The vast majority of the country’s impartial and non-partisan community is eagerly awaiting the promised formation of the multi-party government. Yet, like all Sri Lankan politicians, great or small, they failed to realize the grim reality of the crisis the country currently finds itself in.
For several weeks, since the appointment of the new president, everyone has been arguing, for and against, the formation of a multiparty government. They don’t seem to realize that time is running out.
Now that the heat of ‘Aragalaya’ has died down sluggishly and unceremoniously, all politicians, both in power and in opposition, seem to take very little interest in the country’s burning issues, including the currency shortage. .
Pro-government politicians appear to be relaxed and slowly returning to their usual practice of making arbitrary, reckless and senseless public statements, quite contrary to the horrific experiences most of them have recently endured. Not to mention anti-government factions, some recent statements by a few pro-government parliamentarians have angered neutral citizens who did not support the violence unleashed by politically incited factions during demonstrations and protests.
As a top priority, the government must take immediate action to ban such statements if they are to continue peacefully. These provocative stories from largely unpopular politicians in the previous government will most likely be extremely damaging to the concept of multiparty governance or any other form of consensus building.
In view of the contradictions that arise day by day, it is difficult to make current forecasts of concrete political stability, even if such an environment is necessary. Everyone, including the general public, social activists, academics and religious leaders, repeatedly calls for political reforms. Yet the politicians who are responsible for making it happen pull in different directions whenever there is a proposal for new changes.
Whether the public approves or not, only politicians can change the political system through a democratic process through parliament. In a democracy, there are no shortcuts or alternatives to bringing about change. However, unfortunately, all political parties want any reform to be done according to their own agenda. So far, the country has not witnessed a single mutual agreement, much less a consensus and consent of all parties on a common reform.
However, the 22nd amendment introduced recently by the Minister of Justice seems to reduce certain powers devolved to the presidential executive that are likely to be reduced. The outgoing president seems to have understood the need to limit executive powers and gave his full agreement to the new amendment.
As expected, the cost of living has skyrocketed over the past few months, inflicting enormous hardship on the general public. Fuel shortages, soaring prices of essential foodstuffs, increases in electricity tariffs and increases in public transport fares have placed a heavy burden on the already ailing nation.
Nevertheless, instead of collectively finding solutions to the problems, some political parties, especially the Jathika Jana Balawegaya and the Frontline Socialist Party (FLSP), are still trying to organize protest campaigns and strikes to further aggravate the national economy. already deteriorated. However, this time around, the public response to such appeals was visibly minimal and the decline in attendance was evident.
President Ranil Wicremesinghe challenged the opposing parties to present their plans to revive the economy without the help of the IMF, the World Bank and other international institutions, and he was heard loud and clear by all. Unfortunately, instead of making a positive proposal or plan of action, some dubious political factions are unjustifiably demanding immediate elections, which could cost well over eleven billion rupees.
The general public is not affected by political statements made by the President or parliamentarians during debates on political decisions. They want to reduce their unbearable burden and, understandably, look to policy makers to achieve this.
The reason for the distinctive slowdown in public outcry is that they have been temporarily relieved of the burden of fuel, LPG and chemical fertilizers to some extent. This relief is by no means satisfactory, but it has somewhat alleviated the inconveniences that have existed for months. However, the president and the government must find better and more stable solutions as soon as possible, before another storm appears.
A recent article has gone viral on social media in the form of a statement by the incumbent Governor of the Central Bank indicating that the country must reconsider the concept of a social government that further promotes long-term poverty. The message further describes that successive governments have promoted this concept of governance for political purposes.
Although the authenticity of the message or statement has not been verified, the content has been accepted and welcomed by the vast majority of people in the country. This is exactly what the country needs to prosper.
Obviously, however, the rightly needy people in the country need help from the government, although a strict monitoring mechanism is a necessity for such a program. The practice in Sri Lanka is so weak that there is evidence that the two allowances of Rs. 5000/- have been slyly offered to many wealthy people. Such practices must be stopped, and politicians, government officials and the general public must be equally aware and responsible.
There are about 400 state enterprises, most of which are engaged in commercial operations. It is no secret that most of these institutions are run by politicians through various ministries. Usually, state enterprises were filled with people based on political recommendations.
Typically, most politicians promise jobs during an election campaign, and the easiest way to deliver on those promises is through public companies. Successive leaders of the country have made no attempt to stop this malpractice in recent decades.
A large majority of state enterprises are run with treasury funds that are collected from all types of taxpayers in the country. Not to mention privatization, any attempt at restructuring made by a government in the past has been rejected by the unions. Even occasional attempts, time and again, sincerely made by ministers, have been crushed by trade unionists through protests and strikes.
Loss-making public enterprises
At this crucial juncture, citizens expect the president and his government to make a conscious effort to restructure or completely privatize all loss-making state-owned enterprises.
While every employee in the private sector contributes to the national economy, employees in loss-making industries contribute to an increase in the country’s poverty by receiving salaries and many other benefits. All citizens are aware that the main reasons for losses in public enterprises are political manipulation, mismanagement and waste.
In an interview with The Economist, President Wickremesinghe recently made an extremely important comment about trade unions. He said he would ignore any resistance from the unions and only respond to the general public.
In recent times, no leader has had the audacity to send such a message to the trade unions which always threaten governments, even on simple issues. The whole country, with the exception of the trade unionists themselves, will be behind the president if he keeps his promises.
The most important thing now is to find ways and means to get out of the current financial crisis, at least as it was before. The best contribution that can be made to the crisis is the country’s vibrant private sector. Unfortunately, due to the current problems, mainly the shortage of fuel and other difficulties that arise from such a shortage,
Currently, not only small and medium enterprises are facing many problems, but also the employees of these organizations are facing the threat of job loss. Therefore, the top priority of the current government is to launch programs to help the Sri Lankan MSME sector, which has the highest employment rate in Sri Lanka, to recover and get back on its feet.