New laws will be introduced to make Parliamentary approval mandatory for future agreements on state property or other vital matters of the country, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
Addressing a meeting with professionals in Colombo on Wednesday, he said this would be a priority task of the new Government formed after the General Election.
“The ‘Yahapalana’ Government sent a negative message to investors by halting Chinese funded projects, especially the Colombo Port City project. They signed an agreement to hand over the Hambantota port to China and the Eastern Terminal of the Colombo Port to India. Had that Government remained in power, more national assets of the country would have been sold,” he said.
“In 2019, a total of USD 4,500 million was acquired from two sovereign bonds. This sum alone is more than the sum of loans I took to construct the Hambantota Port, Norochcholai Power Plant, Colombo-Matara Expressway, Mattala Airport and the Uma Oya Project. Most of the individuals of the previous Government obtained these loans for the benefit of themselves rather than for the country,” he noted.
“The country’s economy was in shambles due to the shortsighted actions of the former ‘Yahapalana Government.We had to fight against the spread of COVID-19 while trying to maintain economic stability. The debt burden of the country had increased by 74 percent and the Rupee had depreciated by 40 percent. The economy significantly collapsed after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks. When Governments changed last November, we immediately implemented certain initiatives such as reduction of tax burden and interest rates to revive the economy step by step. However, this had not been easy due to the COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
“The only two sources of income to the country since the introduction of the open economy system in 1977 are migrant workers and garment industries. With the aim of transforming our country into a global trade centre, we created new income sources for the country after we eradicated the 30-years old brutal terrorism.
During the period from 2006-2014 the Per Capita Income of the country was increased at a high rate. Today the world economic currents have changed due to the global pandemic. That is why we need to support President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his team to successfully carry out programmes and projects to revive the economy for a better future of the country,” he added.