Presidential Candidate of the New Democratic Front Sajith Premadasa spoke at a business gathering this evening in Colombo. Senior politicians, including the Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera, economists, and business personalities were present at this meeting.
Minister of Finance, Mangala Samaraweera said;
“The economic cost is incalculable, but it is significant and the department of commerce estimated that Sri Lanka lost over 150,000 jobs alone as a result of losing GSP+. In brief, in 2015 Sri Lanka was like a patient gasping for breath in the intensive care unit of a hospital. However, we have nursed the patient he is now walking and ready to run. It has also been decided that Sri Lanka should no longer be in the Greylist we were for money laundering and terrorist financing, in fact, the official announcement removing us from the grey list was made this morning in Paris at the headquarters of FATF.”
Speaking at the event Presidential Candidate Sajith Premadasa noted;
“Private enterprise is given the maximum amount of opportunity to participate in the wealth creation process. Private entreprenuers will be provided with the maximum demand sides and supply side support. The maximum positive incentives and inducements so that entrepreneurship flourishes and through this mechanism we hope to provide the maximum amount of opportunities for equitable inclusive growth. I should also assert at this juncture that the fruits of growth the income and wealth that we generate will be redistributed, equitably and a just and fair manner to all sectors of society. We shall ensure the gap that exists between the haves and have nots are bridged to the greatest extent. For those who are unemployed, I will ensure that there will be many job opportunities and we will ensure through the strengthen economy and the strong economic policy we will create millions and millions of job opportunities for those who are still unemployed line. While we use the free market system to generate wealth we also have to be cognisent of the aspect of redistribution of wealth and income. By that I do not mean taxing the business class, not at all, I think they are already heavily taxed. I’m not the usual tax and spend politician. Rather, I would reduce taxes that exist and reform the tax system to encourage private entreprenuership to grow and expand. So in summary I believe in competetive markets, but I also believe in social justice.”
Question: Women in Sri Lanka seems to be discouraged and not entering the job market. Is this a problem that you have given thought to?
Sajith Premadasa: One aspect I want to look at is does getting employed allow those to fulfill their basic himan needs. Now the census and statistics department figures basically shows that for a family of 4, in order to fulfill their food and non-food requirements they need roughly for a month from Rs. 50,000 to 55,000. Now do the jobs that are available in the labour market, accrue adequate income for the people whom we are encouraging to get employed. Now in some of the sectors the salaries and the remunerations leaves a lot to be desired. So this is why I say that while on the one hand we encourage and support private entreprenuership to grow and we really want private enterprises to suceed because private enterprises, small and medium term enterprises, are the engine of economic growth in any country. We also have to make sure that the jobs that are created through these growth mechanisms provide labour in the market with a adequate income. As a leader I will lead from the front, and I will lead by example and I hope the rest will follow.