New Investment Promotion Minister confident of stabilising rocking ship | Sunday Observer

New Investment Promotion Minister confident of stabilising rocking ship

26 June, 2022

During the meeting with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra had said that the Government of India will extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in overcoming the current difficult situation as a close friend.

A four-member high-ranking Indian delegation led by Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra arrived in Sri Lanka on Thursday to hold bilateral talks on the assistance to be provided to Sri Lanka by India amid the ongoing economic crisis.

The Indian delegation said that the Government of India and the political authorities are committed to provide continued support to Sri Lanka. On behalf of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, President Rajapaksa conveyed his gratitude to the Government of India for its significant role in assisting Sri Lanka in difficult times.

Both parties discussed the future course of action of the Indian aid program to stabilise and revive the Sri Lankan economy, at length. The delegation also expressed confidence that the country would recover soon overcoming existing challenges.

The Indian delegation at their meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka’s economic situation was taken up for discussion. The delegation also highlighted India’s continuing support and assistance to the people of Sri Lanka. The delegation had also held discussions with senior officials on the economic situation in the country and the short-term and long-term assistance requirements.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe on Thursday said that the discussion with the Indian delegation led by Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra was fruitful. The Premier said that he expects to have a strong bilateral relationship with India.

“I had a productive discussion with Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, Indian Secretary to the Department of Economic Affairs Ajay Seth and Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India Dr. V. Anantha Nageswaran. I look forward to stronger bilateral ties with India”, the Prime Minister said in a tweet.


The Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) and the National People’s Power (NPP) said on Tuesday they have decided to boycott Parliament sessions for one week. Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament on Tuesday that the SJB would boycott Parliament this week as no solutions have been offered to resolve the problems of the people.

He said, “This is a horrible Government. They have changed a few positions and they are all enjoying the luxuries while the people are in a terrible state. When we try to represent the voice of the people, these fools start shouting and disrupting us. The majority of the population is really struggling. There are plenty of petrol, diesel and gas queues. With the change of Government, the queues have become even longer.”

He said, “Will this Parliament meet the needs of the people of this country? Therefore, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya and the Opposition have taken a decision.”

The Opposition Leader said that the vistas of prosperity have become a curse to the country and the people are suffering. “This Government has turned into a talk shop. There are no solutions to the problems facing this country. What’s more, the CEB Chairman came to the COPE and said that the President and Prime Minister pressured him to favour a foreign company. Now that Chairman has resigned. At a time when the country is suffering the Government is still playing out and pilfering commissions from gas and even medicines.”

When the Government benches were riling him over his speech, Premadasa asked them to keep quiet without simply shouting in Parliament and challenged the Government lawmakers to step out onto the streets if they dare.

He said while people are struggling at gas queues, the Government Ministers have been robbing from that too. “This Government has no heart and they have no compassion or sympathy for the difficulties of the people. This is a government that is cheating the people. Hence, we will not be part of this government’s lies. Therefore, we will stand with the people on the streets,” he added.

No solution in sight

Meanwhile, NPP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake said all Opposition Parties have decided to boycott Parliament this week as there is no solution to the people’s problems. Dissanayake also said that a plan should be submitted to Parliament immediately on how to rebuild the country.

He said, “Although we meet in Parliament, what is the situation outside? Today a situation has arisen where children are dying in hospitals due to the lack of medicines. The ordinary citizens are dying while standing in fuel and gas queues and farmers are lamenting not knowing what to do next.

There were so many protests being staged throughout the country mainly focusing on the President, but the President maintains his arrogant attitude and claims he has done everything best. The people’s demand for his departure is very fair as what is the point in having an arrogant leader who cannot even fulfill the basic needs of the people?”

“Covering up embarrassment”

However, Minister Manusha Nanayakkara who came to Parliament responded to the Opposition Leader’s remarks. He said, “If the SJB says it will boycott Parliament, this is an attempt by them to cover up their embarrassment. He said the SJB presented a set of proposals for the 21st Amendment. When the matter was referred to the Supreme Court, it ruled out that six main clauses in the SJB proposals needed to be passed by two-thirds majority in Parliament and a referendum. After that court ruling, the SJB has lost its way. Therefore, to cover up that shame, the SJB boycotts the Parliament.

Govt Parliamentary Group meets

The Government Parliamentary Group meeting was held at the President’s House on Monday under the patronage of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the House Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Chief Government Whip Minister Prasanna Ranatunga were also at the head table along with the President.

First, Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on behalf of all Government MPs congratulated the President on his birthday.

Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe briefed the Government lawmakers regarding the latest situation of the 21st Amendment. Mass Media Minister Dr.Bandula Gunawardana had drawn the attention of the Government’s parliamentary group meeting regarding the May 9 arson attacks adding that the law is being implemented at a very slow phase in this regard.

He said, “When looking at this entire incident, it is obvious as to how that massive destruction was organised. It is not difficult to find who gave instructions to conduct those arson attacks. Therefore, a Parliament Select Committee should be appointed to look into those incidents which paved the way to destabilise the entire country.”

Therefore, again the attention of the Government parliamentary group meeting was focused on the May 9 mob attacks due to Minister Gunawardana’s statement.

At the parliamentary group meeting, SLPP Ampara District MP D. Weerasinghe pointed out the hardships faced by him due to his house being set on fire and the inaction on the part of the Police to prevent it.

Some Ministers and MPs in a disappointed mood said, “Look at strange things that are happening now. Some have a keen interest with regard to removing the huts and attacking the protestors at the Galle Face. However, nobody talks about setting fire to nearly 120 houses and destroying so many vehicles.

“Some of those at the Attorney General’s Department have a lot of interest in the Galle Face incident. If a massive destruction occurred by setting fire to a large number of houses of Government politicians, some people don’t even talk about it.”

A few Government lawmakers said, “ If these investigations are not carried out properly, the IGP should be removed immediately and a new IGP who can implement the law properly should be appointed.”

However, Public Security Minister Tiran Alles had given an assurance that these investigations will be conducted properly. The Minister said so far only 2,000 people have been arrested in connection to those arson attacks. However, according to the information received, nearly 6,000 people had been involved in those incidents.

Minister Alles said, “Special operations are being carried out to arrest all these suspects while disciplinary action will be taken against the Police officers who didn’t implement the law properly. He said a special Police team will also be deployed to record statements from Members of Parliament regarding this incident. They will shortly gather information from MPs.”

“Not a sinking ship”

Newly appointed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna National List MP Dhammika Perera said that his aim is to bring in much needed investments to the country and generate more employment opportunities for youth.

Business tycoon Perera told the media after he took oaths in Parliament on Wednesday. that he is ready to accept any ministerial portfolio given to him. “I came to Parliament to do a service to the country.

I handed over my Assets and Liabilities Declaration and the Tax Clearance Certificate to the Speaker before I took oaths. My role in Parliament is to find solutions to the crisis in the country,” he said.

“All these queues are because of the foreign currency shortage. I will initiate action to bring in more dollars to the country. I was the Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman when the battle against the LTTE was on.

“When predictions have been made that the job market would shrink in the coming months, my endeavour is to create more jobs. I understand the feelings of the protesting youth. I believe I can cater to their demands. It is easy to steer a ship in calm waters, but what is challenging is to steer it in stormy weather,” he said.

When questioned why he got into a sinking ship, he replied that in his opinion the ship was not sinking but rocking. He also thanked former Minister Basil Rajapaksa for voluntarily giving his Parliament seat to him.

Parliamentarian Dhammika Perera was sworn in as Investment Promotion Minister before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at President’s House on Friday.

21st Amendment

The Cabinet of Ministers at its meeting on Monday night approved the introduction of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution in Parliament. The proposal was presented to the Cabinet by the Minister of Justice, Prison Reforms and Constitutional Affairs, Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on Monday. Accordingly, the Cabinet has decided to present the relevant draft Bill to Parliament expeditiously.

The 21st Amendment is expected to annul the 20A which gave unlimited powers to the President after abolishing the 19th Amendment. The new Bill will enforce the 19th Amendment and remove the unfavorable clauses of the 20th Amendment.

Hirunika’s protest

A group led by Hirunika Premachandra staged a protest near the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at 5th Lane on Wednesday. The protest was held to highlight the difficulties faced by the people due to the economic crisis. The former Parliamentarian demanded to meet the Prime Minister to hand over a letter.

However, the police placed barricades and prevented the protesters from getting close to the Prime Minister’s residence. A tense situation also took place when some women who accompanied the former MP attempted to force their way past the barricade.

Thereafter, the protestors referred to the Prime Minister as Ranil Rajapaksa, instead of Ranil Wickremesinghe. At the conclusion of the protest, Hirunika Premachandra hugged a few female police officers who had been on duty preventing access to the Prime Minister’s residence.

Later, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had requested not to publish the photographs of former Parliamentarian Hirunika Premachandra in a manner that insults her as she is a mother of three.

The Prime Minister was commenting on several photographs of the Parliamentarian which went viral on social media after the protest near the residence of Prime Minister Wickremesinghe. The Prime Minister is of the view that as a civilised society that respects mothers, such photographs should not be published. Addressing social media activists, the Prime Minister has said that the concept of motherhood should be kept above all else.

MR attends Parliament

Former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Parliament on Tuesday around 10.00 a.m. Several Government Parliamentarians were at the member’s entrance to welcome the former Prime Minister. Among them were MPs Indika Anuruddha, Wimalaweera Dissanayake, Janaka Thissakuttiarachchi, Sampath Athukorala, Madura Vithanage, Samanpriya Herath along with former Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Affairs Secretary Priyantha Ratnayake.

Former Prime Minister Rajapaksa entered the Parliament premises with a smiling face by saying to his fellow MPs “Now I am a Parliament MP.” Then MP Thissakuttiarachchi said “Don’t say so sir. Any Member of Parliament can become the Prime Minister.”

Then former Prime Minister Rajapaksa asked MP Thissakuttiarachchi in a lighter vein as to how it could happen. “Sir, Ranil Wickremesinghe who has one parliamentary seat became the Prime Minister. So, now I am also trying to see whether I can become the Prime Minister.” Then all the Government MPs burst out laughing.

Continuous support

Ambassadors of the European Countries have assured continuous support to Sri Lanka in these challenging times. These remarks were made by European Ambassadors when they met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at President’s House, Colombo on Friday.

The delegation members pointed out that a firm message about the future plans of building the country’s economy will certainly pave the way for the international community to assist Sri Lanka.

As nearly 90 percent of the country’s population live in rural areas and 75 percent of those people depend on agriculture, the President said that by providing them with fertiliser and fuel, many problems as well as the issues related to the supply of food could be solved.

Steps have been taken to provide uncultivated Government lands to those interested in agriculture as a solution to the land issue. President Rajapaksa explained the initiatives launched by the Government to provide a lasting solution considering the humanitarian situation that has arisen after the war as well as the fair manner maintained in the process of enforcing law without any party affiliation and interfering with the Ambassadors. A number of areas, including investment, tourism and education, were discussed at length.