Media Minister says Jt. Opposition daydreaming of toppling govt

 By Saman Indrajith

Mass Media and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunathilaka told Parliament yesterday that the Joint Opposition was daydreaming of toppling the incumbent government.

The Minister said the Rajapaksa government had only wanted to remain in power by launching massive scale development projects which did not benefit the public. As a result the country had got entangled in a debt trap. "Due to that reason this government has had to take loans to settle those debts and their interest," Minister Karunathilaka said. "But we will settle the loans taken by the previous and also develop the economy of the country as we promised."

Participating in a debate on a motion moved by Chief Opposition Whip Anura Kumara Dissanayake at the time of adjournment of the House on current economic situation of the country, the Minister said the Rajapaksa government had missed a golden opportunity to develop the country.

"When JR Jayewardene was elected in 1977, he implemented the Mahaweli Project to increase the electricity generation," Minister Karunathilaka said. "But the Rajapaksa government built ports to which ships do not come, air ports where planes do not land and stadiums where games are not played."

He said the previous government had implemented all those projects to boost the egos of its leaders and to earn commissions. He added it had reduced the exports of the country by 50 per cent compared with the amounts exported when the UNP handed over the government in 2005.

The Minister said in 2005 the amount of the commercial loans had been 4 per cent of the GDP in 2005 but it had been very high when the UNP took over the government. He added that the World Bank and the IMF had refused to grant loans to Sri Lanka as it spent money on unnecessary projects and the previous government had to take commercial loans.

"The CEB had to settle a loan of Rs.10 billion in 2005 but its debt has increased to Rs 200 billion by now," Minister Karunathilaka said. "The SriLankan earned a profit when it was under the control of the Emirates. But now it is in debt amounting to Rs 134 billions."


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