Published on: February 19, 2023

The President says the Pali and Buddhist University will be converted to an “international center of Buddhist studies”

• Improving the quality of Piriven education

• Government intervention 2023 Vesak festival

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he has given his consent to several requests made by the Maha Nayaka Theras of the Malwatu and Asgiri Chapters, during a discussion held today (19) between the Sanga Committee members and the President at the President’s House in Kandy.

The President stated that he will urgently work to appoint a competent authority to the Pali and Buddhist University and to turn it into an “International Centre of Buddhist Studies”. This proposal made by the Sangha Committee members is essential and will definitely be implemented to raise the quality of Piriven education.

During the discussion, the President also accepted the invitation by the Maha Nayaka Theras of the Malwatu and Asgiri Chapters to hold the 2023 Vesak festival under the government’s sponsorship in a way that would bring about Buddhist revival in the country. The President also mentioned that all possible solutions would be provided for the issues of the Buddhist monks and the temples, which were discussed at length during the meeting.

The President emphasized his commitment to creating economic stability in the country within the next year and a half. He stated that he will build an economy in the country that can provide relief to the people before the end of this year.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe further said;

In 2019, the government’s tax revenue, which was 15 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, had decreased to 9 per cent. Therefore, the economy of this country was in a bad state. The International Monetary Fund informed us that our income has been lost. The International Monetary Fund also noted that if we expect other countries to give us money earned by taxing their people, we should also ensure that our country’s income is also increased.

When I took office as President, the country’s inflation was rising and the rupee had collapsed. But at the beginning, we negotiated with the International Monetary Fund to find a solution. As a result, many of the problems that people faced back then have now been resolved.

I requested to go to the International Monetary Fund even during Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s regime. And I also intervened in that regard.

Unfortunately, the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund were called off due to the incident of May 9th. Following that, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa invited Mr. Sajith Premadasa to become Prime Minister and he had also invited other members of the opposition to attend.

Only the United National Party and the Tamil National Alliance attended Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s call for discussions to go to the International Monetary Fund by establishing political stability. Others did not participate in these discussions and did not accept the position of Prime Minister because they were aware of the country’s situation.

Nevertheless, despite the people’s accusations, I accepted President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s request because I had a strong belief that the country’s economy could be improved.

As a result, I’m working hard to get the country’s economy back on track within the next year and a half. After that, we’ll get into politics. However, everyone must contribute to this nation-building effort. We intend to prepare an economy that will be able to provide relief to the people by the months of May, June, and July of this year. Despite the difficulties, Sri Lanka has the potential to become an economically strong country with everyone’s help during this difficult period.

Meanwhile, Senior Adviser to the President on National Security and Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Sagala Ratnayake stated, “At a glance that we are attempting to forcefully implement an International Monetary Fund-imposed tax policy. However, what has actually occurred is a realignment of state revenue streams that were not completed at the appropriate time.

People are suffering today as a result of having to implement all these at once. We would not be in this situation today if previous governments had implemented these policies. This is, in fact, a program that will kick-start massive economic development in Sri Lanka. It is not a difficult task to bring about the country’s economic development if the program is carried out properly.”

Most Ven. Anamaduwe Dhammadassi Anunayake Thera Anunayaka of the Asgiri Chapter, Dimbulkumbure Sri Wimaladhamma Thera, Anunayake of the Malwatu Chapter, Venerable Dr. Niyangoda Vijithasiri Thera, Anunayaka Thera of the Malwatu Chapter, Secretary of Supreme Sangha Council Asgiri Maha Viharaya Venerable Medagama Dhammananda Thera, Registrar of the Malwathu Chapter Most Venerable Pahamune Sri Sumangala Thera and Most Venerable Sanghas of the Committee, Minister of Cultural Affairs Vidura Wickramanayake President’s Senior Adviser on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayake, President’s Secretary Saman Ekanayake, and other officials attended this discussion.

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