An unprecedented increase in the cost of Fuel was suddenly imposed without warning and there hardly seems to be a whimper of complaint let alone a spontaneous uprising. In other countries this could give rise to an immediate revolution and even an overthrow of the government in power. Students of Politics should try to explain this phenomenon. Is it that we are sufficiently affluent not to bother or is it that we are too complacent to complain and will only join in when there are others agitating on our behalf? I do not have an answer to this except to say that the tolerance level for punishment in the Sri Lankan body politic has proved to be extremely high, and the Govt. knows it and benefits from it.
This is a very worrying development, which has now enabled the people in power to rob the wealth of the nation with impunity, which I refer to as daylight robbery on a massive scale at every turn of one’s head. Is this a sign of things to come, where the Rajapkses have tested the waters? They have done the opinion research and realized that there will NOT be a revolt, so they calmly raised the prices, with a hint of some sort of subsidy that will hopefully give some relief for the poor, knowing full well that they have no intention of keeping any promise.
We will in days to come see one increase after another, coinciding with the need to raise wages first in the government sector and then in the Private Sector, neither of which the employers are able to concede, as the fuel shock has pervaded through both sectors, rendering some private businesses instantly loss making from being profitable. The resulting government taxation loss turning establishments from profit to loss is another burden the people of the country have to bear, as the government has shown NO intention of cutting the cost and trying to economize in order to face the difficult times ahead.
It is just a matter of time before further devaluation is upon us, first to Rs125 to the dollar and then when this is not sufficient to Rs150 to the dollar to make working overseas the only option for many of our enterprising citizens in order to provide for their families. The huge economic mismanagement of the Rajapakse Regime and its impact will only surface in time, when all of the culprits will be relaxing in the French Riviera having raided the coffers of the state bare, much in the way the old dictators of the Latin American Banana Republics did to their citizens.
This is an appeal to all thinking citizens of the country to stop being greedy and think for a moment of what your inaction will do to the future of the country, when you are in a position to make a change for the betterment of our country now.
To take a few examples to illustrate this point, I ask the reader, do you remember just a year ago how the pundits in power were talking about our stock market being the Asia’s or the World’s top performer? We were so drunk with sound bites that even then we failed to realize that not one red cent had come then, or in the 3 years since the end of hostilities from abroad to make this feat. It was all internally generated speculation, boosted by Government Leaders and their friends raiding the EPF coffers of our people for personal gain. The true figures are only now coming to light, when one sees the 100 Billion rupee loss those investments have now shown, while the pockets of those who were lined have filled their own. Now it is the world’s worst performing stock market! Quite a feat for the Chinthanaya!!!
I have said before and will repeat, “ALL development we have seen is thanks to the US$25Billion remitted by our citizens from work and savings from overseas, and the multiplier effect of that. If not for government waste and high interest rate borrowings from Chinese Banks, we could have seen a higher rate of growth”. We were therefore living under a false sense of security as the Government was taking the praise for actually stifling growth if truth be told. If the Rupee had held its true value of Rs130 to the dollar, we would have had a much higher growth rate and these remittances would have yielded a greater value to the recipients, enabling an even more effective allocation of resources to private sector led growth.
It is now down to convincing the duped public that there was mismanagement of the economy at embarrassingly large proportions, and the culprits are still trying to put a spin on it, blaming the IMF or USA or the Iranian oil embargo. It has NOTHING to do with them at all. When you go broke, you go to a bank for a lifeline, the bank insists on certain conditions before they are willing to lend any money, and so it is only prudent banking the IMF is performing here.
It is not too late to cut the 100 + ministers and their perks, cars and security. It is simply not necessary, and in fact a burden. We have tolerated this nonsense and deserve to be in this mess. We believed in confidence tricksters. How can anyone allow an uneducated thug behind the scenes to determine Stock Market Broker Credit policy just because he has the ear of the President who does not understand the nuances of Investment? All the small investors have lost their savings.
It is not too late to allow the management of the economy to technocrats who know what they are doing instead of sycophants who are only interested in lining their pockets. There is some deep pain ahead for the economy due to the misbehavior of those we have elected, but an immediate change of direction will prevent an apocalypse which we do not deserve and CAN avoid if we act NOW.