Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Voting Rights – A sensible suggestion by the BBS – Why have the main political parties not signed on?

The BBS has urged the Govt. to give voting rights to SL expatriates working and living overseas. This is something I have advocated in this blog previously, as it is quite common amongst many countries including the USA so to do.

Of course it cannot be done overnight, and some planning has to take place, with the foreign missions which will be tasked with carrying this out, having to put in procedures, to ensure transparency and minimize fraud, something with a foreign service staffed by friends, family, and fraudsters will be hard-pressed to do presently.

Estimates vary, but I believe there are approximately 2Million eligible voters over 18 who are Sri Lankan citizens overseas. Their vote can make a significant impact on the result of the elections, and at present it is difficult to gauge who will benefit from their enfranchisement.

I suspect it will affect the large scale vote buying, where no end of goodies are offered just prior to elections, as that is something that cannot be done with the expatriates. The added importance of the expatriates, is that they directly contribute US$10B in remittances annually to the economy, which then with the multiplier effect is completely responsible for all the non-borrowed development that has taken place in Sri Lanka. Put simply, if the economy was allowed to have made market decisions, with NO Govt. interference, and corruption, the economy would have grown at a much higher rate, and the peace dividend accruing to the people would have spread much more equitably.

It is only when the Govt. taxes this money, gives the remitters a low exchange rate (another hidden tax to them) and then borrows at high interest rate also, and take all this money, and divide the spoils amongst a few greedy sycophants, the gains to the economy are merely shared amongst a few as is, without any doubt the case in Sri Lanka today.

If the reader has followed my train of thought carefully, it is pretty obvious that had this suggested change been policy for sometime,  the Country would definitely have been a much better place, in better condition, and both the rule of law, and the level of governance would have ensured a better foundation from which this economy could grow. There are plenty of international examples of the benefit of this massive inflow of free money into the economy, and so we must make it POLICY