JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has called on the people to join hands and help “re-brand” Sri Lanka’s global image.
Addressing the general convention of the National Intellectuals Organisation at the Sugathadasa Statdium today (Feb 19) he said that Sri Lanka has become a country identified as being caught in a debt trap.
“Countries such as Kenya, Pakistan, Nambia are talking of Sri Lanka as a country which has been caught in a debt trap” he claimed.
On the same lines, he added that Sri Lanka has also become a hub for large-scale narcotics distribution and a country in which cheap labour can be obtained. He also said that some countries view Sri Lanka as a country which is heading towards a crisis with political instability.
Addressing the convention, Mr. Dissanayake stressed that the country’s brand image cannot be built according to one’s own whims and fancies. He opined that one must gain a sound understanding of the country’s people, resources and the country’s history in order to uplift Sri Lanka’s brand image.
The JVP parliamentarian then urged that Sri Lanka must become a country with an exemplary society with the highest levels of educational, moral and ethical values.
He also said that Sri Lanka must be accepted as a country which is favourable for any citizen across the globe.
“Nowadays the Australian government is issuing advisories forewarning that illegal migrants who travel by boat to Australia will be arrested,” he remarked adding that the country’s pathetic situation has forced people to flee the same.
The third aspect in which Sri Lanka should create a brand image is in terms of production, he said.
“In 2017, the government had spent USD 21 billion for imports but had managed to earn only USD 11 billion through exporting our goods” he emphasised.
MP Dissanayake then said that the total debt of the country stands at over Rs 10,500 billion with this year’s loan repayment costing the government USD 5200 million.
“A total of USD 2771 million was spent for infrastructure development over the last few years,” he added while referring to major projects such as the Mattala Airport, Katunayake Airport Highway etc.
Mr. Dissanayake reiterated that the people must form a new society on the principles of justice, social equality, and economic freedom.
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