAMIS system will be operational from December last year.

However, the failure has delayed some tax collection which could have been paid via online.

“It is not under our ministry. It is under the finance ministry. We have no involvement with it, but still, it is not operatable,” Herath said.

“So, there are so many issues going on and I have no idea what the technical part of it. We can carry out an independent audit to find out the shortcomings of the software.”

Finance Ministry officials say IRD employees and trade unions had been resisting the RAMIS because it prevents direct interactions with taxpayers and possible bribes for defaulting or under paying taxes.

The crisis-hit island nation is struggling to boost its revenue in line with the target it has committed to the IMF in return for a 3 billion-dollar extended fund facility. (Colombo/Feb 29/2024) 

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Sri Lanka aims to boost SME with Sancharaka Udawa tourism expo

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is hosting Sancharaka Udawa, a tourism industry exhibition which will bring together businesses ranging from hotels to travel agents and airlines, and will allow the small and medium sector build links with the rest of the industry, officials said.

There will be over 250 exhibitors, with the annual event held for the 11th time expected to draw around 10,000 visitors, the organizers said.

“SMEs play a big role, from homestays to under three-star categories,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman, Chalaka Gajabahu told reporters.

“It is very important that we develop those markets as well.”

The Sancharaka Udawa fair comes as the Indian Ocean island is experiencing a tourism revival.

Sri Lanka had welcomed 191,000 tourists up to February 25, compared to 107,639 in February 2023.

“We have been hitting back-to-back double centuries,” Gajabahu said. “January was over 200,000.”

The exhibition to be held on May 17-18, is organized by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators.

It aims to establish a networking platform for small and medium sized service providers within the industry including the smallest sector.

“Homestays have been increasingly popular in areas such as Ella, Down South, Knuckles and Kandy,” SLAITO President, Nishad Wijethunga, said.

In the northern Jaffna peninsula, both domestic and international tourism was helping hotels.

A representative of the Northern Province Tourism Sector said that the Northern Province has 170 hotels, all of which have 60-70 percent occupancy.

Further, domestic airlines from Colombo to Palali and the inter-city train have been popular with local and international visitors, especially Indian tourists. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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Sri Lanka rupee closes at 309.50/70 to the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed at 309.50/70 to the US dollar Thursday, from 310.00/15 on Wednesday, dealers said.

Bond yields were slightly higher.

A bond maturing on 01.02.2026 closed at 10.50/70 percent down from 10.60/80 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 11.90/12.10 percent from 11.90/12.00 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 12.20/25 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.07.2029 closed at 12.30/45 percent up from 12.20/50 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 12.35/50 percent up from 12.25/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 12.55/13.00 percent up from 12.50/90 percent. (Colombo/Feb29/2024)

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