By Kusal Perera -
Much is talked of in the media about economic growth in Sri Lanka in the course of the previous decade or so. Finance Ministry and Treasury Secretary Dr. Jayasundera whose been there from about 1990, very first as Advisor to the Ministry of Finance is still hopeful of economic development he had not accomplished for the duration of the last 02 decades (In amongst he was for a quick spell, Consultant and then Chairman PERC and absent for 02 years when Charitha Ratwatte held the position during RW’s government) of his powerful and dominating presence in the treasury.
Nivad Cabraal, the other kingpin in this regime who talks company was quoted saying, FDI would reach a high of 20 per cent of GDP by subsequent year (hardly 02 months away in 2015). Explaining the indicators of an emerging economy, he had stated, ads on restaurants, dining, tours and travels, autos, etc are increasing exponentially. “When going by way of the weekend newspapers we can see this,” he was quoted, attributing this as a single indicator of a developing economy which is expanding by 7.five per cent.(Very good Time To Mull Consolidating The Insurance coverage Sector – CB Governor / ST Company Occasions – 09 Nov.2014)
That may be their total understanding of budgeting and business. But for confident, these 3 hundred thousand plus who voted against this regime at the Uva Pc elections last September, wouldn’t know or really feel this financial growth by way of advertisements that Cabral is proud of. I have not been in such company to feel that growth either. For that reason, in spite of what the two large guns in this regime say, this is little pondering on what massive corporate entities and individual enterprise guys and women ought to be undertaking in Sri Lanka, apart from creating earnings. Making income is what companies are meant for is not disputed though.
Compared to pre-Jayawardne era, this unbridled and fenceless open economy because 1978 has offered massive space and freedom for the company and trader community in Sri Lanka to stockpile earnings. This segment in the Sri Lankan economy frequently referred to as the “private sector” is accepted as the “engine of growth”. Wickramesinghe government in 2002 called it so, in “Regaining Sri Lanka”, their economic plan. No present day political leader in government or in the opposition (even the JVP?) would dispute that status of the private sector. Handful of would say, “Yes, but with a lot less corruption”. None would disagree. “Controlled” corruption is the norm. Even in developed 1st globe nations where social awareness and civil responsibility is higher and democratic structures for good governance are in place, corruption and fraud are portion of their life.
Common belief is, if governance can be organised without having politicians, there will be no corruption in society. I totally disagree. Corruption is only attainable if two other partners move into share the “big deal” where politicians can only determine. One, the conniving Ministry Secretary who plays proxy to the politician. The other, the businessman who is prepared to spend for the “deal” in return for huge enterprise. Usually in present day Sri Lanka, it is the businessman who takes the project to the politician. And corruption needs loopholes or bending of the law or both, worked out by ministry Secretaries or a strong administrator.
That holds the private sector company equally accountable as any corrupt politician and no much less. It was proved so in the LMS privatisation and Insurance coverage Corporation sell out. Can I for that reason ask the private sector leaders, “Can the private sector be the engine of development on wheeler dealing?” Can genuine firms thrive in a “Zimbabwian Syndrome”? I firmly think most entrepreneurs, most corporate entities would not want to invest and do enterprise in an uncertain, wholly unpredictable and a heavily corrupt society. Most entrepreneurs would want to minimise danger and that to a excellent extent depend on how stable, how level the playing field is and predictable the future is. How do corporate bosses as a result see this Sri Lankan society and its future ?
This society is an ugly ailing society though firms still make profits. It is not only mega plunder and looting that no a lot more can be referred to as “corruption” that makes this society sick and ugly. Every single arm of the State is putrefying. The whole public administration has turned into a meek collective of spineless political stooges at each level. It is inefficient and with no dignity. Potent officials like Jayasundera who live on unconditional political energy can as a result insult higher officials in public and walkout proud (“Public Lashing of State Officials by PBJ” / ST Organization Instances / 09 Nov.2014). An administration that’s spineless is not one particular that can provide effectively and with independent authority.
Certainly, in such context, State solutions can’t deliver even the fundamentals and the minimum. Modest time but rampant corruption the Bribery Commission highlights as massive achievements are in nearby level service delivery. From Grade I college admissions to traffic offences on the road, from motor car registration to family certificates for migrant housemaid employment the whole society is reeking with politicised inefficiency, selective treatment and corruption, accepted as essential for every day living. Within such erosion of social life, formal education in urban poor and rural society reaching up to universities, have lost their goal and dignity. Well being is no better. Medical persons and their specialist organisations are a disgrace to intellect and ethics needed in a noble service treating human beings.
The judiciary from its pinnacle proper down, is far worse. The best is heavily politicised and acts accordingly. Removal of the 43rd Chief Justice and appointment of the 44th proved how subverted the apex Court is. The rut set in from specifically the time of Sarath N. Silva who paved the way for shameless crossovers in parliament. Parliamentary democracy is no far more. He accepted he delivered a judgement for which he now begs a public pardon, again for his personal selfish political reasons. Silva hence accepts intentional misuse of the highest position in the judiciary. A crime against society, against 20 million individuals, he need to be punished for, but is applauded as a hero alternatively. This society has no values and no conscience.
Correct down to the regional level, the judiciary is corrupt and inefficient as well. I’ve heard of suspects, some even without a trial fixed, kept in remand custody for unending years. I’ve heard of guys with non bailable offences enlarged on bail. I’ve study in the media often occasions, Magistrates nodding approval of killings, when police officers claim it was in self defence. Custodial killings are in no way questioned and investigated. But carried via constantly with the exact same script and approved in Courts with no lawyer wanting to challenge such scripted killings.
Police have been frequently accused as one particular of the most corrupt government departments in this country. They are not only corrupt they are into criminal acts also. From DIG Vas Gunawardne down to SPs, ASPs and OICs, there are many cases and allegations of contract killing, bribery, sexual abuse and political thuggery. At local level, it is widespread now to accept the police to heed the ruling politician ahead of they make decisions. And by now, their behaviour on camera proves they don’t often stick to law and order, even when racist thugs take to the streets.
With the police noticed and understood as a political appendage of the ruling regime, this society is seeing a heavy improve in crimes. Of extortions, abuse and sexual molestation of young children, rape and murder of ladies, drug peddling and murder turning into frequent occurrences in every day life. All crimes, seeping into rural life with neighborhood government bodies stacked with village thugs. They are maintained via several State funded projects and wield State energy. These nearby power wielders abuse their status and are responsible for most youngster abuse situations, rape of girls and possibly drug peddling too.
This break down of social life can be very easily gauged by the truth that this society is a fast decaying society. Ever heard of mothers killing their infants, dumping them at bus halts or jumping into rivers so often, ten years ago ? Ever heard of fathers sexually abusing their personal youngsters and brutally killing them? Ever noticed a citizenry watching a policeman physically maul a lady in broad daylight and then go their way without having a word? Can corporate leaders ignore all this and continue generating income?
Corporate Social Duty (CSR) is beyond funds channelled for isolated neighborhood projects. I firmly think, as a social segment that carves out income from social life, corporate leaders cannot behave like the international corporate who ignored the outbreak of “Ebola”. (quote) In Africa, the infected population is continuing to grow. As a lot of as 21,000 individuals are sick with the virus in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and that quantity could grow to up to 1.four million people by January (2015), according to estimates by the Centers for Illness Manage (unquote - Laura Lorenzett in fortune.com on 02 October, 2014). The enterprise logic in ignoring Ebola was, diseases that have an effect on poor men and women in poor nations aren’t a research priority, for it is unlikely the poor will provide a marketplace with a decent return. But, Ebola was deemed an epidemic when the US was shocked to locate a victim in Dallas who may infect about 80 people. That’s also when the Corporate pharma giants raced to create a remedy.
Sri Lankan Corporate must not behave in such “Ebolitic” manner. It’s to their benefit as well, in carrying out company in a civilised society. But why isn’t Corporate leaders reacting? Why are not they visible and audible in demanding respect for life and stability in society? Is it, they can still earn income, what ever takes place to the minions without a purse to purchase what they dump in shelves and industry for the developing urban rich? Corporate bosses would have to prove they are a responsible segment in Sri Lanka beyond stockpiling earnings and unaccounted luxury. Prove they are a decent lot and want a civilised society, not just earnings.