The Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka programmes are the result of the current victories and a good omen for a future victory as well, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
He said the support of the his ministry as well as Ministers of Finance, Home Affairs and Local Government and highways will be obtained to make these programmes which have been revived a success, while a batch of 750 officers recruited to the Samurdhi movement would be deployed to co-coordinate the Gamperaliya programme.
The Prime Minister was speaking at a ceremony at Temple Trees on February 2 to introduce the Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka Programme for the year 2019.
The Prime Minister invited all to join hands in making these two programes a success.
The Prime Minister said he wished to state that Gamperaliya was introduced because the government faced a great challenge when it assumed office in 2015. They had to take change of a country which was divided and marginalised by the international community.
“The country was engulfed in a grave debt trap. The former President and his government had run away because they could not resolve these problems,” the Prime Minister said.
“Although they thought that no government would be able to resolve these problems, we took up this challenge to pull the country out of the mess it was put into by the former regime,” the Premier said.
“Although they thought we would follow the steps taken by Greece and prune workers’ salaries, the first step we took after taking the challenge was to increase workers’ salaries,” he said.
The Prime Minister said no other government in Sri Lanka’s history had to bear such a colossal debt burden. This year alone we had to pay back 5600 million US dollars as debt.
“The largest slice of government income went for the repayment of debt rather than the payment of salaries or other development work,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said the government after taking office rebuilt confidence in the country. He said he agreed that various problems like the increase in the Cost of Living, during this period imposing unnecessary burdens on the people.
“A crisis of this nature occurred due to the sins of past rulers. Despite this, the government did not shirk on its responsibilities and during the first year itself, allocated Rs. 1 million to each part of the country for development work. During the next few years, massive amounts of funds was allocated for the development of the Health and Education sectors. We were also able to usher in vast development in the education sector where new school buildings were built and a system of examinations were introduced to select principals. The Suraksha Insurance Scheme was introduced for the benefit of schoolchildren and their parents,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.
“The government has also developed the road network from rural revel upto the Central Expressway project.Drinking water was provided for those people who did not have these facilities.
As Minister Samraweera stated, journalists are offered a loan of Rs. 5 million under the Gamperaliya programme. They had ended the era where journalists were killed in broad daylight. But, certain media institutions did not highlight the development work undertaken by the government.
“The government had launched development in all spheres which will be tangible to the people,” the Premier said. The Prime Minister said when he was first elected as an MP, he only received Rs.300,000 for development work for the first year. But today an MP receives almost 10,100 or 1000 times that allocation.
He would request spent this after discussion with members of Provincial Councils, MCs and local council. Spent from this funds were allocated for members of Pradehsiya Sabhas and Provincial Council for development purposes.
The Prime Minister said an export economy should be introduced to make the people rich. Plans had been formulated for this purpose too.
The Prime Minister said it was through an export economy that past kings were developed the country. Some have entertained fears that the government would win the next election if the Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka programmes achieved success.
“Although they took charge of a divided country. They have been able to bring all parties together to accept the concept of a united and undivided country. This decision had evaded us for the last 70 years,” he added.
“Today, we have established democracy and built a society where all communities could live in peace and dignity. We have established a free media. The Opposition had been ensured unbridled freedom to criticise the government at any length. The people did not wish to lose the social background the government had built up,” the Prime Minister said. The Prime Minister said we will achieve success in all the programmes launched by us including Gamperaliya. We are not afraid to face any election, because we will win all elections and no force would be able to prevent it.
“The UNP will contest the next election as a new coalition named the United National Front and win with a big majority of seats. This would further expedite development activities. I would invite Parliamentarians who do not belong to the front to join with them and carry the work forward and show results to the country,” the Prime Minister said.
(Source: Daily News)