World-renowned scientist to help SL solve environmental problems – The Island
… says the government. mixed up his priorities
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Former DEW Minister Gunasekera said the cash-strapped government could not afford the much-publicized 229 billion rupee relief package.
Therefore, the former Communist Party general secretary said the government had no choice but to print more money at the expense of financial stability at a time when the country was under enormous pressure. The former minister left the post of party leader in August 2020.
CP organ ‘Aththa’, in its 09 January 2022 edition, quoted the former lawmaker as having alleged that the Rs 229 billion relief package for the public sector, pensioners and Samurdhi beneficiaries did not was nothing more than a political strategy to revive the government’s waning popularity.
Stating that he had no problem with the government providing relief to the public sector and others, the ex-MP warned that such measures would not help solve the growing crisis. The outspoken former minister said the controversial relief package should be viewed against the backdrop of the government’s failure to allocate the necessary funds under the 2022 budget.
Mr. Gunasekera was a national list MP for the last time from 2010 to 2015.
Reiterating that such a decision had been necessitated by political constraints, the communist veteran warned of the serious risk of rising inflation. The PC member questioned the lack of a mechanism to help those in the private sector, small and medium enterprises as well as the unregulated economy. The much weakened national economy could only be revived if the government paid attention to the neglected sectors.
The veteran politician explained how the global outbreak of Covid-19 has devastated the unregulated economy around the world. However, the government did not consider the fuller picture. Instead, the government has sought to use the financial package to counter dissent in government.
The ex-minister said that even though the printing of money caused inflation, the government could have achieved positive results if the full amount had been used to increase national production. If this had happened, the government could have achieved its political and economic objectives.
The former MP said outgoing Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa still did not understand the developing economic crisis.
Mr Gunasekera told The Island that the private sector, including plantation companies, had clearly rejected the government’s demand to match the special rupees. Monthly subsidy of 5,000 to employees. The government does not appear to have looked into the situation at all, the former MP said, saying the current crisis could be the worst Sri Lanka has seen after independence.
Continued political instability following serious differences between coalition members, with three ministers challenging a cabinet decision in the Supreme Court, has undermined recovery attempts, Gunasekera said.
The former chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) stressed the critical importance of a real effort to build consensus on the country’s response to the emerging threat. “We are almost overwhelmed. Unless tangible action is taken, there can be a disaster. The losses will likely be immeasurable and irrevocable.