Viyathmaga Launched in the United Kingdom
By Dr Ranjith Dissanayake, MBBS
The Launch of the Viyathmaga UK Chapter was ushered on a pleasant Sunday spring afternoon on the 5th of May 2019 at the Thistle Hotel, Heathrow amidst a large gathering of mostly Sri Lankan professionals in the UK. The Viyathmaga initiative, a concept envisioned by Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which mooted the theme ‘fresh direction and new vision’, provides an impetus for civil society to contribute to the progress of the country.
The opening address by Mr. Upeksha Kaluarachchi MMc introduced the concept of Viyathmaga and its objectives. This was followed by a welcome address by Capt. Mahen Abayasekera, BA(Hons), a dynamic and resourceful lead of Viyathmaga UK . This was followed by a series of talks. Mr Upul Liyanage Msc, Bsc (Hons), spoke on the brain drain and the potential benefits to Sri Lanka by professionals living abroad. Mr. Jeyaraj Palihawardena LLB spoke on the need for empowering and revising existing legislation on counter terrorism in order to negate the undue interference by biased sections of the international community lobbying the UN Security Council. Mr Udena De Silva MA spoke on the mismatch of the current educational curriculum and the employment prospects of young graduates and qualified professionals.
The speeches were followed by the keynote address by Mr. Ajith Nivard Cabraal, former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, who spoke on the current political morass and economic downturn in Sri Lanka, and stressed the need for strong leadership with emphasis on strengthening Sri Lanka’s security and intelligence. The audience was then invited to a question and answer session with the speaker. The ensuing discussion highlighted the need for the eradication of bribery and corruption and the promotion of Good Governance. The speaker reassured the audience that these principles/policies will be the pledges of a future leader.
Next, the much awaited telecast address from Sri Lanka by the Chairman of Viyathmaga Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was well received to pin drop silence. Mr. Rajapaksa invited professionals to engage in and contribute their expertise for the development of Sri Lanka.
The knowledge, passion and clarity of delivery of the speakers, contributed to the success of this intellectually stimulating event. The programme came to close with the singing of the Sri Lankan and British national anthems.
A PLEA TO ALL CONCERNED TO FOLLOW THE RULE OF LAW
Authority and the Procedure of amending the constitution
In our view Parliament should not be bypassed even with the consent of Parliament itself for the purpose of bringing in a new Constitution.
An improperly motivated act even if done through proper means will never give a wholesome result. Similarly, an act though claimed to be done with proper motives, if carried out by improper means would still give the same unwholesome result.
Thus the motive and the means to achieve the end both have to be proper when creating a new Constitution. Though one may argue that the motives are not visible and therefore have to be taken at face value, the means cannot be justified in that manner since they are specified in our Constitution for all to see.
The many friends this Country never had when there was an actual need (during the period this Country was held to ransom by Terrorists) cannot claim to have ” moral ” authority to preach to us that we aught to violate our own Constitutional provisions since they were the most vociferous in insisting that we strictly follow the Rule of Law.
In terms of our Constitution, which is the Supreme Law of this Country, “Parliament shall not abdicate or in any manner alienate its legislative power, and shall not set up any authority with legislative power. “Vide. Article 76.(exemptions are provided for with regard to public security and for subsidiary legislation which are not relevant for Constitutional making)
Legislative power includes adding , amending or repealing any provision of the Constitution. However, Parliament cannot suspend the operation of the Constitution. But it can bring a law to repeal the whole Constitution provided the same law enacts a new Constitution to replace it (Vide. Article 75.
The manner in which amendments (including additions and repealing) should be done is provided in Chapter XII of the Constitution. Due to its importance when following the ” Rule of Law” for the purpose of enacting a new Constitution the entire chapter is reproduced below.
“AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION
82. (1) No Bill for the amendment of any provision of the Constitution shall be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament, unless the provision to be repealed, altered or added, and consequential amendments, if any, are expressly specified in the Bill and is described in the long title thereof as being an Act for the amendment of the Constitution.
(2) No Bill for the repeal of the Constitution shall be placed on the Order Paper of Parliament unless the Bill contains provisions replacing the Constitution and is described in the long title thereof as being an Act for the repeal and replacement of the Constitution.
(3) If in the opinion of the Speaker, a Bill does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) of this Article, he shall direct that such Bill be not proceeded with unless it is amended so as to comply with those requirements.
(4) Notwithstanding anything in the preceding provisions of this Article, it shall be lawful for a Bill which complies with the requirements of paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) of this Article to be amended by Parliament provided that the Bill as so amended shall comply with those requirements.
(5) A Bill for the amendment of any provision of the Constitution or for the repeal and replacement of the Constitution, shall become law if the number of votes cast in favour thereof amounts to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present) and upon a certificate by the President or the Speaker, as the case may be, being endorsed thereon in accordance with the provisions of Article 80 or 79.
(6) No provision in any law shall, or shall be deemed to, amend, repeal or replace the Constitution or any provision thereof, or be so interpreted or construed, unless enacted in accordance with the requirements of the preceding provisions of this Article.
(7) In this Chapter, “amendment” includes repeal, alteration and addition.
83. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the provisions of Article 82 –
(a) a Bill for the amendment or for the repeal and replacement of or which is inconsistent with any of the provisions of Articles 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 or of this Article; and
(b) a Bill for the amendment or for the repeal and replacement of or which is inconsistent with the provisions of paragraph (2) of Article 30 or of, paragraph (2) of Article 62 which would extend the term of office of the President, or the duration of Parliament, as the case may be, to over six years, shall become law if the number of votes cast in favour thereof amounts to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present), is approved by the People at a Referendum and a certificate is endorsed thereon by the President in accordance with Article 80.
84. (1) A Bill which is not for the amendment of any provision of the Constitution or for the repeal and replacement of the Constitution, but which is inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution may be placed on the Order paper of Parliament without complying with the requirements of paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) of Article 82.
(2) Where the Cabinet of Ministers has certified that a Bill is intended to be passed by the special majority required by this Article or where the Supreme Court has determined that a Bill requires to be passed by such special majority, such Bill shall become law only if the number of votes cast in favour thereof amounts to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members (including those not present) and a certificate by the President or the Speaker, as the case may be, is endorsed thereon in accordance with the provisions of Article 80 or 79.
(3) Such a Bill when enacted into law shall not, and shall not be deemed to, amend, repeal or replace the Constitution or any provision thereof, and shall not be so interpreted or construed, and may thereafter be repealed by a majority of the votes of the Members present and voting.”
Unless the correct procedure is followed any amendment will be invalid.
From the above it can be seen that the only method of enacting a new Constitution without violating the “Rule of Law” would be by bringing a Bill containing the entire proposed ( new) Constitution. (Vide Article 82(2) above). In fact unless it is done in that manner it will not be considered valid Law (Vide. Article 82(6) above).
Sovereignty of people and the consequence of violation of the same
Any conspiracy to bypass Parliament in Constitutional making would also amount to an attempt to deprive the people of Sri Lanka of their Sovereignty.
The legislative power of bringing in a new Constitution is part of the Sovereignty of the people which shall only be exercised by Parliament(Vide. Article 4(a) of the Constitution)
Section 115 of our Penal Code states inter alia, ” whoever conspires to deprive the people of the Republic of Sri Lanka of their Sovereignty shall be punished with imprisonment of either description which may extend to twenty years…”
Thus it should be clear, to follow the Constitution when bringing in a new Constitution should not only be for the purpose of following the ” Rule of Law” but to give the new Constitution validity and for Parliamentarians to avoid being imprisoned by not being a part of any conspiracy to abdicate their legislative powers exercised on behalf of the people.
Since there is currently a discussion of replacing the entire Constitution, assuming that the calls for the implementation of the ” Rule of Law” by ” Civil Society Activists”, “International Community (that does not respect this Country’s Sovereignty)”and their fellow travelers in the recent past was a genuine call, it is hoped they would join hands with us when we call upon our legislators not to violate our Constitution.
Lack of trust on the Prime Minister who spearheads the proposed amendments
Unfortunately, the people of this Country would find it difficult to trust the incumbent Prime Minister on his genuineness and suitability to spearhead the amendment/new constitution given his past record.
The obvious example that comes to any body’s mind would be the infamous CFA which he signed violating the very same Constitution he voted for as a member of parliament in 1978.
In his previous term as Prime Minister in2002 bypassing the elected head of State, he signed this agreement with a terrorist organization headed by a convicted criminal compromising the sovereignty, defense, & security of the Country.This act in our view amounts to Treason.
Though subsequently with a change of Government terrorism was overcome and National security preserved, the cost was that much more due to the benefits derived by the terrorists and their supporters by the CFA.In fact much of our present day predicament is due to this unwarranted recognition given to a band of terrorists and their supporters.
Fate of previous new constitutions and amendments
Any procedure which seeks to bypass the established norms and procedure as per the Constitution for the purpose of creating a new constitution or amending it , without people feeling that they are part of it will result in opposition and continued criticism of the final product.
Even though the 1978 constitution may have been passed legally, the drastic changes in the structure of the Constitution were never debated among the people. The result is even those who were part of the making and approving process now criticize the very same and want to change it!
The 13th amendment was imposed on us in the background of the ill conceived Indo-Lanka accord notwithstanding the opposition of the majority in this country. To date the opposition to the 13th amendment continues and if a referendum is taken on this today one will see the true picture.
The same fate was experienced by the 18th amendment which was passed in the parliament legally but never tested for acceptance by the public.
Therefore if any more amendments/or a new constitution is made without the content being first put forward to the public for discussion with wide participation and inclusiveness of the people, another set of problems and a long drawn resistance would be the result.
The correct way of obtaining the peoples mandate
The correct way of bringing amendments and seeking the peoples mandate is stipulated in the Constitution. There should be an opportunity for people to take their concerns to the Supreme Court and debate them adequately.
The commission that went around may have collected ideas.However, even ideas of certain people who made written representations have not been produced by the commission as an appendix.Thus ideas not to the liking of the commissioners have obviously been left out.
Thus their report or new reports or suggestions that the commission may subsequently produce CANNOT BE CONSIDRED AS CONSENSUS OPINION OF THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY.
Unless each separate amendment is taken separately through the correct process through Parliament and tested at a referendum such will lack both moral and legal authority.
Therefore Citizens must express and continue to express our views in public and protest against any deviation in the process of making a new constitution/amendments or inclusion of any clauses which could harm the national interest.
Our Suggestions on concepts and the content of amendments or a new Constitution.
As to the content of any proposed amendment (provided it is done within the Law as aforesaid) we would insist that our legislators stick to at least the basic safeguards of the Unitary character of our State, Sovereignty not to be alienated from the Parliament and the President( or any future head of State in any other form) and the protection of our National culture by genuinely affording protection to our Buddhist way of life.
With the above basic safeguards in place, any amendment which enhances quality of life of our Citizens, while constantly protecting our National interest may be carried out.
Any amendment which seeks to achieve what the terrorists and their supporters sought to achieve through violence but failed , but is now being proposed by those who claimed that the LTTE were their sole representatives should not be considered.
This is based on the following moral and legal argument.
a) Successive Governments offered negotiated settlements of whatever grievances that were claimed to have existed.
b) These were all rejected by their sole representative the LTTE who wanted a “solution” by separation of the Country based on military strength.
c) This attempt by the LTTE was defeated militarily by the Democratically elected Government of this Country.
d) Those who sought a final “solution” in that manner have no moral or legal right to renegotiate after such a defeat. If a precedent from a source that is close to the heart of the present Government is required, the imposition of a Constitution by America on Japan after the 2nd World war may be cited.
e) The collaborators of the Natzi’s were not permitted to negotiate after the Natzi defeat.
We suggest that entrenched clauses be incorporated to the Constitution vis-a-vis the LTTE and their supporters that are similar to those which are still in place against the Natzis in Europe.
Professionals with National interest at heart should form a committee and draft an entire new Constitution based on the above basic principles and submit to all our legislators for their consideration in due course.
HOW TO DESIGN A FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
When designing a fire alarm system to protect your building, there are many factors which you should take into consideration. Unfortunately, if you want a reliable and safe system, mere compliance with the legal requirements may not be enough. To make sure your building is protected, you should determine the primary purpose of the fire alarm while considering all the features of your building. How many people are working in it simultaneously? Is it a listed building or a modern office block or a Warehouse or an Industrial Facility? And, finally, what do you want to achieve? High cost-effectiveness or convenience in monitoring the building? Depending on your needs, there are different types of fire alarm systems that you can select.
Conventional Fire Alarm System
This traditional system is the most common choice, especially among residential clients and small business owners. It’s suitable to cover small areas such as private homes, restaurants and shops. Unfortunately, the conventional system is unable to show you the exact location of fire. That’s why it’s suitable to cover mostly small areas such as private homes, restaurants and shops. Bigger buildings can be divided into zones (for example, the first floor could be one zone, etc.) giving you a general idea of the fire location. Keep in mind, though, that a device covering each area requires a separate wire, which can increase installation costs in bigger buildings.
Despite its simplicity, conventional fire alarm systems are highly reliable. They are also affordable and cost effective, especially in small buildings, in which one or two zones are enough to cover the whole area.
This fire alarm system is more sophisticated compared to its conventional counterpart. Instead of a separate wire for each device, all of them are connected to the main control panel using a loop. This lowers the installation cost down, especially in large buildings. Additionally, it’s easy to find the exact location of fire as each device has its unique address in the system.
Addressable systems are quite easy to maintain because both technical condition of the system and all the alarms can be monitored using a convenient management panel. The system is also fully programmable what together with a loop wiring makes it easy to connect a new device, what’s especially important if you plan on redesigning the building in the future.
Although the initial cost of this system is higher than that of a conventional one, it’s much easier to install and is a perfect choice for large, multi-storey buildings.
Wireless fire alarm system
In this system, all devices are communicating wirelessly; no wiring in the building is required. This makes it an excellent choice for listed buildings, in which installing wires may require special permission. Similarly, those who value flexibility (location of each device can be changed easily) or simply do not want to make extensive installations will find this system a perfect fire protection.
Their high initial cost quickly offsets as there’s no need to run the cables, what allows saving on labour, time and potential damage to the building during the installation. Even though the system is battery-powered, it is highly reliable, and there’s no risk of signal collisions as it is designed to eliminate any signal interference.
What else is important?
Apart from technical specifications unique to each system, there are a few factors which are similarly important regardless of your selection. The first important factor is the speed in which the system reacts to fire outbreak. In the case of fire, every second counts and allows for evacuation of people. The earlier a fire is detected, the easier it will be to extinguish it, minimizing the damage.
Another problem that affects many fire alarm systems are false alarms. Check if the devices in the system of your choice are reliable enough to distinguish between dirt, steam, and the actual smoke easily. The fines imposed for each false alarm may exceed the initial savings on the chosen system; that’s why you should make sure that you select quality devices only and most importantly Listed and Approved by the Third Party Certification bodies for the purpose. Moreover, each false alarm forces people to stop working and leave the building.
Similarly, it is extremely important to consider the detection devices suitable to the particular environment conditions prevailing in the building and the ceiling or roof height where those are going to be installed to prevent false alarms as well as “faulty” conditions in the panel connected therewith and ineffectiveness respectively.
Last but not least – make sure that all of the occupants in the building can hear the alarm. If there are many people inside it, it’s a good idea to choose a fire alarm system which allows you to communicate with those leaving the building, to keep the evacuation process as smooth as possible.
Further, the effectiveness of a fire detection system specifically by large facilities or spread out operations can be enhanced by monitoring the central fire alarm panels within the facility and connecting it to a remote monitoring station manage by General Headquarters of Fire Prevention on 24 hour basis for quick attendance by Public Fire Brigade.
Designing a fire alarm system that perfectly suits your building is not an easy task and can be quite costly. Despite the initial expense, you should never try to save money on your safety and the safety of others. The installation and maintenance costs of a quality system are very low compared to potential losses caused by the actual fire, and the cost can be highly optimized if you design the system with your building and its occupants in mind.
Nimal Tissa Wijetunga
- Fellow of Institute of Fire Engineers, UK. (FIFireE)
- Professional Member of Society of Fire Engineers, USA.(MSFPE)
- Member of the Institution of Risk Management, UK.(MIRM)
- Certified Fire Protection Specialist, National Fire Protection Association, USA.(CFPS)
(The author of this Article has over 25 years hands on experience and exposure on Risk Engineering, Fire Engineering and Health & Safety to all occupations such as road side shops, High Rise Buildings, Warehouses, Distribution Centers, Logistic Facilities, Industrial, Oil & Gas Facilities etc. through Insurance Companies, Fire Safety Consultancies and the Construction Industry Internationally and recent times in Sri Lanka.
DISASTERS OF FIRE INCIDENTS – ARE WE READY?
Recent fire disasters in the world have interestingly occurred primarily in developed countries that abide by Fire Engineering rules and regulations known as “Codes, Standards, Data Sheets” or “Engineering Standards”. These rules and regulations are statutory documents and offenders found in breach can be prosecuted.
The set of above mentioned rules and regulations prescribe “Minimum Mandatory Requirements” against fire destruction of life and properties. Despite these existing standards, there have been many disastrous fire incidents recently, such as the incident at Grenfell Tower, which aroused great interest mainly due to its location in West London. This fire disaster created huge property destruction and carried an extremely high fatality rate, despite the United Kingdom being a world leader in Fire Prevention standards. More so, it is even more shocking for such an event to occur in the 21st century; a time when the United Kingdom views itself as a pioneer in advances in science, technology and engineering in fire prevention.
Before exploring details of recent fire disasters worldwide, it is important to provide a general overview of Fire Engineering.
Fire Engineering is a relatively new discipline amongst other classical engineering disciplines such as Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Chemical. It applies technological, engineering and scientific findings developed through research on Fire Inception and Propagation by case studies, full scale fire testing and statistics. These aim to confine fire incidents to the smallest possible area, thus improving safety, reducing fatalities and minimising property losses.
Major Recent Fire Incidents
- Grenfell Tower
Location: West London, UK
Date of incident: 14th June 2017
Height: 67.3 metres/220 feet
No. of floors: 29
No. of apartments: 120
No. of fatalities: 80
No. of injured: 70
- The Address Hotel/Apartments
Location: Downtown Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date of incident: 31st December 2015
No. of fatalities: 1
No. of injured: 20
- Torch Tower
Location: Dubai Marina, United Arab Emirates
Date of incident: 21st February 2015 & 5th August 2017
Height: 337 metres/1110 feet
No. of floors: 87
No. of apartments: 676
No. of fatalities: Nil
No. of injured: 10
- Shanghai Apartment Block
Location: Shanghai, Peoples’ Republic of China
Date of incident: 15th November 2010
Height: Not known.
No. of floors: 28
No. of apartments: 125
No. of fatalities: 58
No. of injured: 70
- Warehouse Building
Location: Fairfield, South Baltimore, USA
Date of incident: 25th September 2017
Floor area: 94,000 sq. feet / 9500 sq. metres
Goods stored: Goods fashioned from plastics
- Warehouse Building
Location: St. Louis, USA.
Date of incident: 15th November 2017
Area; app. 10,000 sq. meters.
Goods stored: Medical items and records in cardboard boxes
- Imperial Sugar Factory
Location: Port Wentworth, Georgia, USA
Cause of Loss: Dust Explosion and Fire
Date of incident: 7th February 2008
- Buncefield Oil Storage Facility
Location: Hemel Hempstead, UK
Date of Incident: 11th December 2005
Owner: Total & Texaco
Goods stored: Petrol, diesel, jet fuel
Current & Future
The skyline of Sri Lanka is rapidly changing with the increasing development of high rise buildings used for residential, hotel and office purposes. Given the country’s rapid economic development, there is likely going to be a move towards the growth of super high-rise buildings, warehouses, distribution centres, logistic facilities, factories, oil storage facilities, residential buildings and international hotels. Such infrastructure expansions are imperative for the country’s economy to keep up with the pace of local and international export demand.
In view of the above, the production processes, storage of goods in warehouses and distribution centres, activities in high rise buildings and other infrastructure facilities may increase the risk of starting a fire incident accidentally or deliberately. The most commons reasons for this is due to failure of electric systems, production processes involving combustible or flammable raw material, combustible dust emissions, hot work, cold work and inevitably, the role of human error. Unfortunately, there have been situations whereby employees and the public fire brigade alike have failed to control or confine fire using available fire-fighting resources, leading to devastating consequences of loss of human lives and property loss worth millions, if not billions.
What is our plan for the Readiness?
We need to understand that in the midst of the rush for development, there could be a situation where safety of people and properties may be compromised. Safety may not be prioritised by authorities involved in infrastructure development as it could slow the completion of construction and consequently, critical protocols regarding fire safety, and safety as a whole, may be missed.
Our experience and exposure suggest that such technical lapses and omissions occurred in major countries during rapid development and as a result, the above-mentioned fire incidents happened with greater devastation. It is also very important to recognise that those countries in which the above fire incidents occurred, have highly developed infrastructure for firefighting and engineering standards in place. Nevertheless, these devastating fire incidents still occurred.
In view of the above, Sri Lanka must start learning from the experiences of others and take action before disaster strikes. Being proactive and learning from previous mistakes is crucial in order to prevent the devastation and destruction that accompany fire accidents. It is imperative to understand the importance of firefighting internally & externally and the necessity to impose statutory requirements on fire prevention measures in various occupations, operations and activities. If existing protocols are found to be inadequate, remedial measures must be taken promptly and in a coordinated approach to ensure effective application.
Nimal Tissa Wijetunga
- Fellow of Institute of Fire Engineers, UK (FIFireE)
- Professional Member of Society of Fire Protection Engineers, USA (MSFPE)
- Member of the Institution of Risk Management, UK (MIRM)
- Certified Fire Protection Specialist, National Fire Protection Association, USA (CFPS)
The author of this article has over 25 years of hands on experience and exposure to Risk Engineering, Fire Engineering and Health & Safety through insurance companies, fire safety consultancies and the construction industry both in Sri Lanka and internationally. These have been involved in various occupations such as road side shops, high rise buildings, warehouses, distribution centres, logistic facilities, industrial and oil and gas facilities
After good governance duumvirate setup in 2015, a little in the city, started to comment on signs of enlarging living cost. Thereafter commoners also felt to discuss soaring prices of goods and services.
Now, all most everyone definitely talking and believes no due diligence in price mechanism, inflation is a myth, the country is edging to a stagflation, soaring pricing after every meal, every purchase and apparently no sign of relief for living
It is clearly understood, no need profile of examination, academic interest or an economist to realise, no growth in the country. Tangible economic indexes are fallen close to freezing levels during last thirty-six months or more. It is a standing alarm that we have come to an end of beginning of the end. We are sitting on the departure platform, waiting for the last train to Dunkirk.
Cost is no surprise surged on common consumables. Food and beverages to un known credible limits.
Price hiking, like mid night express running all over the country, paralyzing economy and the system. The Escalating immovable and movable asset prices, cost of in built consumer Court common bands – formalities (even a funeral), expenditure on wedding arrangement or funding to education, find nobody could escapes resorting to an institutional or personal debt to rescue. It is a known truth average household Consumers seeking the funding from informal money lenders for survival by pawning every possible asset to feed their families, pawning become in house circle of common debt trap in Mass population.
People claim, even the worst period of 2009/10 when skimming in the war, not having experienced a difficult of living, like the present. Is this result of inflation? In other words, Sri Lankan are experiencing a running inflation.
“Inflation is a situation of a gradual increase of price levels and decline in the value of money. “Inflation means that your money won’t buy as much today as you could yesterday.” (1)
Colombo Consumer Price Index (CCPI) BASE 2006/7 – “A Consumers’ Price Index serves a number of purposes. It is an indicator to measure the changes in the general level of consumer prices and used as one of the key indicators of inflation. Consumers’ Price Index is also used for socio-economic analysis, and policy purposes,
mainly in the determination of monetary and income policies. It is used in the analysis of the trends in wages and other monetary incomes, for indexation of salaries and wages etc.” (2)
According to the official statement of Census and Statistical Department of Sri Lanka, CPI (Colombo Price Index) is a measure to analyze limited macroeconomic situation but not myriad of economic situational analysis of the financial and social environment. Therefore, the result is not the body chemistry of economic paradigm, but merely for statistical satisfaction of consumption behavior of non-existing breakout nation. The statistics could be used only for black and white purpose for recording, sensible measurement of purchasing power of nonexistence zombie living-dying society
It is an absolute factor, the figures shown above are quite debatable as these approved figures are acceptable to wage earners and would agree to contracted to work in return for price in the existing market rates. When practically and actually in the sensed of inflation, wages cannot accommodate the present cost of living in the country and signs of Stagflation coming in to the horizon of social existence.
Our capacities are drying, our buying power no more, the stability is bleeding and soundness incarcerated. Therefore, examining our fundamentals are important, in a no-go situation. Are we experiencing an inflation or stagflation?
The Stagflation, is the worse situation of inflation. it is a combination of stagnant economic growth, high unemployment, and high inflation. In 2004, Zimbabwe’s policies caused stagflation. The government printed so much money it went beyond stagflation and turned into hyperinflation. In Germany same situation existed during world war 11.
Most of European countries were badly hit as war devastated the countries, Economies, as no sustainable production were initiated, therefore growth reduced to zero. But Sri Lanka had nothing in that caliber since the war successfully ended in 2009/10.
The rapid growth diminished by devastating economic policies and Selfish personal political agendas of duumvirate setup.
Endless Borrowing and monsoon of spending
The debt takers (The State) not reluctantly, but enjoy getting credit from all available sources, irrespective of financial, social, security or delinquent obligations. Factually they roaming in the all available lenders, unobtrusively.
The gravity of unconscious credit expansion now flowing over the streets, adding constant duties, taxes and fines are very common, avoiding no one, except law makers. The controversial bond scam on 27th Feb 2015, added bond value of Rs10 bio for 30 years, adding enhancement of interest rate over 3.5% or Rs.126 bio to the National debt. This scam pushed inflation and further depreciation of local currency
The qualified figures indicated our total debt (Domestic & foreign) has big picture of 10,313 mio or domestic running to 5,594 mio and foreign to 4,718 mio as 2017 (unaudited) in addition to that Sri Lanka is planning a 250 million US dollar equivalent Panda (Yuan denominated) bond in China in 2018, Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy with further 1.0 billion from a syndicated loan from China Development Bank with one more IMF transfer of 250 million US (5)
During the period of 36 months the government has borrowed over USD 16 billion in foreign currency loans alone, the script as follows, includes as cumulated as CBSL figures not disputed so far. (6)
- USD 7.2 billion through the issue of Sri Lanka Development Bonds. from January 2015 onwards
- USD 3.6 billion from sovereign bonds issued in 2015 and ¼ 2017,
- USD 2.2 billion through currency swap arrangements with India in 2015 and 2016
- USD 1.7 billion through syndicated loans arranged through several international banks in 2016
- 2017 and USD 1.5 billion from the IMF Extended Fund Facility in 2016.
The Economist have sounded alarm, that the borrowing of $16 bio or over has no substantial and qualified evidence to support investment destinations or source of investment, No debt liquidation or parking of a such a mammoth quantity of financial resources. No clue of the spent fiscal budget or statement of account for last three and half years, meanwhile no citizen witness any micro or macro project initiated for the benefit of the public, but noticed large scale scams in mega highway projects, treasury borrowings or detection of global harvest of narcotics in our shores.
It is reasonable to have a forensic work study on some of the major credit obtained during 2010 to 2015, soon after ending armed conflict. As a developing country the internal war categorically denied and also demanded rapid growth, as losing three decades of economic penetration life.
Project borrowing completed till 2015, on conclusion of conflict
- Norochcholay Power Plant (All three phases) US$1,350
- Sourthern Express way US$ 740
- Hambantota Phase 1 and 11 US$1,300
- Colombo Katunayake Expressway US$ 292
- Mattala Airport US$ 209
It is no surprise some massive projects undertaken during 2015, and those were not finished, presently in line to finished for operational startup. The Rajagiriya overhead way, Moragahakanda Multi development Project, Kandy -Colombo Expressway, Southern Expressway Section from Matara to Hambantota, the southern Railways from Matara to Beliatte are some of the listed.
Moragahakanda – Kaluganga Poject ownership is claimed by the Government elected after 2015, now a situational report been called to ascertain the statement of creditability. Notwithstanding any claim, we rejoice as citizen, ending of an important project, which is the last under the massive Mahavely development & social scheme.
Increasing Revenue by resorting to constant fiscal adjustments (7)
The following table indicates, the state accumulated 1,832 bio as revenue against 1,455 bio collected in 2015. This is a plausible factor, how fair this was done just twenty-four months from 2015. A mammoth 377 bio increment shown in the books of fiscal report of year 2017. How it appears
The tax collection has increased by 314 bio during the period under review. If it by expansion existing tax table, people greatly inconvenienced, but imposing all round new blade of taxation like WHT on all interest earning accounts, personal income, all income earning services are some. Another 62 bio from non-tax revenue
According to Treasury reports the government has spent Rs.403 billion, 91 per cent of the revenue earned during the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.The revenue collected by the government was Rs.469 billion which was 90.2 per cent of the expected revenue. Expected state expenditure for the year 2018 is Rs. 3,982 billion, while the total estimated revenue is Rs. 2,175 billion, a senior Treasury official said adding that the collection of expected revenue has now become difficult. (8)
Non-Tax revenue includes banking services profits transfers, state service providers like UDA, RDA (Highway toll) insurance, fines, penalties etc. Within banking transfers, profits from State Bank charging from customers on loans and advances and non-interest income too. If service providers recover from clients, inflation standing against poor buying power.
It is quite surprised, all these factors lead to inflationary economic stimulus, but declaring 4 to 6.6% inflation is how far tolerable, the figure. If the figure reads 35- 40 may be right, we reached the point of demise. That’s stagflation,
Exchange rate deterioration
Local exchange rate is virtually coming to the shocking destination over Rs.161 as of 16th August 2018. The floating exchange rate becomes a curse of free market system of Sri Lanka, as stupid fiscal manipulations of economic hitmen ruin markets and bleed the system, beyond repair. The rupee depreciation along a mammoth 196 Billion from January – June 2018. Its low as selling at Rs. 161 burn value over 21% from December 2014 levels. (Global Finance Magazine). This was at 131 in 2015 mid-January.
Sri Lanka Rupee – Forecast Last Q3/1 Q4/18 Q1/19 Q2/19 2020
Value 160 159 160 161 162 165
The economic management in foreign reserves are deepening as US$9.9 billion in April 2018 had dropped to US$8.4 billion at the end of July. CBSL has released $357 mio in May-June 2017, sterilized intervention to prevent depreciation artificially by pegging US$1.5 bio out of reserves. It is not revealed to public the swap cost, but no frequently like Sri Lanka, starving for exchange as our exports become dry, inward remittances and even borrowing are remote and expensive.
If CBSL intervened to liquidate so much of reserves in the foam of Investments, setting off loan funding or inward receipts, to desist the designated Rupee dollar currency devaluation, from the York Street Banks to shelves at market, Pettah, nothing prevented accelerating inflation fly by ariel route to the consumer (9)
MONEY PRINTING – New Money issues (10)
The new money issue has been standing between 89.3 in 2014 had swelled to 182.7 and returned to 83.7 in 2017. Under these emphatical proven evidence very clearly expose, actual market realities against demand and supply and where our economic situational analysis speak of Inflation
Capital market in Sri Lanka has no credibility among other markets due to corruption, manipulations and scams. In recent history the insider dealings, blowing havocked the stability and trust among interested stake holders, the corrections were late or not corrected at all. (11)
The Sri Lankan Stock market figures indicates very dissatisfactory picture on the available outcome. Market Capitalization (Total money invested by Stake holders) average price and all share price index were faded, no one interested to float money on the stocks due to lost confidence in stability and soundness.
Sri Lankan Markets have no positive signs of recovery, stagnated, never be a wall Street NY after resounding recovery from meltdown 2008, after quantitative Easing (QE), Sri Lanka is in a volunteer turmoil without a Banking crisis but for corruption, scams, insider dealings and tricksters.
At the conclusion, please peruse the abstraction from State Fiscal report, indicating shocking revelation of public interest on absorbing information. People drastically lost reading interest, Publishers lost many news prints in all three language. You can imagine one strong reason is poor purchasing power, another may be un – interest of bogus media attributed by blowers.
Finally, you have the option to confess whether the country is sailing on an inflationary cloud or we are under the doldrum on stagflation. On either option, the time is running fast to an exit, a dramatic exit, on a footless Economy
By Mawella K Prematilleke
(3) Real Wage Rate Indices are based on National Consumer Price Index (2013=100)” Source:
Central Bank of Sri Lanka)
(4) Central Bank of Sri Lanka
(5) ECONOMYNEXT, Colombo/Aug03/Aug 04/2018)
(7) (11) (12) (13) ANNUAL REPORT-2017 MINISTRY OF FINANCE, SRI LANKA (IN TERMS OF
SECTION 13 OF THE FISCAL MANAGEMENT (RESPONSIBILITY) ACT NO. 03 OF 2003
(10) The Sunday times/July 15, 2018, by Ms S Gunaratne, Asst Governor, CBSL, Sri Lanka