Some difficult decisions must be made to build the economy, though those decisions could be unpopular, said president Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“We have the ability to make popular decisions. But the country will not develop if only popular decisions are taken,” he said.
The president was speaking at the launch of Hyundai Grand i10 car, assembled for the first time in Sri Lanka at the Colombo City Centre yesterday (10).
The president further said;
"Assembling the Hyundai Grand i10 in Sri Lanka is a tribute to the firm determination of Mrs. Pestanjee. I know how she initiated this journey when the economy was opened up in 1977. I still remember that there was an Abans Showroom on the fifth lane heading towards Galle Road. Thank you very much for having come this far from that point.
I hope that this step will be a good start for the arrival of other investors to Sri Lanka based on the cooperation between South Korea and Sri Lanka as well as the higher investment made by Korea here.
Today, the Hyundai Grand i10 vehicle is introduced to the Sri Lankan market further confirming the trust placed in our country.
I must extend my special thanks to Abans Company and Hyundai Company as well Mrs. Pestanjee for introducing a vehicle to the market, at a crucial time when our economy dropped.
The introduction of this vehicle takes place at a time when Sri Lanka’s economy collapsed. But the initiation was taken with the belief that the economy of the country would recover and I would again extend my heartiest thanks to you all for it.
We stepped into 2023 in the background of the complete collapse of our country’s economy last year. But now the country’s economy is recovering. Accordingly, it has been possible to provide solutions to the shortage of fuel, LP gas, and essential goods. In the same way, we have solved many other problems as well.
We anticipate a good harvest during the Maha Season. Furthermore, we have taken steps to purchase Rs.20 million worth of paddy and distribute it to low-income families.
We have taken numerous steps to strengthen the country’s economy. It has been possible to reach an agreement with the IMF organization. Negotiations with the Paris Club, India, and China are currently underway. We are attempting to reconcile their differences.
As a consequence, there is no doubt that a group of consumers in the country will be able to purchase cars again in the months ahead and there will be more economic progress than today.
A businessman will not invest money if there is no sale and you think the economy has collapsed, and there is a market. But, in this case, such investments are being made as our economy is growing.
Various decisions must be made as we work to build the economy. Among them, some difficult decisions must be made through those decisions could be unpopular.
I am aware of the hardships that people are experiencing as a result of the economic collapse. Also, I am aware of the difficulty caused by the tax increase. After paying taxes and debts, some people have very little money left over. This adversity will only last a short time. We must advance the country. However, if we had not made these decisions, the country would not be in this state today.
Furthermore, I believe that all of our political leaders will commit to considering the country and making decisions in the future. We have the ability to make popular decisions. But the country will not develop if only popular decisions are taken.
Singapore's first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. Wong Maye-E/AP
Singapore is a good example. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew never made popular decisions. He made decisions on behalf of the country. People accepted his decisions and cooperated with him. The rulers of South Korea also made difficult decisions for the country. In Europe, the situation is similar.
Specifically, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom stated that if the United Kingdom left the European Union, he would be able to gain new markets and improve healthcare services with the money saved. They walked away from the EU. There was no funding for health care. The available market decreased even more.
Then Prime Minister, Liz Truss, worked to lower taxes. The value of the Sterling Pound collapsed. Perhaps the rupee crashed, but the pound crashed more quickly. She resigned as Prime Minister, and a new Prime Minister has been appointed in her place. The country’s current Prime Minister is making wise decisions.
We must make these decisions for the sake of our country’s future and for the sake of creating a good country for the youth. I believe that the country’s economy will be rebuilt before long.
Minister of Plantation Industries Ramesh Pathirana, Korean Ambassador to Sri Lanka Santhush Woonjin Jeong, Chairman of the Board of Investment Dinesh Weerakkody, Directors of Abans Group of Companies Saroshi Dubash and Rusi Pestonjee attended the event.