• Is It Right or Wrong to Evade Responsibility and Flee in Fear Instead of Assuming the Premiership During the Economic Crisis? – President.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the government has initiated programs such as Aswesuma and Urumaya, and is creating new job opportunities for the youth by establishing new factories in the country to combat malnutrition, poverty, and unemployment.

Addressing Parliament today (02), the President responded to the Opposition Leader’s question by emphasizing that malnutrition, poverty, and unemployment are detrimental. He questioned, “Is it right to flee in fear instead of assuming the Premiership when the economy is collapsing and people are in trouble?”

The President said this in response to a question raised by the Opposition Leader who asked whether it is good or bad for children to suffer from malnutrition. The President responded, “It’s bad. That is why we implemented the Aswesuma program, providing ten kilos of rice to low-income families for two months. That is why the school feeding program was started.”

They ask whether poverty is good or bad. Poverty is bad. That’s why 2 million people are being granted free land rights under the national ‘Urumaya’ program.” That’s why 250,000 people living in flats are being given ownership of their homes. What more should be done?
He also questioned whether unemployment is good or bad. “Because unemployment is bad, we have started new factories and brought in new investments.

I have another question: When the country’s economy was in ruins and the people were suffering, was it right to run away in fear instead of taking on the Premiership? Are you okay with that?

We have already paid Rs. 200 billion to construction contractors. Is that something to regret? Once the aid is obtained, we can complete the construction of the Kandy Expressway. Is that something to regret?

I plan to present these two agreements to MPs Harsha de Silva and Kabir Hashim. We now have the chance to negotiate, particularly with private bondholders. Clifford Chance Company has advised us not to disclose this information at this moment due to the conditions set by other parties, which is a standard practice. They have requested that we submit all three agreements simultaneously. Another country that has signed a similar IMF agreement is Ghana, but Ghana has not yet disclosed even that condition.

All these matters are specifically assigned to Mr. Harsha de Silva’s Committee on Public Finance. The committee will discuss and prepare a report on these issues. Are you envious of Mr. Harsha de Silva? Does he not want to handle this? Why are you here discussing it like this? Both our sides agree with Mr. Harsha de Silva’s committee. We don’t know what kind of report the committee will produce—whether it will be in our favour or against us. Let’s wait for the report and act accordingly without arguing. If there’s a question about Dr. Harsha de Silva, do we really need to debate that as well? Also, we should consider whether Nalaka Godahewa, who has already faced failure once, will fail again after being appointed as the opposition advisor.