Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Grand Promises Vs Reality

Sorry Mr Fonseka, you won't have Rs 810 billion for your Grand Promises!

By Dr. Ranjith Bandara, Senior Lecturer in Economics, University of Colombo

Mr Sarath Fonseka and one of his media spokespersons have claimed that the "corruption" of the Government is unprecedented, and is costing the country in economic terms as much as, or even more, than terrorism. By eliminating such "corruption", they have pledged to find the money to fulfill all of Mr Fonseka's grand and expansive promises. They have also indicated that "corruption" has denied the people a total sum of Rs. 810 billion, and have also attempted to lay the blame for such "corruption" on President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The main basis for these allegations appears to be an ad-hoc 2007 study report on the "Impact of Corruption on Poverty and Economic Growth", commissioned by the United States Agency for International Development and prepared by an organization described as ARD, Inc. for the USAID-Association for Rural Development (ARD) Anti-corruption program consultative committee at which the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA) too, had been represented. Accordingly, it is of vital importance to study such report carefully and assess Mr Fonseka's claims, particularly because his economic team has suggested that the funds for all the massive salary increases, lavish disbursements to various pressure groups, and the many extra generous welfare schemes are to be found by eliminating this Rs 810 billion "corruption", and then directing such funds to fulfil Mr Fonseka's promises.

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