He said that former President J.R.Jayewardene, when creating an open economy, stated in 1977, that in order to develop a country, a permanent policy that does not change must be pursued for 20 to 25 years, Wickremesinghe said.
He was addressing a function virtually, held by the UNP on the 115th birth anniversary of former President J.R. Jayewardene. This was the inaugural conference of the “75 Online Conferences” programme planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the United National Party.
“The best example we can take to develop Sri Lanka is the programme of J. R.Jayewardene, the pioneer of modernisation of this country. In 1977, he sought to modernize the country that had been devastated. Less than six months after coming to power, he introduced the open economy. The Mahaweli movement was started to make the most of it. In 2003, we were able to become self-sufficient in rice because of the harvest. The Mahaweli Project increased power generation fivefold and provided electricity to many areas that were without electricity,” Wickremesinghe stated.
Moreover, he said that two Trade Zones were established for the export industry during the tenure of former President J. R. Jayewardene. “Looking at our export zones, Singapore and China decided to start their own trade zones. Apart from that, he introduced fundamental rights via the Constitution and gave the Supreme Court the power to enforce them. He said that 20 to 25 years a country should go by without changing a permanent policy. He was of the opinion that the country could be developed only if that happened,” Wickremesinghe said.
Wickremesinghe also added that China’s open economy began after our country and leaders in China have changed from then until today, but they have not changed their policies. “Singapore and Japan are other examples; although the leaders were changed, policies remained the same”, he added.
“We can learn two things from president J.R Jayewardene; one is policy, the other, party and the country’s leadership.”After 17 years of UNP rule, policies were changed. In 2001 the country’s economy collapsed.