Invest in Lanka’s future
President tells expatriates:
US: President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now on a two-day visit to Los
Angeles, on Thursday urged all Lankans domiciled abroad to invest even
in a small way to secure a brighter future for the country.
President Rajapaksa said the Government was engaged in a massive
development drive encompassing fields. Lankan expatriates’ assistance in
terms of expertise and other avenues would be welcome.
The President was addressing a gathering of Sri Lankans at the
Lankaramaya Buddhist temple in Los Angeles.
“Most expatriates remit funds to Sri Lanka. If you don’t , here’s a
chance to actively contribute to the development process. It can be a
minimal amount - open an NRFC account in your name and remit even as
little as US$ 100 a month. This will go a long way,” he added.
He said the Government was using its own funds for many development
projects, instead of opting for privatisation as an income generating
avenue. The Government established Mihin Lanka, a budget airline, using
Rs.250 million of its own funds. It has now carried more than 80,000
passengers in just four months. Flights to Rome and Seoul will start
“Certain politicians are asking us how this money was procured. Some
NGOs are categorising Sri Lanka as a Failed State. But will banks agree
to lend to a so-called Failed State?,” he asked.
The leading international banks were confident of Lanka’s economic
resilience. The President stressed that his Government had never made
the North-East conflict an excuse to cut development spending.
On the contrary, the Government has kick-started a number of projects
which had been on the drawing board for decades.
The Government aimed to take development to the villages. Several new
expressways are being built to connect the periphery with the Centre.
“This is a new fast track to development for all regions, which will
also create thousands of jobs. There will be a special programme for
rehabilitating and developing the Eastern Province, recently liberated
He outlined the events leading to the total liberation of the East,
from the LTTE’s closure of the Mavilaru anicut to the regaining of
Thoppigala by Security Forces. Apart from these humanitarian missions,
the Government has succeeded in stemming the arms flow to the Tigers.
Commenting on the Government’s stance on peace talks, the President
said the door was open for the LTTE to enter the negotiations process.
“The All Party Representative Committee is working on a political
solution. In a democracy, we have to respect all shades of opinion.” He
alleged that the LTTE was behind the misinformation campaign on the
human rights situation in Sri Lanka.
“They are desperate as they know where we are headed. They want to
stop that,” the President remarked. He urged the expatriates to play a
major role in countering such anti-Sri Lanka propaganda.
“You are our ambassadors. You are patriots. So you are ideally
positioned to give a correct picture of Sri Lanka to the world.”