Monday, 29 June 2020 06:52

Only UNP can fix COVID-hit economy, says RW

The United National Party (UNP) yesterday called for the protection of export industries, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and warned that the impact of COVID-19 will be long term.

The comments were made by the UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the UNP’s General Election campaign launch yesterday afternoon at Sirikotha. The launch of the campaign was done via several digital platforms, with a number of meetings planned to be held online. The party has planned to reach voters via social media during the election campaign.

Wickremesinghe called on the public to rally around the UNP at the upcoming General Election to protect the weakening economy and revive it for a secure future. He stated that the Government has failed to manage the economy during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have to protect our export industries, our local industries and SMEs need to be protected so that we can secure our future,” he said, pointing out that the World Bank and World Health Organization has predicted that the impact of COVID-19 will remain for about two years.

The former Prime Minister commended the Government’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 outbreak, but claimed that the Government did not have a plan to face the second wave or revive the economy. “What has the SLPP Government been doing for the past five months? They don’t have a plan for economic revival, only the UNP has the necessary policies to get things back on track,” Wickremesinghe said, pointing out that the party will release policy plans in the near future.

He claimed that while cost of living was surging, unemployment was also increasing. “Can this situation continue for another six months? Will the economy and industries survive?” he questioned, stating that the party was ready to debate any concrete policies that the Government will bring to Parliament and support productive ones. He said that the public has little purchasing power and printing money was not the solution to the current challenges.

Wickremesinghe charged that the Government was threatening democracy in the country and infringing on independent institutions and the public service which were essential for democracy and good governance.

The embattled UNP leader claimed that the party’s aim was to form a Government and was not interested in throwing stones at detractors. He stressed that there were no agreements or deals between the Government and the UNP.

“We as politicians have to accept that many people are fed up with politicians and despise us. They are calling for parliamentarians, the entire 225 of us, to be thrown into the Diyawanna lake,” he told the gathering, adding that the party needed to connect with millennials and youth with policies that will secure their future.


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