Published on: May 26, 2024

“Overhauling Country’s Economic and Political Courses Vital for Rebuilding.”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that both the old economic and political paths must be reformed to rebuild the country.

The President pointed out that the current unemployment issues stem from the out-dated economic system. Therefore, new job opportunities should be generated by establishing a new economic framework.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks yesterday (25) during his address at the Kilinochchi District Youth Conference held at the “Nelum Piyasa” Hall, Iranamadu.

During the event, the youth of Kilinochchi district were given the opportunity to directly communicate their needs and concerns to the President.

Elaborating further, President Ranil Wickremesinge said:

Many people have presented me with facts. It was communicated that the minister will address the economic challenges faced by the youth in this area. Young people need both sources of income and job opportunities. I will examine these issues first from Jaffna or at the national level. Our country has faced significant problems over the past four years. The economy collapsed due to COVID-19, leading to job losses. I took on the responsibility of leading the country during this difficult period.

Today, our top priority is to rebuild the collapsed economy. I have initiated the 2023-2024 program to revitalize the country’s economy, and we must see it through to completion. The world acknowledged that our country was bankrupt.

Now, we need to demonstrate that this is no longer the case. If the country remains bankrupt, foreign financial institutions will refuse to engage with us. The people are struggling; wages are insufficient to meet their needs. Why did unemployment arise? It was a consequence of the out-dated economic system.

Countries like Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia are moving forward with an export-driven economy. We are relying on loans because we lack funds, and now we are struggling to repay them. I am committed to resolving this issue. However, taking on more loans will only exacerbate our problems. There is no money to create government jobs, so we must focus on uplifting the economy immediately. Politicians often promise jobs during election periods, but this is akin to traveling with an empty wallet. We must confront this situation directly by creating a new economic system to generate employment opportunities.

Tourism is a key sector that can create jobs. We need to increase the number of tourists to at least five million. Currently, a tourist spends only USD 150 a day in our country, but we have developed a system to boost this spending to at least USD 400-500 per day. Additionally, some young people are involved in crypto currency. They suggest relaxing regulations in this area to foster economic growth.

Another goal of ours is to develop agriculture. In the past, we exported crops, but after independence, the export industry faltered. We need to utilize our land to create a modern agricultural sector. Starting next year, we will launch the Smart Agriculture program in villages. Smart agriculture is not feasible in Colombo; it is best suited for remote villages. To move the country forward, we must establish export-oriented agriculture. Additionally, we need to expand our industries, creating job opportunities in the process. Also, there are plans to create investment zones in this area.

Improving computer education is another priority. We must embark on this journey because remaining stagnant will prevent us from achieving global success. Reflecting on my youth, Sri Lanka was economically ahead of many other countries. However, Singapore, Malaysia, China, and Vietnam have since surpassed us. If we continue to wait, even Afghanistan could outpace us. Therefore, we must change our out-dated economic and political approaches. Advancing the country by creating jobs remains a crucial part of our plan. I cannot forget the program of taking the country forward by providing jobs here.

Take advantage of the government’s support and move forward. We are committed to continuing on this new path. No one believed the collapsed economy of 2022 would recover so quickly. We must protect this progress and keep advancing the country. This year, more people than usual came to Colombo to celebrate Vesak, and Jaffna also celebrated Vesak. I am working on transforming and developing the country, but it is your responsibility to carry it forward.

Instead of asking for jobs, ask how jobs can be provided regardless of who is in power. Those who spread lies do not offer solutions to your problems. We have initiated a systematic program to address your issues. I urge you to support this program and have faith in it.

Minister Douglas Devananda, former State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran, Presidential Director of Youth Affairs & Sustainable Development Mr. Randula Abeyweera, Kilinochchi District Youth Services Council Assistant Director A. Tawendran, and a number of guests were present at the event.


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