The government has devoted its first two years in office to stabilise the economy. Sri Lanka which faced an unbearable debt burden is now repaying its loans with difficulty, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.
“We do not want to leave the debt burden to the younger generation. Eventhough we laid emphasis on relieving the debt burden, we did not forget the country’s backwoods”, the Premier said. The Prime Minister made this observation addressing a meeting of the Baddegama UNP Central Organisation held near the Baddegama Sathipola premises on October 15.
The Prime Minister said the government did not wish to hark back on the good work done during the last few years. The fact remains that it had increased the salaries of government and private sector employees, reduced fuel prices, approved funds for village development and developed the schools network under the (Hondama Pasala Langama Pasala) “Best school is the Nearest School” programme.
The Prime Minister who recalled that his ancestors hailed from the Galle, Kalahe and Baddegama areas added that the government had launched development work to the tune of Rs.240 million in the Baddegama area.
“The government’s objective was to develop the Galle district on par with the Colombo District. Plans were underway to usher in rapid development in the Southern Province. The foremost endeavour was to revive and develop the Hambantota Port and the Mattala airport which remained white elephants. “The Chinese Government had agreed to payback 1 billion dollars to Sri Lanka out of the money it spent on the Hambantota Port, provided that we agreed to develop the facility as a joint venture,” the Prime Minister added.
“Sri Lanka had agreed to invest Rs.30 billion as its share to offer a new beginning to the Port. China will bring in machinery worth 600 million US dollars to develop the port and we could witness a fully equipped and operational Hambantota Port by 2018 or 2019. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said.
The Prime Minister said the Indian Civil Aviation Company was having discussions to operate the Mattala Airport in league with Sri Lanka. All this would enable the country to manage its debt burden.
The Prime Minister said identification of land was underway in Galle and Matara to set up Trade Zones.
“Galle had good development prospects because it is situated between Galle and Hambantota Ports and two major airports. Employment opportunities would increase with the increase in private sector investments in the region,” the Premier added.
“The government also hoped to usher in development encompassing the Hiniduma, Deniyaya Rakwana, Kalawana and Agalawatte areas and develop tourism while protecting the Sinharaja tropical rain forest. Another development belt is underway from Kandy to Wellawaya. In Kalutara, 800 acres of land had been earmarked to launch a trade zone,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister who commended Parliamentarian Bandulal Bandarigoda for setting up a UNP Central organisation in Baddegama, within a short period, described him as a very active and efficient Parliamentarian. He had been working round the clock to develop the Baddegama area.
The Prime Minister said he hoped that the UNP would be able to win both the Yakkalamulla and Baddegama Pradesheeya Sabha elections after setting up branch unions in the two areas.
Ministers Vajira Abeywardena Gayantha Karunatilleke and Harin Fernando, Parliamentarian Bandulal Bandarigoda Southern Provincial Council member Sumanasiri Liyanage and Manjula Liyanage also spoke.
Parliamentarians Wijayapala Hettiarachchi, Chaminda Wijesiri, Hesha Vithanage Provincial Council, Members Jayantha Jayaweera and Sunil Senanayake were also present on the occasion.