- Says Govt. policy statement presented by President lacks any coherent vision despite grand rhetoric
- Claims it is solely comprised of outdated IMF policies which have led to downfall of countries
- Accuses President of creating a political and constitutional crisis to mask an emerging economic crisis arising from IMF policies
- Stresses upcoming Presidential poll must serve as a platform to discuss SL’s economic policies
|FPC Member and MP
Prof. Charitha Herath
Member of the Freedom People’s Congress (FPC) and MP Prof. Charitha Herath yesterday sharply criticised the Government’s policy statement presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday and said that it lacked any coherent vision despite the grand rhetoric.
Participating in the parliamentary debate on the policy statement yesterday, Herath remarked that it solely comprised outdated IMF policies, which historically resulted in nations relying on begging bowls. He emphasised the absence of any alternative policies within the statement.
“This nation is presently grappling with a severe political and economic crisis. The Governmental leaders’ political rhetoric is only worsening these crises,” he remarked.
He observed that the President has delivered five policy statements within a mere 14-month period, along with two budgets, amidst numerous internal conflicts.
As per the MP, the economic crisis has been unfolding since 2008 and encompasses three dimensions. The MP highlighted that Sri Lanka faces a balance of payment crisis due to its unsustainable import costs, a budget deficit resulting from heightened government expenditure compared to revenue, and substantial debt accumulated in efforts to address these challenges.
“Ranil Wickremesinghe was a leader in governments that accumulated these debts. Yet, he rather pompously claimed yesterday that we must repay $ 91 billion in debt. At least $ 16 billion of this debt was incurred during the tenure of the government he led as Prime Minister from 2015 to 2019,” he noted. He remarked that the President is now criticising a process of which he was an integral part.
The MP also accused the President of deliberately instigating a severe political crisis in the country, with the aim of overshadowing the emerging economic crisis resulting from the government’s decision to seek financial assistance from the IMF. “Rather than addressing the economic crisis, we seem to be generating a political crisis to conceal it,” he remarked. Herath further asserted that the President is not stopping there, and he is also actively working to create a constitutional crisis in Sri Lanka by challenging the decisions of the Constitutional crisis. In response to President Wickremesinghe’s mention of Greece and its economic crisis in the presented statement, Herath remarked that it was ironic and even humorous, given that seeking IMF support, as Sri Lanka has now done, was a contributing factor to Greece’s downfall. “The entire world began to speak of IMF’s politics thereafter,” he noted.
The MP said the upcoming Presidential election must serve as a platform to discuss Sri Lanka’s economic policies. “The Presidential election will only have two factions this time around. Crony capitalism and those opposing it,” he added.
Herath proposed that Sri Lanka should adopt an economic system that safeguards indigenous industries, provides room for entrepreneurship within the state, and ensures state welfare measures.