Last week, the Sri Lankan government ran front page adverts in two national newspapers, outlining a number of benefits it would give the citizens in the coming months.
These front pages caught the attention of even the most non avid reader, obviously with the attractive proposals outlined. One proposal went as far as to say that the government was now ready to offer the biggest pension increase in Sri Lankan history while another proposal read that there would be ‘unparalleled benefits offered to all from today (July 1).’
While these proposals are indeed eye catching, I as a normal citizen of this country would like to question this government to why these proposals are mentioned now, just months before they are expected to face the polls and return back home for being the worst performing government in Sri Lankan history.
By outlining these proposals, this government has not only made a joke of the general public, but they have also shamelessly pointed out that by ‘offering’ these proposals 4 years late, they indeed have failed us all.
This government was sworn to power in 2015, pledging to bring about a so called change and perform better than the Rajapaksa government. They pledged to bring in more FDIs, create one million jobs and even mentioned to bring in mega investments such as their infamous Volkswagon plant which turned out to be nothing by a farce.
Their jokes and lies have gone on for 4 years, even as much as till March this year, when it spent millions just to lay the foundation stone for a so called mega oil refinery in Hambantota, which they claimed was Sri Lanka’s largest FDI. The government claimed the refinery was on a joint partnership between the UNP government, a Singaporean firm, which is owned by a controversial Indian and the Oman Oil Ministry. They made much a do about it back then but could answer no questions when they were questioned about it in Parliament.
Now, just four months later, there is absolute no talk about this so called largest FDI. In fact no one in the government is ready to talk about it now when questioned. What happened then to all the pledges they made to the Hambantota people when the foundation stone was laid? Was that all just a facade once again?
There are many such proposals which this government pledged right throughout their tenure. Some of these so called popular proposals included their free wifi, which Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pledged to offer before the end of 2018. Speaking at a function on Feb 6, 2018, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said the free wifi facility would be implemented in April (last year) for the first time and each village would be connected by the end of 2018. Our very homourous Prime Minister went as far as to quip that the UNP had been in the opposition for ten years and now that they were in power, they would not allow the country to go back to the ‘Pohottu’ era.
Well Mr Prime Minister, maybe the end of 2018 has still not dawned for you as the entire country is yet awaiting for the free wifi service and villages are desperately waiting to be connected through this splendid service of the UNP.
Then proposed Free Trade Agreements with certain countries are also but talk. Year on year, since 2015, we have been hearing the government boasting that it is working on signing FTA’s with several countries for the benefit of our business community but we have almost reached an election. Maybe the talks are still continuing and we may reach a so called outcome just days before an election, just to woo voters.
Then the government’s pledge of launching new export processing zones only came true in March this year when Prime Minister Wickremesinghe launched the Bingiriya Export processing Zone which will be completed in 15 years. If the government had considered launching this a little sooner maybe by now even the first stage would have neared completion.
Then in 2014, when the government was campaigning for the elections, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said a UNP government would create 1 million jobs in Sri Lanka within 5 years by establishing export oriented industries in the country.
However, today 4 years later, rather than creating more jobs, unemployment has risen by a further 4.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Maybe the 1 million is only a dream just like all other pledges and we are yet to see the establishment of these so called export processing zones.
The list goes on and on. There is no end to the pledges made by the UNP government to mislead the public during the 2015 elections and the four year after that. Instead of working for the benefit of the citizens of this country, what the UNP government was successful in doing was carrying out the Bond Scam which was the largest fraud in Sri Lankan history, then suspending international projects as part of a political revenge against the Rajapaksas, thereby dampening investor confidence and accusing the Rajapaksas over allegations which they are yet to prove.
And now four years later, Sri Lanka is in shambles. The country’s national security has been compromised, over 250 people have died in terrorist attacks, the President and UNP government are at loggerheads, there is a severe blame game ongoing, corruption is rampant, there are dangerous agreements such as SOFA being discussed, the economy is in dire straits, people are living in financial difficulties, racism is rampant and we are being taxed for almost everything we do. Maybe this is the so called good governance which the UNP had planned for this country just to get away with their misdeeds.
In a few months is the much awaited presidential polls. Sri Lanka still has a chance to rise once again with the guidance of a powerful leader and government. We citizens have had enough. It is time to send this failing government home.