Get tough with wasteful
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
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”
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
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
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.