-By Shantha Jayarathne
(Lanka-e-News -31.July.2023, 11.00PM) In the wake of a devastating economic collapse, Sri Lanka found itself in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, leaving its citizens grappling with despair and uncertainty. Long fuel queues, bare shelves in food stores, and fiery protests painted a heart-wrenching picture of the nation's struggles. While superficial improvements may offer temporary respite, the underlying issues persist, threatening to push millions further into poverty. Reputed organizations like the World Bank's published reports reveal that over 30% of the population lives below the national poverty line, with rural areas bearing the brunt. This dire situation demands a bold and decisive solution - it demands a government that is unwavering in its commitment to progressive change.
The emergence of a new government in May 2022 under the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinnghe brought hope, but signs of relief remain precarious and deceptive. Reports from respected research agencies, both local and international, expose the reality of economic challenges when seeing long queues in places like Divisional Secretariats and government banks to collect their social security payment confirmation letters and to open bank accounts to receive funds. Rural areas are hit particularly hard, exacerbating the hardship for vulnerable communities. We cannot afford to be complacent; meaningful reform and accountability are the need of the hour.
As the cost of essential commodities skyrockets, the plight of millions in lower-income groups worsens. Basic necessities like food, fuel, electricity, and medicines slip out of reach for those who need them most. The World Bank's published statistics reveal that over 20% of Sri Lanka's population is undernourished, and the specter of malnutrition haunts our children. Families are forced to make agonizing choices between food, utilities, and healthcare, compromising their very survival.
Sri Lanka sought a lifeline through a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). However, the conditions attached to this aid have only burdened an already suffering population. Higher taxes, deep cuts to government spending, and welfare program reductions have intensified the hardships faced by the vulnerable. Essential services like education and healthcare have borne the brunt, with public hospitals and schools facing crippling funding cuts. The World Bank's published data confirms that these measures have led to an alarming increase in school dropouts, perpetuating the vicious cycle of poverty.
Sri Lanka stands at a critical juncture, in dire need of a transformative path to recovery. Our nation yearns for true political change, transparency, and a brighter future where the welfare and prosperity of every citizen are prioritized. To achieve sustainable development, we must revitalize key sectors like ICT, export agriculture, value-added exports of mineral products, tourism, and more. But beyond that, we must address the deep-rooted structural issues and tackle corruption head-on, as underscored by the agencies like Transparency International and Global Financial Integrity, a Washington based reputed think tank. Now is the time for bold steps and unwavering dedication.
Sri Lanka's journey to recovery is an arduous one, demanding bold and resolute leadership. Our nation cannot afford to falter in the face of adversity. As it stands today, only a progressive leadership can offer the most compelling and forceful solution to our country's challenges. Let us unite, not just in hope but in action, as we embrace a government that will steer Sri Lanka towards a brighter tomorrow - a government that is unyielding in its commitment to the welfare and well-being of its people. Together, let us rise and build a prosperous and equitable Sri Lanka, under the banner of inclusive governance.
Only a truly progressive party can lead Sri Lanka towards a comprehensive and inclusive solution to its pressing economic and social problems. The educated civil society in the country firmly believes in the essence of this vision. The majority of university academics and professional bodies in the country recognize a party that is committed to equitable growth through a production economy, poverty reduction, and social welfare for the most vulnerable citizens. With a dedication to sustainable economic reforms and transparent governance, this progressive movement offers Sri Lankans a beacon of hope and a path to an equitable and prosperous future.
Former Senior Consultant
Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration
by (2023-07-31 18:02:11)
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