2011 to usher in a more promising year
Another year is fast approaching as the 2011 New Year dawns
next Saturday. In this context, it is time to take stock of how we fared
during the current year and prepare ourselves for the coming year with
renewed confidence and greater targets.
We should make a careful assessment of what we have achieved during
the year as well as our failures, if any. Hence, we could identify and
capitalise on our strengths and prepare for the coming year with greater
Sri Lanka has achieved several significant milestones during the year
2010. The following year after eradicating terrorism, Sri Lanka showed
encouraging signs of development and regaining economic prosperity.
Sri Lanka maintained an economic growth of 8.5 percent during the
third quarter of this year, one of the highest in the Asian region. This
was mainly due to the steady progress in a number of key sectors which
blossomed after the Tigers were defeated. Since the restoration of
normalcy in the North and the East, the Government embarked on yet
another humanitarian mission to resettle over half a million people
displaced due to the LTTE's terror acts.
Despite various reservations expressed by the majority of the
international community and International Non-Government Organisations,
Sri Lanka set an all-time world record in the resettlement of displaced
persons in the East. With this proven track record Sri Lanka
accomplished a similar resettlement mission in the North. All displaced
persons would be resettled by the end of the year.
The Government embarked on numerous infrastructure development
projects in the North and the East, thereby opening a new chapter in the
history of these provinces. Today, not only the people in the East, but
also those in the North, who have been subjected to untold misery during
the LTTE's terror, have also started making an active contribution to
the national economy.
More importantly, a greater dialogue has begun between the people in
the North and those in the South, making the maximum use of the freedom
they won after the Security Forces vanquished the LTTE leaders. Cash has
started flowing to the North and the East, thereby increasing the
purchasing power of the people living in those provinces.
A significant milestone was also achieved in the history of the
country's democracy as the masses rejected petty party politics and
supported democratic forces to emerge victorious. Despite numerous
attempts by extremist forces to capture power with the insidious support
of interested foreign elements, voters across the length and breadth of
the country extended their unflinching support to President Mahinda
Rajapaksa, who was re-elected at the Presidential election in January.
The United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA), under the leadership of
President Rajapaksa, rewrote Sri Lanka's election history at the general
election in April this year. The UPFA scored a landslide victory with a
thumping majority to secure a record 144 seats in the 225-member
legislature - a feat that would be hard to equal under the current
preferential voting system.
Even after terrorism was eradicated and despite the overwhelming
public support President Rajapaksa and his government received at two
major elections, a section of the international community continued
their campaigns to tarnish Sri Lanka's image and its valiant Security
However, a resolute President stood firm and did not bow down to
international pressure and went ahead with the humanitarian operation.
After the successful completion of the humanitarian operation, Sri
Lanka embarked on another battle; to win the 'economic war' as well. The
economic policies of the Mahinda Chinthana put the country on the right
track and the dividends are already becoming increasingly evident.
While the country maintained an economic growth of over eight
percent, the country's per capita income also doubled over the past five
years. This unprecedented progress enabled Sri Lanka to elevate its
position from a low income group country to that of middle income during
the current year.
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have commended Sri
Lanka's performance in economic development. The World Bank last week
endorsed that the country's economy is heading in the right direction.
World Bank Managing Director, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that
Sri Lanka's remarkable rise from past challenges is a testament to the
tenacity of the Sri Lankan people and the commitment of the country's
The World Bank, by no means, would make such a statement to please
any individual or a country, without making a thorough analysis of the
country's performance. Hence, this statement would have a positive
impact on Sri Lanka and this indeed is an excellent endorsement of the
The World Bank Managing Director had made this statement after a
careful study of Sri Lanka's economy. This is a very positive sentiment
coming from the World Bank chief.
In recognition of the country's emergence as a growing economy, the
World Bank chief endorsed Sri Lanka's new eligibility for financing from
the IBRD, the World Bank's lending arm for middle-income countries. This
would be in addition to the assistance Sri Lanka is already being
granted by IDA.
Sri Lanka has achieved all these landmark achievements in development
as the Government did not suspend any new development projects even
during the height of the LTTE terror.
Despite waging an unrelenting battle against the most ruthless terror
outfit in the world, President Rajapaksa and his Government embarked on
some of the largest development projects simultaneously. This is
precisely why Sri Lanka enjoys the dividends of peace in next to no
The benefits of the Upper Kotmale and Norochcholai mega power
generation projects, Moragahakanda, Uma Oya, Kumbukkan Oya irrigation
projects, Southern and Colombo-Kandy expressways, Colombo, Galle, Oluvil,
Trincomalee and Hambantota port projects and the new Mattala
International Airport project would be enjoyed by one and all in the
All Sri Lankans, irrespective of colour, creed or political hue, must
make a tangible contribution to the country's development drive that
would help make this beautiful island the Wonder of Asia during the new