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DateLine Friday, 11 May 2007

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Government Gazette

Get tough with wasteful diversions

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s directives to the Treasury on curtailing superfluous, wasteful expenditure in the public sector are likely to meet with the approval of the majority of the people. The President’s emphasis on the need to siphon all such funds to development is likely to meet with equal public backing.

It is two very crucial needs that are being highlighted in these directives by the President: the need to cut down on wasteful, meaningless expenditure and the equal need to forge steadily ahead with the development process. If these needs are successfully met, a degree of national advancement could be registered.

Unfortunately, the Lankan polity is a slow or no learner. Despite years of economic stagnation, substantial funds are wastefully spent on public tamashas and other glittery, resource-gobbling events which have very little or no bearing on national progress. These are essentially geared at boosting the egos of VIPs and other exploitative species who are a massive drain on the public purse.

However, while a microscopic minority thrives at public expense the vast majority of the population is compelled to eke out a sad existence on very meagre earnings and resources.

This is the sad truth about Sri Lanka although great pride is taken in some quarters over the country’s “middle income” status.

We would be naive in the extreme to be mesmerised by statistics. Even the authorities are guarded in the way they assess the country’s growth. It is no secret, for instance, that Sri Lanka suffers from lopsided growth.

While most of the country’s wealth and affluence is concentrated in the Western Province, the rest of the provinces could not boast of much. This is the stark reality. Great poverty exists in districts, such as, Moneragala, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Therefore, we have still a long way to go on the development road and the authorities make no bones of this fact. But the parasitic interests among us would prefer to continue with their wasteful, scandalous ways because they believe in only fattening themselves. Make hay while the sun shines is their motto.

Therefore, we have no choice but to do away with all our superfluous expenditure with the aim of aiding the development process.

We are fully conscious of the inadequacy of verbal admonitions. For the past 50 years or more the polity has been showered with warnings on the need for belt-tightening, frugality and conscientious living. Needless to say, these verbal exercises have only brought poor results. Sri Lanka has continued to be a haven for the parasite and the humbug.

We call on the State to act stringently now, to end waste and corruption. It needs to translate words of admonition into punitive action against those persons and groups which are living unconscionably off the fat of the land.
 

SLFP is right -the district is the superior unit of devolution

What are the obvious advantages of the District as the Unit of Devolution? Firstly, the potential benefits to the people. It benefits because of the proximity of the people to their legislators with whom they have common interests.

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Public help and patience vital as Forces gear up to face LTTE air threat

Battlefield failures propel Tigers towards desperate measures:

The country is now in a confused situation. The LTTE has been successful in their effort to drag the country into this unnecessary confusion due to their desperate attempts to put the Government and the Security Forces in an inconvenient situation.

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The World Bank’s bottomless pit

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