Doing one’s duty by the nation
With the additional financial
contribution from the North and the East after the dawn of peace, Sri
Lanka’s economy could reach an all-time high with a record growth rate.
The country’s gold reserves reached an all-time high and foreign
currency reserves too have shown a significant improvement, buttressing
Sri Lanka’s forward march towards new economic horizons.
Critics may say that they do not see progress in development projects
and expect the Government to provide every conceivable item free or at a
concessionary price. The Opposition too has joined the bandwagon by
alleging that the end of the battle against terror has not made any
tangible contribution to reduce the cost-of-living.
But these so-called economic wizards little realise that such
benefits could not be reflected immediately in reducing the
cost-of-living. Having eradicated terrorism and ushering in peace, Sri
Lanka is on the threshold of strengthening and resurrecting the economy
which had been adversely affected due to LTTE terrorism.
Some extremists would even ponder for hours on end to ascertain what
the Government would offer. But sadly, most of them tend to forget the
fact that all of us have a moral obligation towards the country. It
should be uppermost in our mind that our contribution towards the
country and its economy would be the decisive factors in determining
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had said, after opening the Maternity and
Children’s Ward of the Ratnapura General Hospital last week, that the
public should take a stand and do their duty towards the country first,
instead of expecting the Government ‘to do everything’. Rather than
expecting what the nation should offer, the people should first and
foremost make their contribution and honour their commitments towards
People should perform their duty towards the country first. If they
conduct themselves in a responsible manner as true patriotic citizens,
the country would progress by leaps and bounds and the benefits of such
economic development would thereafter be experienced by one and all.
The Government cannot provide everything to the masses without the
people’s support. The threat posed by dengue fever is a case in point.
Opportunistic Opposition politicians have made it a habit to apportion
the blame for any incident on the Government. Their sole objective is
petty political mileage, without considering the ground realities.
Unless the public makes a sincere and concerted effort to clean their
premises, nobody on earth could eliminate the dangerous situation
created due to the dengue mosquito. A government alone cannot handle
this situation, be it in a developing or developed country. This is why
we see dengue spreading even in certain developed countries.
Public cooperation and assistance are a sine qua non to counter the
dengue menace which has claimed hundreds of innocent lives during the
past few months. Blaming the Health Ministry alone won’t do, because the
role of the health authorities begins only after the patient is admitted
to a hospital.
The public, Local Government authorities and the Environment Ministry
should be held responsible for any lapse. If we clean our gardens and
keep the environment clean, we could face the threat of any epidemic, be
it dengue or otherwise. Though the Government has taken effective
measures to meet the challenge by importing dengue eradicating bacteria,
the effectiveness in encountering the threat posed by dengue depends
solely on the public.
While the Government is exploring ways and means to usher in a better
tomorrow, it is the duty of all citizens to extend their fullest support
and cooperation to make this dream a reality. Instead of turning to the
Government for everything, the masses should work conscientiously and
make a genuine effort to reach that goal.
The Government, under no circumstances, will betray the country, nor
bow to internal or external pressure, but will make every effort to
protect the country’s integrity and sovereignty. The Government has
strengthened the macro-economic fundamentals and it could definitely
face any eventuality even after the European Union ceases the GSP plus
trade facility to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka has a foreign exchange reserve of USD 6.2 billion, which is
sufficient to meet the import bill for over six months. The Government
is optimistic that this could be increased to around USD 7.5 billion by
the end of the third quarter of this year.
At the time the battle against terror was reaching its final phases,
the Government’s foreign exchange reserves were sufficient to cover only
the import bill for two months. Without realising the gravity of the
battle against terror, opportunistic Opposition politicians raised a big
hue and cry and displayed their abysmal ignorance.
However, the Government had a clear-cut policy and vision and was
supremely confident that its foreign reserves would improve with the
dawn of peace. This is manifestly evident at present and the Opposition
is now eating humble pie.
With the increased foreign currency reserves in hand, the Government
could well bring down the dollar exchange rate to about Rs. 105, but it
is being maintained at the present level to help exporters. In so doing,
the Government has taken meaningful steps to support local exporters and
make their products competitive in the international market.
It is indeed heartening to see Kilinochchi, the LTTE’s former
stronghold where many fierce battles were fought against the Security
Forces, becoming a centre conducive to the people in the North as a new
economic hub. We are extremely confident that the right economic
policies implemented under the Mahinda Chinthana would direct Sri Lanka
towards greater economic prosperity.