PM flays Rajapaksas for leaving country bankrupt

... indicates intention to sign ETCA with India

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday complained that what the incumbent government had taken over from the Rajapaksas was not a country like Switzerland or Singapore, but a bankrupt state with depleted coffers.

PM Wickremesinghe, addressing a meeting of UNPers at the Public Library, Badulla, said, "We didn’t come to power to line our pockets or build palaces for us, but to improve the people’s lot."

Sri Lanka had earned notoriety as a country of murderers and thugs in the world and the present government had been able to change that image and investors were now coming from different parts of the world, particularly China while the country would enter into a key trade agreement with India, he said.

"The developed countries in the world are prepared to lend us money to rebuild our economy which is in shambles," Wickremesinghe said.The Prime Minister said: "The previous government built the biggest swimming pool in the world in Hambantota, but we will transform it to a fully fledged harbour, a modern dry dock, a ship yard and a ship building facility."

Wickremesinghe said several people had lined their pockets when the Hambantota port was built. When the government completed establishing Development Zones in the country the land prices of Hambantota and Moneragala would sky rocket due to rapid development of those areas.

In addition, a large economic zone would come up in Trincomalee close to the harbour and a number of industrial parks would be established in the area, while there would be rapid economic development in Badulla as well, he said.

The government had introduced a tax on the sale of lands and shares where only the rich would be affected and the government had been able to bring redress to the masses by reducing prices of essential commodities. Hence funds were required for development purposes and to improve the standard of education, therefore, the VAT had been increased from 11 percent to 15 and not by 15 percent, the Prime Minister said.

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