The National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka (NCE) in a statement expressed satisfaction on the statement made by President on May 11 that a Prime Minister and a Cabinet will be appointed within a week, revoke 20th Amendment to the Constitution and work towards abolishing the Executive Presidency.
NCE also wish to highlight the fact stated by the Governor of the Central Bank Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe on 10th May, if a stable Government is not put in place in 2 weeks ( 24th May) country will face dire economic consequences.
It is of paramount urgency and importance, the elected representatives of the people, The President and the Members of Parliament workout together in establishing a Government with a Prime Minister before 24th May to avoid a catastrophic situation in the Country. Should they fail, however amount of protest or civil descent will not place Sri Lanka on the track to recovery and the damage may be beyond repairs.
The peaceful anti-government protest which began a few weeks ago, demanding social, economic and political changes was disturbed by recent attacks in Colombo and other parts of the country. National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka strongly opposes violence and destruction of public property by any individual or group intensifying the socio-economic unrest in the country.
The NCE reiterate whilst emergency laws are enacted to maintain law and order of the land, they should not obstruct the fundamental rights of the people including voice descent. The NCE further calls on all citizens to act responsibly in these challenging times maintaining peace and harmony among all sectors of society.
While endorsing the proposal submitted by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to restore political and economic stability, NCE wishes to endorse the statements made by BASL regarding allegations of lack of accountability and transparency and the perception of the existence of rampant corruption which had led to the political and socio-economic unrest.
Representing the Exporters of Sri Lanka, the NCE further stated that exports, being the only sector presently generating a steady inflow of foreign currency to the economy has been severely hampered by the prevailing unfavorable state of the country.”
“They are struggling to sustain businesses and many of the SMEs are on the verge of closing down operations, the result will further burden the government due to unemployment. The alarming state of depleting foreign currency reserves, and shortage of fuel and energy have all led to extreme difficulties for the people of Sri Lanka.’’ The country’s economy was already in a fragile state before the pandemic, lacking the required ability to buffer to withstand shocks and vulnerability can mainly be attributed to a lack of fiscal space. All these are results of wrong decisions made by the Political and Public officials of this country leading to economic fallouts and scarring effects on livelihoods.”
According to the NCE, the exporter fraternity are highly concerned with note statements made by several organizations about misappropriated assets of the country worth billions of dollars. Misappropriation and illegal transfer of national funds can be termed as a felony as these are the hard-earned coinage of Sri Lankan citizens. The exporters endured numerous challenges even during the outbreak of the pandemic to earn much needed foreign currency income to the country and then to realize that such funds are being siphoned out illegally is causing worries.
The Chamber always stands firm concerning the remittance of export proceeds and has on numerous occasions publicly stated the need to streamline the processes and establish a strong monitoring mechanism to ensure the funds are remitted to the country within the stipulated time frame.
Being the exclusive Trade Chamber representing Sri Lankan Exporters, the NCE has previously proposed the authorities mandate the Fiscal Policy of the country and emphasised the importance of introducing a proper mechanism to collect tax revenue. On the misappropriation of funds, the NCE calls on the relevant authorities to investigate and take legal action on a high priority level.
The authorities must coordinate with local and international agencies in seeking professional assistance to uncover funds that were illegally removed from the system and felons to be brought under the spotlight of the law.