The presidential polls will take place in October this year and incumbent Ranil Wickremesinghe will contest as a non-party candidate, UNP leader in Colombo Ravi Karunanayake said.

Also a former finance minister, Karunanayake told the media in Colombo today (25) that all would be committed for Wickremesinghe’s victory.


CBSL salary hike unreasonable


Karunanayake found the Central Bank (CBSL) to be wholly unreasonable when it treated itself to exorbitant and uncalled for pay hikes at a time when the state has ordered expenditure and financial control.

Karunanayake recalled his allegation that the CBSL is behind the country’s economic woes, with financial institutions in ruin due to its not having done its work correctly.

It is the CBSL, even without consulting parliament, that had declared the country to be bankrupt.

Furthermore, the PAYE tax revenue is less than 35 per cent, which means the imposition of taxes have gained nothing for the state.

The country had to go to the IMF on 16 different occasions due to an absence of financial discipline.

The bureaucracy should make a more planned intervention, which is not seen at present, if the country is to be taken forward by taking decisions in consideration of the public too, he said.

Karunanayake said the country has regained some sort of stability from its situation 22 months ago, with much more remaining to be done.

President Wickremesinghe has been able to fulfill the responsibility he accepted and to bring the country under a certain level of management, said Karunanayake.

He urged the people to understand the risky situation if the ongoing programme is sabotaged, with no short-cuts to normalcy.

A long-term programme is required if the economy is to be uplifted, he said, adding that a growth in production, an increase in dollar reserves and an export income of 20 billion US dollars are imperative.

Karunanayake asked finance ministry and other state officials to work towards achieving those goals.

Turning to the political front, he said those who strengthened the hands of Gotabaya Rajapaksa then are today trying to reinforce the opposition leader.

Also, those who found Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka to be indispensable, now unleash an all-out attack against him.

In this situation, a programme suited for the country and a like-minded group to implement it are needed and that is happening now, Karunanayake added.


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