President of the National Movement for a Just Society, Karu Jayasuriya, stated that while the Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture has publicly stated that chemical fertilizers will be permitted to be brought in for the Maha season, the relevant Minister has expressed the opposite view.
Mr. Karu Jayasuriya pointed out that due to this situation, a big problem has arisen among the farmers and cultivators and the government should deeply understand that it is very unfavorable for the rule of the country to express two opinions by two parties in the same government.
President of the National Movement for a Just Society, Karu Jayasuriya has expressed these views at a press conference, held at Kirulapone on Tuesday (23) where he further stated
The President's policy of allowing the private sector to import agrochemical fertilizers yesterday will be successful to some extent only in the immediate release of the exchange required for it. Otherwise it will be a failed attempt as the gas import was delayed.
We also reiterate the importance of compost use and would like to point out that it requires at least five years of successful testing. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reversed his decision on agriculture because it was not approved by the people. As a duty of respecting the opinion of the people. He was even humbled to regret making such a decision.
The sufferings, faced by farmers since the use of chemical fertilizers was banned last April, in this country is endless. We are aware that although housewives have been cultivating their crops by mortgaging their jewelry, the yield has been very low. We talk about it emotionally.
Their innocent attempt to change this decision of the government by carrying out protests is no secret to us. The decision by the government to keep off from its policies after realizing the reality will be a great relief. Hence the government should realize that it is prudent to take the necessary steps in the future in consultation with experts and farmers in making such decisions.
Now the government has a huge humanitarian duty to fulfill. That is to pay a fair compensation immediately to the farmers who are affected due to the chemical fertilizer problem. We would like to remind the authorities to do this without hesitation.
It is our duty to mention the above issue as well as another matter of national importance. It was a great mental relief to us to see all the schools fully opened after a long time and the commencement of educational activities. We got a huge satisfaction when we saw those photos.
As we mentioned earlier, children get the schooling era only in one period. We see depriving children’s right as a great sin. The most valuable asset we possess is the next generation. It should be our aim to build a new generation who can face the modern world by protecting the same while giving them the maximum knowledge and intelligence.
The opening of universities should be done without delay and then all parties including the government, teachers and the student community should work with mutual understanding and trust to provide the education that children have lost which should be considered as the responsibility of everyone. We sincerely hope that there will be no hurdles for the educational activities in the future.
We believe that it is appropriate to take steps in the future to allocate at least 8% of the GDP for education in order to move forward as a strong nation.
We mention the immense difficulties being faced by the country and people these days not as a critique but because we see the need for a better vision and plan as well as a national consensus to overcome it.
Everything needed for home life, such as rice, sugar, gas, milk powder, and vegetables, are in short supply or overpriced.
Imports of essential food items and medicines have been severely hampered by the shortage of foreign exchange. As a nation immediate steps have to be taken for this requirement. The tourism industry is a short term business to strengthen. We who have better geographical locations than Maldives and Singapore can act upon this. Government's support is much needed here. For this, there should be a peaceful environment in the country.
It was reported recently that remittances from Sri Lankans working abroad have dropped by about 50%. The reason for this is not getting the due exchange rate either for the dollar or other foreign currencies in the country. We cannot understand the reason for not getting the support from the International Monetary Fund by the government. There are many reliefs that can be gained when a country is in such a predicament.
The Minister of Finance stated that a huge burden has been placed on the people due to the institutions that incur losses, during the presentation of the budget recently. The following is how the people are burdened by the activities of the loss-making institutions in the 52 state-owned enterprises.
The operations of the loss making institutions seem to have been further deteriorated during the first four months. The huge loss of Rs. 115 billion incurred in 2020, would have been spent on the people of this country.
Is it reasonable to place this burden on the people? An institution is making losses due to mismanagement. Many countries including India have converted these great losses to income generation processes through modern management strategies.
What is needed is for the government to act within a plan with a vision. To attract foreign investment, the respect of the world should be earned as a country that upholds the rule of law, implementing consistent policies and has a transparent democracy. The government should understand this at least now.
It is a fact that we know that a lot of money has been wasted on luxury imports without a limit. As a result, our export sector completely collapsed.
We can move forward through small and medium scale industries. Here we can get examples from Germany. What is needed is to introduce our entrepreneurs to the world. The first international trade exhibition, EXPO 92, which was organized under the instructions of late President Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1992 comes to our mind. Nearly 5,000 foreign buyers attended this exhibition.
We know that it not only became a successful trade show, but many small and medium entrepreneurs have gained a great deal of inspiration and experience through this.
In 2022, we organized such an export exhibition and introduced our entrepreneurs to the world. The theme at that time was "EXPORT OR PERISH".
Every country in South Asia developed because of its focus on exports. It was JR Jayawardena who introduced the 'ONE STOP SHOP' and 'PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP' to South Asia.
It was only few who knew that Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad adopted the same concept which was used in Sri Lanka. This fact has been reported internationally. We wish that the government will pay attention to the suggestions and the proposals made by us with goodwill and a sense of patriotism.
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