|At last, we now have a Government Policy Statement that
looks like a Policy Statement
Happily however, in a departure from this dubious tradition, the one that was announced by the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe this week, had all the ingredients of a statesman-like statement, with a refreshing flavour of future action and the clear enunciation of a political and economic framework for the country to follow over the next few years. It is therefore heartening that a planned approach is being taken by the Ranil Wickremesinghe Government to tackle the deep rooted causes of the three major problems confronting the country, rather than attempting to find adhoc solutions, or take a "sticking plaster" approach to solving these problems.
On the vitally important front of bringing peace, the Prime Minister has lucidly explained the approach that his Government is hoping to take, including inter alia, the methodology to be adopted, the processes to be set in motion, and the parameters to be followed during the discussions and negotiations leading towards peace. This open stance is certainly welcome and I am sure the sincerity of his approach is bound to lead the international community, the Sinhala and Tamil speaking people as well as the Muslim population to repose their trust and confidence in him.
The Prime Minister has also set out the measures to be taken to revive the economy from the depths that it has fallen into. In his customary calm manner, he has listed out the factual position with regard to the major areas of concern, viz. GNP growth, public debt, debt of major institutions, etc. Whilst these alarming figures portray the enormity of the challenge before the Government, all Sri Lankans would be encouraged that the remedies and the new initiatives suggested by the Prime Minister are practical and pragmatic and would lay the foundation to redeem this nation.
The set up of 5 economic zones to foster and promote agriculture, trade, industry and tourism, the initiatives to connect Sri Lanka to the global knowledge economy and to the ocean economy, the innovative programme covering tertiary education, the urgent projects to deal with the power crisis, the proposed construction of a new port and other infrastructural developments, would greatly assist to "kick-start" our faltering economy and place it on a recovery footing.
Further, the comments made by him with regard to Sri Lankas response to the Multi Fibre Agreement, the need to enhance our tourism returns, and the Governments declared intention to actively provide opportunities to help the unemployed and underemployed youth of our country, shows the extent to which the Prime Minister is sensitive to the true nature of the nations problems and that fact certainly augurs well for the country.
In the final section of the Policy Statement, the Prime Minister has dealt with the need to de-politicize the public sector and the media, and the need to preserve and protect the rights of women. Such statements would certainly be welcomed by all sectors of the population, who yearn for a society, devoid of discrimination, injustice and politicization.
It is now time for all Sri Lankans to respond positively to this Policy Statement, and place their own shoulders to the wheel, to make it happen. We owe that effort to our nation. After all, the countrys Governments Policy Statement should actually touch our own lives. It could do so, only if we ourselves are ready to work towards making it a reality.
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