State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe, said that the President’s nation-building initiative hinges on the active involvement of the youth community attending the 5th National Youth Parliament.
The 5th session of the Fifth National Youth Parliament, organized by the National Youth Service Council, took place on November 18 and 19 at the old Parliament Chamber of the Presidential Secretariat.
The theme for this year’s session was “Getting youth ideas and suggestions for effective use of the 2024 budget proposals to overcome the economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka today.” On the first day, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe and Chairman of the National Youth Service Council, Mr. Pasindu Gunaratne, participated as Chief Guests.
The fifth session of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament commenced as the Sergeant of Arms, accompanied by the Speaker of the Youth Parliament, entered the chamber with the mace. Prime Minister Pathum Ranasinghe inaugurated the session and delivered the welcome speech.
During this session, the deliberations centred on key topics, including the Youth Parliament Act, the Political Academy, the role of Regional Development Committees and the digitization of the Youth Parliament.
Additionally, a letter signed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe was presented to the young members of parliament as a token of appreciation for their proposals and ideas regarding the 2024 budget.
Addressing the assembly during its fifth session, Mr. Shehan Semasinghe, State Minister for Finance, emphasized the government has no intension of taking popular decisions and taking the country’s economy back to an era of collapse. The government’s commitment to making informed decisions that prioritize the long-term economic well-being of the country.
Sate Minister Semasinghe underscored the significant contrast between the prevailing circumstances and those prior to 2022, highlighting the widespread support of the youth for President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s steadfast leadership in steering the nation towards progress.
State Minister Shehan Semasinghe, conveyed that the government believes that members of the Youth Parliament have gained a comprehensive understanding of the presented budget document. The primary objective of this year’s budget, is to advance the country’s presently stable economy to full stability.
Additionally, a key aim of this year’s budget is to make 2024 a year of economic growth, a goal for which the entire nation has made significant sacrifices. Reflecting on the challenges of 2022, the undesirable experiences of that period are something no one wishes to see repeated. Consequently, this budget has been formulated with a comprehensive understanding of the crisis and its underlying causes, aiming to propel the nation forward.
In this endeavour, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has demonstrated resolute leadership, and the people of this country have rallied behind that determination. Irrespective of the President’s determination, the bridge between the state of the country 15 months ago and the present one would remain unconstructed if the public lacked faith in that determination. The collaboration among the President, the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the President’s Office, various key ministries and the citizens has played a pivotal role in achieving the current economic stability. This journey, however, was not without its challenges, as we underwent a rigorous and painful period to arrive at our present state.
It is crucial to comprehend the disparities between the situation 15 months ago and the present. Sri Lanka is not the only country to have faced such a severe economic collapse, yet it has remarkably transformed onto a trajectory of recovery in a short span. The restoration of the economy should be viewed beyond a political lens. The government, including the President, refrained from making decisions solely for popularity, recognizing that such decisions could have exacerbated the situation witnessed before 2022.
The contribution of the youth is indispensable in steering the country forward. Specifically, support from the youth community is crucial for regional development. The State Minister invited the youth to share their ideas and suggestions. If presented with viable and sustainable proposals, The Government is prepared to make necessary amendments. In a broader sense, the nation can be guided in the right direction through proposals that transcend political opinions.
The Government urge a thorough examination of the positive aspects of the budget as well as areas requiring further improvement. The future of decision-making in our country is anchored in data-based approaches. The President and the government are committed to a policy of decision-making grounded in properly evaluated data and numbers. Consequently, the success of the program to advance the country, aligned with global best practices, hinges on the support of the youth community.
The occasion was graced by the presence of Youth Parliament Speaker Nipuni Abeydeera, Prime Minister Pathum Ranasinghe, Opposition Leader Sitija Mihiranga, Presidential Director of Youth Affairs & Sustainable Development Mr Randula Abeweera and Director of Youth Affairs & Sustainable Development Satira Sarathchandra.