COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s Treasury Secretary PB Jayasundera said he wished for President Mahinda Rajapaksa to remain the Indian Ocean island’s president until 2020.
Jayasundera speaking at a Central Bank presentation of a roadmap for 2015, which had economic targets until 2020 praised Rajapaksa – who is also finance minister – for his "committed, bold, sensitive" leadership.
"I want to express my gratitude to His Excellency the President and wish he would be president for 2020 as well," he said to a round of applause from listening bankers and businessmen.
President Rajapaksa is seeking a third term in January 08 polls after changing a constitution that limited him to two.
His challenger, former health minister Maithripala Sirisena who defected to the opposition, is promising to re-establish rule of law and make the public service independent by re-instating another section of the constitution that was abolished by Rajapaksa.
Rajapaksa is seeking re-lection just as the economy is recovering from a burst credit bubble and the currency was depreciated from 110 to 130 levels in 2012 driving inflation to nearly 20 percent according to price index compiled by a private firm, though the official rate was lower.
Fiat currency depreciation is the single most effective tool discovered by modern European rulers to mass-impoverish population and impose more economic hardships on the less affluent.
Jayasundera said the country needed stability, consistency and continuity. He said he had seen many 100 day programs starting from 1970 that could not even be sustained for as many days.
An economic manifesto of the opposition, contained a series of spending plans including salary and pension increments for state workers and cuts in oil prices and more dangerously guaranteed prices for products like rubber at a time when global commodity prices are falling.
Jayasundera said at his age he was planning to write his memoirs and also about economics. "Who knows I may get the Noble prize" he said to chuckles from the audience.
"The topic is, I was watching TV debate the other day and they are telling: We increase salaries, we increase pensions, we increase Samurdhi (sic). All Expenditure.
"But we remove all taxes. No tax on oil. No tax on commodities.
"So I took a note somewhere and said ‘No revenue budget making.’ Because ultimately you have to pay for all expenditure."
No government can give ‘benefits’ or any service to the people without taxing them, borrowing and indebting their children or the worst option, printing money and generating currency depreciation and inflation.
In 2012 the rupee fell because energy subsidies financed by state bank loans – ultimately accommodated by printed money through sterilized foreign exchange sales – generated an unsustainable credit bubble that collapsed into a balance of payments crisis.