NPP MP Vijitha Herath told Parliament yesterday that there will be no improvement in the country’s manufacturing economy even if the Government gets the IMF facility.
He said that will only lead to more and more debts.
Herath said this while joining the debate on three regulations under the Motor Traffic Act.
“In order to obtain a loan from the IMF, the Government has to fulfill 15 conditions. As a result, the tax burden was increased. The electricity and water bills were increased as were the prices of fuel and gas. So the negotiations with IMF went well. On the one hand, the Central Bank Governor says that the economy is stabilizing and there is money. However, the Finance Secretary says that there is no money. This is contradictory. Now what this Government should do is go for an election without using various tricks to postpone the vote. We request the government to bow down to the court’s decision and conduct the election,” Herath said.
A majority of the people do not demand for an election at this present juncture. There are many problems in the country. The economy is going through difficult times affecting the livelihoods of many people, Agriculture Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said.
“Some have lost their jobs with the economic crisis. It is necessary to confirm the trust of our country in the international community. In such a situation, solutions cannot be found only by holding elections. As the Minister of Agriculture, I go to some part of the country every weekend and meet the public. Those people are asking for a suitable environment to indulge in their daily chores and livelihoods and not elections. It is not the public that needs elections today, but only certain political parties,” said Minister Amaraweera.
The Minister was speaking at a public meeting on Monday in the Weeraketiya area to distribute nutritional food items to pregnant mothers.
“Elections should be held in a democratic country. Postponing elections is not a good thing. But today we are not living in a normal country. Rather than looking for those who created the crises. What should be done now is to provide solutions to the existing crises. Today, the people say no to all 225 Parliamentarians. If that is the case, what should be done now is for all these people to come together and rescue the country from the precipice that it has fallen into, not by creating anarchy in the country by holding protests and picketing calling for elections to be held,” the Minister said.
“The country, which had fallen for three years is now in a position to breathe again. The tourism industry returned to normal with at least 120,000 foreign tourists visiting the country this March. More than 200,000 tourists have visited the country in the last two months. There are no more queues for oil and gas. The country which had power cuts for 12 to 13 hours daily is not provided electricity round the clock. For the first time in the last two days, our rupee has strengthened again,” Minister Amaraweera said.
“As soon as the IMF funds are received, a number of other international organizations and donor agencies continue to come forward to support us. Also, many powerful countries of the world are working with us. President Ranil Wickremesinghe has proved today that he is a visionary leader. He has a good vision. He has good experience in conflict management. Therefore, what the people calling for elections should do today is not to drag the country further into the abyss by resorting to strike action, but act with the country’s best interest at heart. As politicians we are all responsible for these crises,” the Minister said.
“Our country is becoming self-sufficient in rice again after four years. There is no need to import rice to this country again. Currently, there is a surplus of rice in the country. Some political parties told various lies to get the farmers out of the fields. They tried to farmers’ keep away from the paddy fields. But the peasants, who did not even border them, cultivated their fields. This year, we will also reach self-sufficiency in crops such as green gram, cowpea, groundnuts, sesame and Kurakkan. Also, we produce 25-30 percent of the chilies we need this year. By 2025, we will produce at least 80 percent of the chili we need. Therefore, the need of today is not elections, but a suitable country for the people to live in,” Minister Amaraweera said.