Lest you forget your commitments and accountability, Mr. President

By Chandra Jayaratne

You committed in the oath of office to comply with your duties and responsibilities as President in an honest manner and as per the Constitution and the Law of the Country.

The Constitution you agreed to safeguard and follow states that ‘in the Republic of Sri Lanka sovereignty is in the People and is inalienable; and that the executive power of the People shall be exercised by the President of the Republic elected by the People’.  Thereby it becomes your inalienable duty to safeguard and protect the interests of all the people of Sri Lanka.

You created a Social Contract with the people in terms of your manifesto, to deliver a ‘Reconstructed Country with a Future’ by following inter alia, a ‘People Centric Economy’ and assuring a ‘Productive Citizen and a Happy Family’.

In your first address to the nation, you stated that Buddhist Philosophy is embedded in you and your thinking; and that you will protect and nourish it. Trust You accept that ‘Dharma’ in the doctrine of Buddhism, is the universal truth common to all individuals at all times and is based on the core concept of ‘cause and effect’ and thus You will commit to ‘uphold in governance the principles of wisdom, kindness, patience, generosity and compassion’ as important virtues and be guided in governance by the following:

  • Mahaparinibbana-sutta – ‘Let the Dharma and the discipline that I have taught you be your teacher’. 
  • Maha Mangala Sutta – ‘to associate with and be guided by the wise, well versed professionals’
  • ChullaHatti Padopama Sutta (the first discourse of  Arahat Mahinda) – ‘Seek the cause of the problem and resolve it and not be guided by the symptom or perceptions of it’
  • The message of Arahath Mahinda to King Devanampiyatissa-The land belongs to the people and all living beings; thou art only the guardian of it”

You are also committed to the values embedded in you at Ananda; and follow the school motto ‘without delay’ and will ensure governing actions being appropriate and timely.

As an officer cadet first and later as a high ranking Commanding Officer of the Sri Lanka Army, Gajaba Regiment, you live by the core values of:

  • Commitment to the Fatherland/Motherland
  • Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage
  • Unity is Strength

 As a Professional you are committed to the Core values of:

  • Know and do what is right’
  • ‘Treating others the way you want to be treated’.
  • ‘Embrace opportunities to contribute’.
  • ‘Bring your best to all competition’.
  • Servant Leadership. ‘Serve the common good’

We the citizens of Sri Lanka remain hopeful that you will live by the above commitments and will definitely not permit the implementation of the proposal of the Governor of the Central Bank and the Secretary to the Treasury to implement the ill advised, misguided and reckless decision to make payment to the International Sovereign Bond holders of US$ 500 million on January 18, 2022, ignoring the priority, essential and urgent needs of citizens, farmers, fishermen, SME’s, industries and business, for whose benefit these available scarce resources are required for the importation of food, medicine, fertilizer, petroleum, gas, raw materials, machinery, competitiveness assuring  technology  and essential services  for value adding business  entities.

We remain confident that you will duly recognize the possible adverse consequential outcomes of implementing the present proposal, including:

  • Risks of socio political destabilization
  • Possible angry public response actions once they realize that the state has released only minimal scarce amount of foreign exchange resources for them
    • for clearance of essential imports stuck in the port; and market shortages of flour, rice, milk powder, sugar and medicines continue
    • for importation of fuel and gas, especially if consequential power cuts are imposed and gas shortages continue

and have reserved the majority of the available resources for unknown foreign speculator investors

  • the foolhardiness of settling long term debt obligations with short term cash flows, especially leveraging short term more expensive SWAPS and then being forced to soon borrow more in the short term to replace the current SWAP obligations
  • The ISB maturity amount now to be settled is only around 10% of the total debt settlements due this year; any commitments now made settling in full maturity dues without resorting to a debt restructure will make future negotiations more challenging
  • It is unlikely that early replacement cash flows will materialize from tourism related sector operations; and in any event such net flows will certainly not match the US$ 4 billion estimated
  • It is most unlikely that without a market determined real exchange rates being the basis, that short term incentive premiums based ‘carrot and stick’ approach based exchange rate management will bring forth the optimum export incomes, worker remittances and FDI
  • Recognize that the proposed action can result in a further downgrade of sovereign ratings if the rating agencies deem that a default by mid 2022 is unavoidable;
  • Using sale proceeds of valuable national assets and long term concessions in a rush, without competitive transparent bidding and best practice valuation methodologies being adopted, will scar the economy in the longer term
  • Recognize the peril at which the stability and acceptance by international banking correspondents of the local banking and financial services are likely placed by forceful conversion of forex inflows and rolling over of ISB’s and SLDB’s
  • Recognize the possible reactions of citizens, workers and foreign currency holders, if their hard earned savings are frozen or devalued by inflation
  • Recognize the implications of differing the date of a forced default led debt restructure under duress; and the interim rise in cost of living due to high inflation consequent to money printing where more money chases smaller amount of available goods and services

Over to You Mr. President to lead by your Commitments.







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