Explaining the economic policy of the future SJB government, Eran Wickramaratne M.P. said that the SJB has already decided to allow the use of chemical fertilizer in order to promote export- oriented value -added commercial agriculture.
He also said that future SJB government will give priority to exports and the government will mediate directly to seek foreign market opportunities for small and medium scale entrepreneurs. Actions would also be taken to provide the required technology to SME sectors on a priority basis. Further, in order to give equal opportunity for women in obtaining employment in the private sector, a scheme will be introduced to provide financial relief for maternity leave to private sector employees.
Speaking further at a media briefing held at the Opposition Leader’s Office in Colombo on the theme ‘The Right Path to the Economy’, Mr. Wickremaratne said,
The crisis that started with the food shortages under this government which has no economic policy or plan has now spread to all sectors of the economy, leading to a collapse in exports and a large number of unemployment due to import restrictions on intermediary goods used for exports without dollars.
This government came in to office by spreading falsehoods, inciting racism and with distorted public opinion as it had no policies for governance. The Thera of Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya performed a drama of a Cobra emerging from Kelani river with a sacred relic ,then had a play on arrest of ‘Ranaviruvan’, later staged a play on ‘MCC’ agreement and made another play about the Singapore Free Trade Accord. Now the entire country has realized that this government knows nothing about governance, economic and financial management.
Now they are making a soundtrack and using it to get the Attorney General to withdraw cases against politicians of the ruling family and their cronies. Now the latest drama is about chemical fertilizers, power cuts and gas explosions.
At a time when everything has turned upside down under this government, some ministers have started preaching to deceive the people saying that they should think positively. The government is now creating a dream of the future by misleading the people forgetting the reality.
The Governor of the Central Bank has told a foreign channel on January 24 that Sri Lanka has all the food stocks that it needs.
“But when you go to a shop, you are given only one packet of milk powder per customer. A notice to that effect has also been displayed. Don’t MPs and ministers see this reality? The government advises people to be positive in the face of such market crisis. In order to do so, there must be clarity about the government’s policies and programmes.” Eran asked.
The economy that exists in this country is where not even a bag of cement is freely available. A delegation from the packaging industry told us that there was no corrugated paper in the market. Shortage of intermediary goods to manufacture cartons for export of goods, not only disrupts exports but also leads to the collapse of local industries and unemployment. The food crisis in the country has spread one by one and affected the entire sectors but the government has no practical solution.
The current economic and financial crisis is unique to Sri Lanka. It is important to critically examine as to why it happened to Sri Lanka alone. In March 2020, Corona epidemic was reported. In the second quarter of 2020, the apparel industry fell by 42 percent. Construction fell by 30 percent.Tourism, which had a direct impact on Corona, fell by 64%. Consumption also declined during this time.
Inflation has now risen sharply due to rising commodity prices due to short supply. The MP said the government, without realizing the depth, was deluded into believing that the issue could be resolved by printing money.
The Colombo Consumer Price Index for January 2022 is 14.2 % was up from 12.1%, in December 2021 and food inflation was 25%. Accordingly, Sri Lanka has been ranked as the 12th country in the world where inflation has risen rapidly. This government will soon make it the first country in the world.
The control and handling of the market without any policy or basis has led to increase the prices of rice – samba, red rice and nadu rice, milk powder, dhal vegetables, dried chillies, potato onion gas etc. by about 30% to 150%. Before providing solutions to present crises the economic experts should make a thorough study on the issue to arrive at a decision whether these were due to issues in supply, production or demand side.
The government’s ill-advised solution of money will definitely further aggravate the situation creating more hardships to the people. Therefore, Mr. Eran Wickramaratna said that further increase in inflation cannot be prevented.