JVP meets the business community with the ‘Accord of the Conscience’


When the JVP met the representatives of the private sector as a prelude to introducing their manifesto " The Accord of the Conscience", it was more than a mere historic meeting. It was an occasion that brought together two key stakeholders, in a unique gesture of mutual acknowledgment and respect.

With a knack for calling political bluff and gifted with an art of story telling in a way that connects his party to the people at all levels, Anura Kumara Dissanayake is widely perceived as not just the leader of the JVP but a much needed presence in the colourful world of politics. He is the astute politician whose hand , it seems, everybody wants to shake. Almost always in recognition of his own unique style of speaking straight from the heart, going after issues of corruption, abuse of power and political agendas.

At the meeting with the business community held at the Grand Oriental Hotel, Anura Kumara held the audience captive with his take on the views of the JVP in the minds of the business community. " Some may have entertained unfounded fears about us" he said, "Those fears were based on assuming if one owns two vehicles, we will take one by force and give to someone else. That's not how we work - we understand the pulse of the Sri Lankans, the Sri Lankan business community. We are attuned to their needs. We want to see a Sri Lanka as a country to live in happily."

He went on to explain the toll the previous regime had taken on the country's economy. Showing his grasp on the ills of the economy, the JVP leader highlighted the manner in which the country has gone in for loans haphazardly, sacrificing long term goals for short term gratifications. " From the new born to the dying aged, each and every Sri Lankan today owes a staggering debt of Rs 350,000.00 per person," he pointed out.

"Many projects have been approved without due diligence being done - for an example, just one such project, the Katunayake Highway, has been constructed outside all norms of government tender procedure, resulting in a staggering loss of Rs 170 million for the country."

"In a fast growing world economy, we cannot afford to be isolated from the international community. The world is connected and technology has opened many doors. A long time ago, we exported tea, rubber and coconuts. Today, those dynamics have changed. We no longer have enough coconuts even for our own consumption. What is our strength , what are we known for? Korea and China produce electronics, Italy is renowned for leatherwear , Australia and Denmark for dairy products and meat but what is Sri Lanka going to be known for? And how can we get a slice of the global market? In 1978, we had a 0.5 % of the global market. Today, it is 0.045%, reflecting how far we have fallen. We need to understand how the world markets have changed and respond accordingly."

In displaying a fine grasp of market dynamics, Anura Kumara outlined some of the problems facing the Sri Lankan economy and how they affect the lives of Sri Lankans.

He cited the example of fruits and vegetables from the harvesting to transportation and eventual sale. "Potatoes imported from India, are cheaper in the market than those grown here. Our production costs are higher and not competitive. In India, the potato harvest ratio is at 1:21 while ours is at 1:8. Japan produces three times the rice we produce in the north central province. We need to focus on increasing our harvesting capabilities and reduce our production costs." "Look at how apples are exported from Australia to the rest of the world - they are encased in protective mesh and transported in packs. Our vegetables and fruits are still transported in the same old manner ; from the cultivator to the market, they are loaded on to lorries and packed, resulting in greater wastage. We need to involve the private sector in investing in key areas such as production, storage, transport and the efficient management of the entire cycle."

Anura Kumara Dissanayake echoed the sentiments that Sri Lankans are talented and capable of working anywhere in the world, particularly strengthening the services sector. "We are rich in human resources and the services sectors can be developed in the right way. The JVP has a plan for the harnessing of the economy and the development of our people, empowering all stakeholders. " he pointed out.

Dissanayake centred in on his party's message to the business community - "We are not businesspeople - we are politicians. That's what we do best. We want you to excel in your business and thereby empower the economy and the country. We are not in politics to make money or do business. That's your job. Our invitation is to you, to join hands with us in making a difference."

Clean politics that empower the people and the community. That is the promise of the Accord of the Conscience.

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