SLPP will ensure secure future - Ajith Nivard Cabraal | Sunday Observer
Parliamentary Elections

SLPP will ensure secure future - Ajith Nivard Cabraal

Having the right Government in place will ensure that your children are protected for the future, said former Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal in an interview with the Sunday Observer.

Cabraal, who is on the SLPP’s national list, said that people will vote for a Government that can take the economy forward and one that has a clear vision and resource persons to implement the vision.

Excerpts

Q. Why should people vote for the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)?

A: This is the only party that has a plan. Countries need to have a carefully laid down plan in governance. It must be executed by the people who have skills and the knowledge. We, as a political party, have developed a comprehensive plan to address the issues of the country.

We have talented people to implement such a plan to take the country forward. We have an understanding of where we want to go.

The two leaders: one is President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has proved pragmatism and the other, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who has shown his capability with action on the ground.

People have no better choice than selecting the SLPP, which is the only party that can deliver results.

Q. What is the vision of the SLPP?

A: The vision is that of prosperity, Saubagya Dakma in Sinhala. We have been a developing county for too long.

We saw some concrete development only in the nine years under President Mahinda Rajapaksa. There was development in all areas. That is what we are hoping to restore once the new Government is elected.

Q. Your party is seeking power to amend the Constitution. What are these changes?

A: The present governance structure puts a lot of pressure on the Government. That has put an aberration to the way the country needs to be governed. For example, we see the Inspector General of Police is remanded, but the Executive is unable to remove him because the provisions of the Constitution are so confusing that it is not possible to take action against such officers.

There are segments of the Constitution that have made it almost impossible for the country to be governed properly. This needs to be changed. It has to be amended in such a way that the governance structure will be attuned to governing the country in the 21st century. There are new areas that needs to be focused upon. Subject experts should propose amendments following a careful study so that Parliament which is the supreme body can enact laws.

Q. You were talking about economic mismanagement by the former Government. How bad was it?

A: It was terrible.

You can see how terrible it has been by looking at the macro fundamental indicators published by the Central Bank. In 2014, the economic development rate of the country was 7.4 percent. It reduced to 1.9 percent in the final quarter of 2019. Reserves have fallen, the debt burden has increased from 71 percent of the GDP to 91 percent of the GDP, the interest rates have doubled, investments have dried up. Every sphere of the economy has worsened from 2015 to 2019. The challenge for the new Government would be to restore macro economic fundamentals.

It is a challenge, but with careful planning and implementation, we will ensure that these are managed properly.

Q. Is this environment amid Covid-19 hard for parties to campaign?

A: The method of campaigning is now different. We have to be conscious of the risks of Covid-19. We know how to deal with the risks, we know health precautions. As long as we follow health precautions, we should be able to embark on whatever activities.

The world as a whole has to come to grips with Covid-19. We can’t move forward without opening the country to the world with health restrictions.

Q. What is your message for the people?

A: We get an opportunity to elect a Government once every five years. It is a serious responsibility. Having the right Government in place is making sure that your children are protected for the future. If you elect a Government that is unable to deliver, or has no vision, or is corrupt, our next generation will suffer.

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