We were told that “Sri Lanka’s fuel imports spiked by more than 50 percent in December, 2016, compared to a year earlier. Vehicle imports slowed down, following the new loan-to-value (LTV) restrictions introduced by the CBSL. The trade deficit widened by 16 percent in December, compared to a year earlier, and 2016 was widened by a sharp 8.4 percent to USD 9.09 billion.
If the current signs are of things to come, and the global economy moves into a phase of sustained recovery over the remainder of this decade, Sri Lankan exports have a strong opportunity to take advantage of this. Especially as exports are still largely reliant on traditional markets of the US and EU, any recovery in these markets will benefit Sri Lankan exports. Yet, in order to be truly resilient, the focus must also be on entering into new markets and enhancing the competitiveness of our exports.”
In this context, when president says that country is heading towards a very positive and strong economic stability with foreign reserves too exceeding USD 5 billion, people may become optimistic.
Some time back, while pledging to not privatize state institutions, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe promised to boost the country’s economy and double the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2023. Later, he said, “We will take this country forward, without family rule.” He added, “We won’t privatize state institutions, but we will also make sure they will not be a burden to the public.”
The Premier also said that the government will not increase the taxes on the essential items, while carrying out work to develop the country with the assistance of the international community. Wickremesinghe also promised a new salary scheme for public servants, which will be introduced by 2020.
Though one could be optimistic about economic indications, there are strong misgivings on the side of the human rights issue. It is considered insolent to say that Missing person may be hiding in a foreign country, reluctant to come back, for several reasons.
Maybe more than 4,000 fled to overseas countries during the last stages of war; however, until the truth is out, these will be counted as those ‘went missing’. That is exactly why a powerful truth commission is necessary. Until then, according to state statistics, it shows a loss of nearly 150,000 from North East. It is true that Paranagama Commission did a report on this matter, and about 14,000 disappearances were identified. Report itself admits the investigation was done under difficult conditions; hence, this figure is not accepted, and with UN's support, a new investigation has been launched by this government. Anybody interested in a solution should support and expedite this effort of Yahapalanaya. Of course, Paranagama did a committed job under difficulties.
In order to complete the efforts of great man, we must go forward, not backwards. what should be done is to use the mechanism introduced to gather information about the missing people to identify suffering of each family, and if there are needy people among them, to pay compensation and implement policies that would be strong enough to avoid a recurrence of a similar situation.
There is an allegation that some ministers are tight-lipped on the so-called hunting of war heroes, and that the president is influenced by them.
However, all agree that there were about 150,000 of security forces who were involved in the military operation.
There could be small groups out of them who dared in committing personal crimes. On the other hand, it is clear there were two organized factions. One was acting on the orders given by those of the MR regime.
It is very clear that the killing of Lasantha Wickrematunga and the disappearance of Prageeth Eknaligoda took place in that environment. There were accusations leveled against others in power over the abduction of Eknaligoda. These stories were related quite often.
The people’s judiciary has now proved who was behind it, and who did it. Rajapaksas should be responsible for Eknaligoda abduction; because it had been done by the security and intelligence units. He was abducted on several occasions before that as well. Now the whole story is out.
The CID had recorded evidence. Those who accused others now know who was behind it. But some say courts are yet to prove it. But people’s verdict has already been made. There are many other groups who committed crimes personally.
They have not been directed by the Rajapaksas, but by fascist motivation; also on their own for earning ransom or demand a payment. These have to be investigated in a transparent manner.