ee archive: eesrilanka.wordpress.com
“Before you study the economics, study the economists!”
May Day’s Viral General Strike
e-Con e-News 26 April – 02 May 2020
“Heaven and earth are in great turmoil, what an excellent opportunity!”
It was a May Day like no other.
In June 1954, journalist Rhoda de Silva wrote in Les Temps Moderne, the journal started by Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, about the extent of US “penetration” in Sri Lanka effected under “diverse forms of camouflage”.
De Silva wrote of Hollywood movies* being filmed at strategic locations in Lanka; of the first Central Bank governor (John Exter) being a US citizen; and of other US nationals embedded in commercial, insurance and other companies here.
“The US government was putting ‘flagrant pressure’ on the SL government to break the Rice-Rubber agreement with China.” She also pointed to “certain of the US methods of intervention that are less apparent”:
“We wanted to discover to the slightest detail by precisely which methods the US controls the largest publishing house [the Wijewardena-family-controlled Lakehouse] in Ceylon. We wanted to discover how they go about getting the US propagandists there to stir up so well the antagonism between the 2 different language groups… It would interest the Ceylonese people to learn for precisely what reasons the US ambassador and all his personnel frequent the Maldive Islands…” (from International McCarthyism: The Case of Rhoda Miller de Silva, by Judy Pasqualge)
• 66 years later, not much has changed: “It’s not only online tabloids such as Asian Tribune & Colombo Telegraph that have been co-opted by the powers that be to play a cankerous role against Sri Lanka”, writes popular columnist Rohana Wasala, on April 28th: “Even the mainstream English broadsheets with wide circulations seem to be subject to the same pressure (the journalists employed by them are helpless; they have no option but to toe the line set by their employers who probably feel obliged to serve vested interests just to sustain their businesses that in turn protect the livelihoods of their employees)… Somebody seems anxious to drive a wedge between Sri Lanka and China, 2 nations that have enjoyed thousands of years of close cultural and trade relations.” (see ee Media, Victims)
• The US Embassy still runs if not influences entire media outlets in Sri Lanka, including so-called ‘alternative’ online media outlets, buying off editors and journalists. Ricocheting their soundbytes in an echo chamber are a chorus-line of high-kicking cold-war liberals and Leftists who claim to be Marxists, even claiming hallowed antecedents in the LSSP or JVP, etc., – a genus now known as NATO socialists, with the local subgenus, Red Elephants…
• US interests also dominate social media. Countless memes, from those which demonize China for “making” the Covid-19 pandemic, to those accusing the Rajapaksa-led government of being subservient to Chinese “imperialism”, have circulated, reaching a peak after mid-April (in sync with US directives to their own media).
Short messages have contrasted the Sri Lanka government’s handling of the crisis unfavourably to those of Australia (even though SL’s death rate from Covid19 is a tenth of Australia’s, despite Lanka having far fewer resources). And baila or rap songs, intended as “humour”, have invariably included references to “Made-in-China”, Sri Lanka’s dependence on China, the Sri Lanka government’s incompetence, or combinations of the three. And yet they flagrantly display their ignorance of what colonialism and imperialism – with its bloody kin genocide, chattel, indentured and waged slavery – have wrought on this world (continued in Random Notes).
• Time was when the corporate media would announce 25 suicide bombers roaming the streets in the week before May Day, to spread fear and prevent workers from expressing their annual demands. Yet Covid – or the financial meltdown for which it’s a convenient pretext – has now made it clearer than ever that a country that values its workers most, is a country most valued! Despite the eerie silence this May Day, the ghosts of May Days past ring louder in our ears!
• To counter hoarding & profiteering & agent-provocateurs,the state must institute rationing and take over distribution immediately. While there are officials who seek private profit, given the long reign of privatized & deregulated decadence, there’s nothing a dedicated military force cannot deal with.
Such forces too can be co-opted by the powerful multinational corporations (such as Unilever, Caltex, Ceylon Tobacco, Standard Chartered, etc.) and their agents who still control our economy. Yet ee believes, if the state relies primarily on workers and peasants to monitor such operations, no force on earth can stop the time.
A1. Reader Comments – Only Industrial & Agricultural Education Should’ve been Free • ee should Prioritize Seduction • UNHRC & Other US-Guided Missiles
A2. Quotes of the Week – Per-Capita Mis-Indices • Ancient Land Use • US & Terrorism in S Asia
A3. Random Notes – US & Wijeyawardene Media • Asian Times, Colombo Telegraph • Red Elephants • Rationing now! • Suicide Bombers & Mayday • Where all the Bank Profits? • Rate the Raters! • US Advocata Cowboys & Indians • Medical Import Mafia & Health • Black & White MCC Media • The Washington Connection & 3rd World Fascism • Manufacturing Consent • BBC Avoiding Taxes • Economist Wijewardena, BB Das Gupta & Anglomania • Edwin Chadwick & Free Trade
B. ee Focus
B1. Say Hell-O to the Import Mafia! – CB Annual Report & the development of underdevelopment aka Imperialism
B2. The Bittersweet Saga of Philip Gunawardena & William Silva
– How Foreign Banks Crippled an Independent Economy – Kamalika Pieris
C. News Index
A2. Reader Comments
• ee thanks Readers who send articles of interest. Please excerpt or summarize what is important about any article sent, or your comments, and place the e-link at the end.
• “Only industrial & agricultural education should have been free: Our ladies & gentlemen, and related status seekers, they wish fame in English, music, art, literature, humanities, law, medicine, political science, religion – in other words, non-productive consumption.
For them, factory & industry are dirty words. They do not wish to get their hands dirty in productive education, where real literacy & numeracy would prioritize industrialization (worker organization, engineering, tech, math, economics, behavioralism).”
• “Received & enjoyed. ee doesn’t seem interested in pushing people to respond to a particular ‘burning’ issue, but rather showing us our general lack of insight? The latter aim is the more ambitious, I guess, and maybe more important.
Yet, what about the narrower objective until this insight arrives? One priority should be: Among the fools that know only to bleat, for masters they want to please, in absentia, are a few who are less rigidly trained. How do we ’empower’ them to question their less bright peers?”
• “UNHRC Commissioner Bachelet’s outburst about Sri Lankan police misusing the Covid epidemic, recalls that last week’s ee analysis of the US power structure forgot how the US ruling class manipulates supranational bodies like the UN, European Economic Community, the World Bank & IMF, G7, etc.
This ‘New World Order’ combines increased supranational coordination among the dominant blocs of international capital, and renewed militarization towards regions they feel they can exploit. See how the UN is being used to pressure Sri Lanka on human rights, while blatantly refusing to hold the US and Europe to the same standards. Bachelet may be Chilean, but she is white Chilean; the Mapuche and the Araucano of Chile have a different worldview.”
A3. Quotes of the Week_
• ‘Per-capita income is yet another useless indicator, much like GDP – for as DD Kosambi once said,
“It is the rare Indian who eats the grain assigned to him by the statistical averages.”’
• “The basic principles of land use in ancient Ceylon were sound and in accordance with modern principles of land utilization” (see ee Focus, Saga)
• “Sri Lanka, in its recent post-independence history, had a golden era of national planning. The National Planning Secretariat was established in 1952 and the 6-year plan of the government was developed by distinguished economists… Subsequently, the National Planning Council (NPC) was established in Oct 1956 and tasked with developing a plan to improve the living standards of people by making maximum use of the country’s available resources. As a result, a 10-year integrated national development program (1959-68) was prepared by the NPC. In the 1950-60s, a national development plan was a symbol of national sovereignty for newly independent states such as SL. It was as important as the national flag or a constitution. Long-term national plans were inspired by the success of Soviet industrialization and economic growth after 5-year plans started in 1928.” (see ee Economists)
• “I have seen a report that ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is in a military camp run by the most powerful nation in the world. I won’t mention the name of this country.” (see ee Security, Archbishop)
A1. Random Notes (‘Seeing Number in Chaos’)_
• A member of the Presidential Taskforce echoed ee’s headline last week: Where have all the profits gone? He shows that financial companies, being the most ‘profitable’, should be bailing out the people! (see ee Economists, Extra Mile) Yes, instead they are whining for government bailout!
• Those who claim the private sector too now wishes a national economy must explain the immediate steps they will take towards capital accumulation, despite the studious absence of a class dedicated to accumulation, where it is clear that it is only the state that can enforce investment in modern industry.
• Why are losers like the IMF, US corporates Fitch & Morgan Stanley, US NGOs Advocata & Verite, still rating our economy, and insisting private companies receive a cut in any recovery or local production? Those who try to destroy public health and education! If we rate these raters, such ratings would clearly show their indices are as false as their prognoses were and still are. It is they, who by privatization & deregulation have brought us to this sorry pass.
Meanwhile a ‘regional’ merchant is now fronting for US NGO Advocata (whatever happened to their boy Friday COO?). On Friday, they held a discussion with Yvette Fernando (Ass’t Governor, Central Bank of SL), Manil Jayesinghe (President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of SL), Roshan Abeygoonewardena (Chairman, Finance Houses Association of SL), Jonathan Alles (CEO, Hatton National Bank); moderated by Murtaza Jafferjee (Chair, Advocata Institute) on Covid and Sri Lanka’s Banking & Financial Sector. And they refuse to answer the question: “Where have all the profits gone?”
• One of the major problems the government is facing are the links government administrators have with the private sector.
For example, the medical equipment import mafia is led by a former Director of Biomedical Engineering in the Ministry of Health, who parades as a green environmentalist. They do not allow local production let alone even free donations into the hospitals.
Meanwhile, the GMOA notes that avatars of the former Health Minister are still controlling the Ministry of Health, happily undermining the government’s efforts to control Covid, perhaps to keep postponing elections.
Grama Niladhari appointed over the years by the UNP are busy helping themselves & their relatives & supporters to the money meant for the needy. Grama Niladharis appointed during the UNP – Yahapalana regime are responsible for a number of such injustices as handing over Covid relief money to their rich supporters as well. In some areas it’s being openly done.
• White Media (cont’d from above) – There is a preponderance of a genetically modified species of media outlets parroting the same lies over and over again (much like last week’s widespread blather that South Korean President Kim Jong Un was dead).
A chorus of wailing banshees, they were most evident during the October 2018 foofaraw, when media outlets criticizing the ruling Yahapalana regime were labeled “Black Media” in appropriate white imperialist fashion (see Random Notes).
Why is ee so concerned about such white media? Because as gate mudaliyars they monopolize with their incessant fog, and divert from enabling a vital national conversation about the steps needed towards an independent modern national economy.
Recall the sheer barrage of columnists and economists coming out to bat for the US land privatization program MCC. Then there was the blitz of disinformation to disqualify the candidacy of the current Presiden: That culminated in the Swiss Affair, when the NYTimes stringer and former Lakehouse editor was exposed and fled the country.
The role of the US government &embassies in controlling both media outlets & journalists has been investigated in such books as The Washington Connection & 3rd World Fascism: The Political Economy of Human Rights, which exposed the role of the NYT & Washington Post (its putative owner was married to a CIA agent) in their war on Southeast Asia, and Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, 2 books by Edward S Herman & Noam Chomsky.
Though nothing exposed such outlets, including the BBC, more blatantly, as when they all joined in the chorus claiming Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, to promote the invasion of Iraq , as well as justify the NATO wars on Syria & Libya, with the killings of millions of people.
Meanwhile, the BBC, that suddhata-sudha, is also avoiding taxes, while an ex-diplomat who’s exposed English hypocrisy, as in the Assange show trial, and their horrors in other countries, has been indicted. (see ee Media)
• ee is primarily concerned with the nonsense economists prescribe: WA Wijewardena is the Wijeya Group’s favorite economist. A ‘house economist’ – ie if the master’s lies are turning to ashes, he rushes to pour cool water on it. He writes long tomes on the need for democracy, even as the Wijeya Group (LLHP) is a media monopoly and epitomizes feudal autocracy, despite glossy claims to modernity.
Wijewardena states in the Financial Times (see last ee): “When the British left Ceylon in 1948, they had left a huge foreign exchange reserve sufficient for meeting 17 months of future import requirements of the country.” Now this a major grand myth spread about by the anglomaniacs who still rule the country.
Yet, here’s what Indian Prof Bhanoo Bhushon Das Gupta, first Economics lecturer at Colombo’s University College, from 1927, had to say of independence (in A Short Economic Survey of Ceylon):
“For Ceylon, the new forces were in general very unfavourable. Foreign income, which directly or indirectly constituted the bulk of the national income, began to fall rapidly. On the other hand foreign expenditure! which formed the bulk of the country’s essential expenditure, began to rise. The whole economy therefore marched downwards. This is reflected clearly in the country’s balance of payments which fell consistently. From a handsome surplus in 1945 it turned into a heavy deficit in 1947. For a country which practically lives by foreign trade, no economic indices could be more significant. It represented falling national income and a march towards greater poverty and insecurity.”
So who are we to believe? The FT always notes: Wijewardena is a former Deputy Director of the Central Bank. As for ee, the CB has always, from its very beginnings, been against the independence of the country. Let’s see if the new President and the new CB Governor can change that culture!
• Those interested in public health policy should learn about Edwin Chadwick, who led the battle in the 19thC over public responsibility for health, for proper water & sewage facilities, demanding the state also take responsibility for the impoverished, as well as workers in the factories, and the police. Especially at a time when crowded workers’ quarters, shanties, etc, become force multipliers for Covid. The Times and others chased Chadwick out of office, saying, “We prefer to take our chance of cholera & the rest, than to be bullied into health!”
England was forced to implement public health measures such as clean water and sewage systems, because of a class war among the rulers. The reactionary landed oligarchy in England wanted to take their revenge against the industrial bourgeoisie, who crying ‘free trade’, had repealed the corn laws, which had prevented cheaper food imports (cos they wished to pay factory workers less wages!).
So the landed oligarchy pushed through various laws on ‘humanitarian’ grounds (poor laws, factory acts, mining acts, urban public health). Tho superficially implemented, these laws prepared the ground for the later Labor Party. Mind you, such laws helped the big industrial bourgeoisie get rid of smaller competitors.
As for this ‘free trade’ business, the English state took its fingers off commerce during the first half of the 19thC, and simultaneously put them on industry. Industry who had used the free-trade slogan against the landed oligarchy until 1850, promptly directed it against its former allies, labor, who were becoming convinced that voting was a natural right. Universal suffrage, they said, interfered with their freedom to exploit!
• The US ruling class has decided that their 2 political parties, both being wings of the same poultry, must demonize China. The Republicans have been told not to defend Trump but to attack China. The Dixiecrats (aka white Democrats) have been told to attack China & Russia and Trump.
• War films based in Burma: The Purple Plain (1954) with Gregory Peck, and The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), with William Holden, were filmed in several locations in Sri Lanka. The title of the French journal, Les Temps Moderne was taken from Charlie Chaplin’s film, Modern Times.
B. Special Focus__
B1. Say Hell-O to the Import Mafia!
– The Development of Underdevelopment aka Imperialism
The Central Bank this week released its 2019 Annual Report. ee recommends people learn how to analyze it carefully. This week, we present the CB’s 2018 report statistics on imports (see below). These stats show who the real rulers of the country. They will undermine any elected government.
Take exports of Textile & Garments: We supposedly gained US$5.3billion!
Yet this sector depends partly on imports of Fuel – $4.2bn, Textiles & Textile Articles – $2.9bn, Chemical Products – $1bn, Machinery & Equipment – $2.5bn, Transport Equipment – $668mn!
Many politicians are funded by these import multinationals, who have very large ‘expense accounts’ for such ‘donations’. To ensure their business monopolies, these merchants also run ‘warlords’ & gangs, while corrupting the regular arms of ‘law & order’, who then provide ‘protection’ to MNCs and their functionaries, including politicians. They also control the mass media through advertising (look at the products advertised on TV promising to make people fair&lovely).
Full-blown military-industrial settler states, like the USA, reserve the right to turn countries that are non-settler colonial states into markets for their industrial products and extract non-industrial products (raw foods & minerals, etc) in return:
Consumer Goods $5bn
Food & Beverages $1.6bn
Sugar & Confectionery $250mn
Dairy Products $332mn
Non-Food Consumer Goods $3.4bn
Medical & Pharmaceuticals $532million
Home Appliances $232mn
Clothing & Accessories $310mn
Intermediate Goods $12.5billion
Textiles & Textile Articles $2.9bn
Diamonds, Precious Stones & Metals $573mn
Chemical Products $904mn
Wheat & Maize $374mn
Other Intermediate Goods $3.4bn
Investment Goods $4.7bn
Building Materials $1.5bn
Transport Equipment $668mn
Machinery & Equipment $2.5bn
Other Investment Goods $6.1bn
Unclassified Imports $75mn
Total Imports $21billion
From: External Sector Developments & Policies
These figures reveal how dependent Sri Lanka is on imports, for which local production may easily substitute. Vehicles and Transport Equipment together account for US$ 2.3 billion. These figures do not include vehicles smuggled in pieces and put together locally.
Yet in the 1970s, Sri Lanka established the fact that it could manufacture (not merely “assemble”) cars, buses and tractors. Artisanal production of Mini Moke light utility vehicles was a thriving business – these locally-made are not registered as new cars, but use lapsed registrations.
In the past 5 years, the country has imported an average of 6,000 cars per month. Better public transport could halve this figure, leaving the remainder (about 20,000 cars per year) to be manufactured. Improving public transport could also reduce fuel imports quite considerably, and reduce pollution into the bargain.
The two largest food & beverage products imported, Dairy and Sugar, are both in the hands of cartels, which ensure that local production will not increase. They also ensure that imports will not be from cheaper primary sources. Sugar, for example, could be imported at nearly half the current price from Cuba, Central America or Brazil. And we continue to import butter, although we are self-sufficient.
B2. The Saga of Philip Gunawardena & William Silva
– How Foreign Banks Crippled an Independent Economy – Kamalika Pieris
This essay contains the work done by Philip Gunawardana and P.H. William Silva during the MEP government of 1956.
In the MEP government of 1956, Philip Gunawardena was given the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. The portfolio included the plantation sector as well as animal husbandry. Philip had got down to work immediately, after taking up the portfolio, perusing files, talking to officials, visiting state farms, research and experimental stations, talking to farmers, and visiting Pettah to inquire into prices of rice and other foodstuffs.
Philip maintained that it was more profitable to invest money in the plantation crops and the existing paddy lands than invest in massive irrigation and land settlement schemes, which needed enormous capital. ‘Vast sums of money are spent as capital expenditure on schemes which will only begin to pay in 10 or 15 years. We need a quicker return. That can be obtained by providing irrigation and drainage in areas where the schemes are already in operation,’ Philip said.
Philip took a deep interest in paddy production and studied it from all angles. He complained repeatedly about the paucity of statistics on paddy cultivation. There was no information on the size of holdings, yield, ownership, and so on. Thanks to Philip, in 1962, the Department of Census and Statistics started an agricultural census.
Philip contested the existing notion that it was cheaper to import rice than produce it. He said that it was not necessary to open up more and more land for paddy cultivation. It was better to increase production in the existing paddy fields in Purana villages and colonization schemes. He strongly urged investment in already asweddumised land through higher use of fertilizer, high yielding seed, use of mechanization for ploughing and sowing, would give greater returns.
Philip said that mechanization would take the drudgery out of agriculture and make it more attractive. It may also stop the exodus from the village. We must think of tractors not buffaloes, he said. The Department of Agriculture will take over all available tractors in the public sector and operate a tractor service.
Philip wanted to create an Agricultural Implements Factory which will also produce mammoties, pick axes etc. Paddy milling industry had to be reorganized said Philip. Most mills are ramshackle and there is wastage in the milling process.
There was the problem of low paddy yields. The basic principles of land use in ancient Ceylon were sound and in accordance with modern principles of land utilization, said Philip, quoting Ernest Abeyratne. Therefore all what was needed now was the introduction of modern techniques adapted to the Dry Zone environment.
The soil conditions and fertilizer needed in the Dry Zone, was known from ancient times, said Philip. But knowledge of soil conditions and fertilizer needs for paddy production in the Wet Zone was lacking. Philip found that experimental plots and private individual farms in the Wet Zone had shown good yields where soil had been analyzed and correct fertilizer used. ‘They have obtained as high as 60 to 110 bushels per acres.’ In Kegalle, the Food Production Department had managed to increase yields by providing fertilizer, credit, high yielding seeds and adopting transplanting instead of the traditional method of sowing.
Philip was deeply concerned with the plight of the farmer. The rural sector needed a body which would give them medium and long term credit. There were no credit facilities in the country for the small traders also. The two available banks, Agricultural and Industrial Credit Corporation and the Cooperative Federal Bank were of no use. Bank of Ceylon was not operating in rural Sri Lanka, either. The main source for credit were the private loan agencies.
Philip wanted to set up a Cooperative Credit Bank, which would provide credit to the ‘small man’ in industry, trade or agriculture, as the existing commercial banks did not support him. The Cooperative Credit Bank would grant loans to the rural sector, for financing small agricultural industries and businesses, and also give loans for building. It would also act as a pawn broker. The Bank would have branches in the principal towns and rural centers. The plan was to open 100 branches in the first year.
The Bill had received the support of the Central Bank. Amendment suggested by Central Bank were incorporated. Governor of the Central Bank Arthur Ranasinghe had in a personal letter to Philip, praised the idea and offered the services of his staff to help the take over the Cooperative Federal Bank into the new Bank.
The Cooperative Credit Bank Bill was put to the Cabinet in 1958. It was opposed by Minister of Development, CP de Silva and Minister of Finance, Stanley de Soyza. CP de Silva said they would give Rs. 10 million to the Cooperative Federal Bank, instead. Stanley de Soyza attacked the Bill when the draft was published in Daily News. He protested that this Bank was to be set up under its own Act, and would have the powers of a normal commercial bank, not a cooperative bank.
Philip explained that the Cooperative Credit Bank which was a pioneer venture had to be liquid if it was to provide credit into the rural sector. It had to first make that money. ‘We have combined the function of a commercial bank with the functions of a development bank. The commercial side was to earn the money and lending was to be done by the development side, he said.
Philip thought that foreign banking interests were behind the opposition. The Finance Minister is expected to see that banking facilities were provided to the rural sector. Instead he took the side of the foreign vested interests and opposed the setting up of this bank. SWRD took over the Bill from Philip, promising that he would see it through. That did not happen. His opponents forced Philip to resign from the Cabinet and the Bill was forgotten.
Philip was also preparing in 1958, a Crop Insurance Bill. It was necessary to protect the farmer from crop failure, through crop insurance. This would be tried out first in two pilot projects, one where risk is high and one where risk is low. The pilot projects will not be experimental ones, they will be fact finding. At present we do not compensate when there is loss of crops. We wait till they are destitute and then give relief.
Philip brought a revised Paddy Lands Bill before Parliament. The first Paddy Lands Bill was passed in 1953 under the UNP. It was a limited attempt at tenancy reform and was focused on Hambantota and Batticaloa alone. Under this Bill, tenant and owner should sign an agreement, valid for 5 years. Philip found that in Hambantota, only two such agreements had been signed. Landlords avoided written leases. Without clear tenancy agreements, the benefit was for the money lender, said Philip.
Philip prepared a comprehensive Bill dealing with the whole question of tenancy, security of tenure, rights of landlords and tenants. It was to ensure long term security for the tenant and limited very strictly the rights of the land lord. The new act gave the ande goviya tenure without a time limit. The number of tenant farmers affected were around 300,000. Philip said the Bill would also free the tenant from his traditional servitude to the landlord. The tenant’s children had to work in the landlord’s house as servants, often without pay.
Philip introduced his Paddy Lands Bill in 1957. Meegama said that this Bill was perhaps the most important Bill presented in Parliament since 1947. This Bill will benefit the Kandyan peasantry more than any other worker. The Kandyan peasant is the most downtrodden, said Philip. Nanda Wanasundera recalls, there was one tenant on the paddy land in Peradeniya, owned by her mother, who insisted she must get three fourths with Mother getting only one fourth.
Paddy Lands Bill was passed on Dec 19, 1957, 61 for and 7 against. The Paddy Lands Bill gave security to the tenant farmer. There were a lot of objections to the Bill, including tremendous opposition from the SLFP in the MEP, especially CP de Silva. The paddy owners objected strongly. Nothing should be done to disturb these ancient hallowed practices, they said.
Crippling amendments were made to the Bill. Philip said he had wanted to implement the Paddy Lands Act in the entire island within three years, but under pressure from landed interests and capitalist interests, he had to make it five years. The number of landlords in the Cultivation Committee was increased to 25%. They could refuse to attend. They did and the committee could not function.
The enforcement of the Act depended on its proper administration. But Philip could administer the Paddy Lands Bill for only one year. The Act needed certain changes. 50 amendments had been prepared. Philip pointed out that the necessary amendments to the Act were ready when he was asked to resign. But they were not introduced and many tenants were evicted from their lands. They blamed it on Philip.
Meegama said the Paddy Lands Act , even without amendments could have been successfully implemented under a supportive minister and dedicated officers in the Agrarian Service Department .
One of Philip’s great success stories was potato farming in Nuwara Eliya. This had been tried before and failed. The MEP government wrote off the debt on this failed attempt and tried again with better seed potatoes. The trial was a complete success, and a potato research station was established in Rahangala.
In 1957 Philip reported that sugar cane production was begun on a large scale in Kantalai. This was the first time that lift irrigation on a large scale was being used in Sri Lanka. In 1958 Philip reported that the sugar factory was also coming up.
Philip also started pineapple, coffee, cocoa, tobacco and cotton plantations. Pineapple was tried in Gampaha area, where the soil is suitable. Cocoa in Matale, Badulla and Koslanda, tobacco in Jaffna and Uva. Philip said that a citrus specialist from Australia had been surprised that we were not using the local varieties which will be more resistant to disease, unlike the imported varieties.
A large cotton farm was planned for Hambantota, in the area between Walawe and Kirindi oya. ‘We have developed a variety of cotton suitable for the area. It is purchased at a good price by Wellawatte Spinning and Weaving Mills. Area under cotton was expanding as the villagers earned more by cultivating cotton. We propose to open a fairly large cotton farm in Ridiyagama area with Russian assistance,’ said Philip .
In dairy farming, Philip reported that they had experimented with crossing the Sinhala Cow with the Jersey and Frisian cows. The most successful match was with Jersey. The animal is larger than the Sinahla cow but not as large as Jersey. Milk yield was fairly satisfactory.
Philip improved the distribution of milk. Most of the milk went waste since the producing areas were so far from the towns and in a tropical climate milk soon goes bad. Therefore Philip set up two pasteurization plants in Gampola and Nattandiya where 10,000 pints of milk were collected daily, from producers. Milk Board planned to set up two more plants at Polgahawela and Kotagala.
The Milk Board in 1958 launched a programme to popularize milk drinking, and to increase the supply to those areas which were ready to drink milk. The Board planned a chain of six feeder units for collection, processing and storage at Nattandiya, Gampola and Welikanda, with Kotagala, Polgahawela and Galle to follow. The Board also up the Colombo Central Dairy with Colombo Plan aid, to serve the Greater Colombo district.
A US NGO CARE, had been invited by the UNP government to distribute milk powder. CARE was an acronym for Cooperative for American Relief Everywhere’. Philip objected to CARE distributing milk powder. It could be done by local agencies. Also what was the need for CARE to set up an office here, for the mere supervision of the distribution. Why did the previous government allow a voluntary organization to set up a branch office in Ceylon. Philip was suspicious. ‘I fear the Greeks even when they offer gifts ‘ Philip tried to change the agreement, but found that was not possible. ‘I looked,’ he said. ‘
In July 1958, Philip Gunawardene published an Agriculture Plan prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture Planning Committee. This was a substantial document. It was prepared with the support of a group of dedicated public servants. It had an overview of the Agriculture sector, crop by crop, with information on each, and what was needed. It covered food and plantation crops, animal husbandry, distribution, credit, crop insurance, multipurpose co-ops. It examined all the problems. It was a good starting point for anyone starting work on an agriculture plan, said Meegama. The plan was criticized by his opponents within the MEP.
Philip encouraged agricultural research. He wanted the research scientists in the Department of Agriculture and elsewhere to concentrate on research and not administration. He appointed administration officers for the 24 districts and relived the scientific officers of this work. Technical officers should be left to do technical work, not promoted to do administrative work, such as petitions, he said.
Philip said that J.R. Jayawardene had in 1953 and 1954 disposed of very valuable state farms. If JR had waited for a year or two most of these farms would have paid. Some of these farms were for research not to make a profit, observed Philip. Philip wanted Gannoruwa to do research on rice. He set up other research units. Rahangala for potato and citrus, Hambantota for cotton, sugar in Kantalai, and paddy at Batalegoda. Under him, the Department of Agriculture started a soil survey.
There are five big firms which import fertilizer. The main ones are, Colombo Commercial, Baur, Shaw Wallace and Moosajee. They have a virtual monopoly. CCC, Baur and Shaw Wallace work together. Government pays out enormous amounts for fertilizer for coconut, rubber and paddy. The government subsidizes 50% of the cost to the paddy cultivator. This too goes to the importing firms. We are their mercy said Philip.
Philip wanted to make the CWE the sole importer of fertilizer. The idea was opposed, by many including the Minister for Commerce. Cabinet refused to give approval for CWE to import fertilizer. Even the Prime Minister had objected to the state importing fertilizers.
Philip then suggested creating a separate state organization for the purpose. It would be able to sell fertilizer cheaper. And eliminate the high profits the three foreign firms were making since they had a monopoly on it. Nothing came of this either.
Until 1956, the cooperatives had been single purpose ones. There were about 10,500 cooperatives of 70 different types. MEP decided to weld them into one organization, the Multipurpose Cooperative Society. By 1958 a fair number of Multipurpose Cooperatives were formed, other were converted. There was terrific enthusiasm on the part of the public said Philip.
The MEP had taken over the Cooperative Wholesale Establishment. Before 1956, CWE was selling a bare minimum of items. So that the public had to go to the private trader for the rest. MEP gave it a new board of directors and they had shown a profit in 1956 itself. MEP gave CWE trading rights and monopolies in respect of several items of food stuffs. Philip’s plan had been to make the CWE eventually the sole importer of all essential food stuff.
However, Philip was not obsessed with state ventures. He proposed joint stock companies, state and private, for paddy milling, coconut oil, and desiccated coconut.
P.H.William Silva was appointed Minister of Industries and Fisheries in the MEP cabinet. His name is forgotten today, but it was William Silva who started the industrial sector in Ceylon. There were no local industries when the MEP took power in 1956, everything was imported. The country was importing everything, from a pin, comb, pencil, biscuit to mammoties, water pumps, agriculture and industrial machinery, reported economists.
The main obstacle to the creation of local industry when the country became independent was the lack of credit. A World Bank Survey of 1951 reported that the banks operating in Ceylon did not support local industry. The Agricultural and Credit Corporation (est. 1943) for the express purpose of providing such credit had not done so. Those who went there found it impossible to arrange acceptable security. The British and Indian commercial banks present in the country, only lent for short tem import export transactions.
Bank of Ceylon did not help either. Mortgages had to be secured by personal assets of borrowers. Bank of Ceylon did not give loans on new enterprises unless the bank officials knew the person. The local moneyed class was also not prepared to invest in industry. William Silva observed that when a local person made money, he preferred to buy an estate and get a quick return.
William Silva decided that in such a situation, the state had to step in and provide a lead in developing industry. He presented a White paper on Industrial Policy. He introduced the State Industrial Corporations Act of 1957. The Budget 1957-58 included various tax concessions for industry.
A conscious effort was made towards industrialization in 1956. Corporations were established under State Industrial Corporations Act 1957, as well as special legislation. These corporations were provided with startup capital in form of grants and loans, confirmed economist Saman Kelegama.
William Silva thought that the state should undertake ‘large’ industry, such as cement, steel and machinery. He drew up three lists of industries. The first list consisted of items reserved for the state. They included iron and steel, cement, chemicals, fertilizer, salt , mineral sands sugar, power alcohol and rayon.
The second list had industries which were open to both state and private sectors. They included textiles, tyres and tubes, tiles, asbestos products, bicycles, industrial alcohol, acetic acid, sugar, vegetable oil, ceramic ware, glass ware, leather products, plywood, paper, electric bubs, dry cell batteries, accumulators, barbed wire, lumber, agricultural implements, wood working, furniture and cabinetry, and concrete products.
There was a third list of 82 industries ranging from motor car assembly to activated charcoal, reserved exclusively for the private sector. Persons embarking on these industries would receive tax concessions and tariff protection . Meegama observed that this period therefore saw the beginning of a private sector in industry with government encouragement. Industrialists promptly asked the government to stop imports in the goods they are producing.
The first industrial estate was established at Ekala, with a grant from the US, giving facilities for the small industrialist, so that he could avoid the expenses for land, building and provision of water and electricity. Ekala started to operate in 1960.
William Silva needed to find funds for the state industries. World Bank had refused to finance local industry when the earlier government had asked them, so this time William turned to Russia. Russia gave money to start the steel factory at Oruwala, tyre factory at Kelaniya, cement factory at Puttalam, and the state flour milling factory. A Ceramic Corporation, Leather corporation, Plywood corporation and Caustic soda project were set up by the MEP government later on.
The Mineral Sands Corporation was started by William Silva. William Silva was aware of the value of these mineral sands. It contains titanium oxide, rutile, and zircon, he told Parliament . He was hoping to process them with the limited technical knowledge we possess.
He also took note of the Monazite available. There is monazite washed up by the tide. It is there on the shore. We can collect about a thousand tons for nothing, he said. Having collected it, you separate by magnetic operation, the monazite from the sand. Monazite is radioactive. We will not sell it. We will stockpile pile it, so that we can use it someday in an atomic programme for peaceful purposes said William Silva hopefully.
William Silva set up a National Textiles Corporation and a new spinning and weaving mill at Veyangoda. He encouraged handloom weaving by supplying yarn at a reasonable price. He stopped the import of Indian handlooms to give a boost to the local handloom industry. It was on the foundation laid by him that the industry forged ahead and tens of thousands of rural girls found employment or self employment, said Bandu de Silva.
In 1956, Lakshman Rajapaksa, MP for Hambantota and Deputy Minister for Commerce and Trade set up a cotton processing factory at Mirijjawila near Hambantota to encourage cotton cultivators in Hambantota and Monaragala. During this period cotton was a popular crop in the Eastern part of Hambantota and Monaragala, and cotton was cultivated under rain-fed conditions. This factory functioned satisfactorily and it started processing their home grown cotton. It was set on fire by the JVP in 1971.
William Silva was responsible for the mechanisation of the deep sea fishing industry. This was a far reaching change. Till then deep sea fishing was done in the traditional 35 foot oruwa. This was realced in 1958, by a locally built 27 ft, three and half ton mechanized boat with a 25 horse power engine, built with Japanese aid.
William Silva not only gave a boost to the industry but also improved the living conditions of fishermen throughout the island especially by providing them housing, said Bandu de Silva. William Silva also promoted inland fisheries by breeding tilapia and gourami.
I wish to acknowledge, with deep appreciation, that this essay mainly contains information taken from Philip Gunawardena and the 1956 revolution in Sri Lanka”by Ananda Meegama, Godage 2008. (continued) – lankaweb.com/news/items/2020/04/25/the-general-election-of-1956-pt-4
C. News Index______________________________________________
• ee News Index provides headlines and links to gain a sense of the weekly focus of published English ‘business news’.
(ee is pro-politics, pro-politician, pro-nation-state, anti-corporatist, anti-expert, anti-NGO)
ee Sovereignty news emphasizes sovereignty as economic sovereignty – a strong nation is built on modern industrialization fueled by a producer culture.
• President considers changing useless & expensive poll campaigns: PMD
‘Cardinal Ranjth has observed that the time has come to deviate from election propaganda that is wasteful and spiteful and adopt a new political culture…President Rajapaksa said funds will be allocated to renovate these tanks and irrigation canals from the next Budget.’
• Objectives of a suicide attack go beyond just killing people: President
• Underutilised govt. labs
‘It is not possible that the Health Ministry was unaware of the availability of laboratory facilities, at institutions under its purview, for conducting more PCR tests, but, curiously, it sought assistance from some private hospitals to test suspected Covid-19 patients. Why did it do so, having refused to grant permission for privately-owned labs to conduct PCR tests? It is only natural that the Health Ministry’s decision to involve some private hospitals in Covid-19 testing has made its critics smell a rat.’
• Alliance of Independent Professionals led by EC’s Brother
‘The Alliance of Independent Professionals (AIP), an organization that the [Election] Chairman’s brother Sunanda Deshapriya is a leader of… says many professionals in charge of fighting the pandemic are political stooges.’
• Firing at a moving target
‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is on record saying that while he would like the stringent restrictions to remain in force for another month, nearly half the country’s national product comes from the Western Province.’
• Presidential Economic Taskforce
President Rajapaksa has appointed his special envoy, Basil Rajapaksa, to a second Task Force that will deal with economic matters. The members of this Task Force are Nandalal Weerasinghe, (Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Sri Lanka), Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, (Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army), C.D. Wickremeratne (acting Inspector General of Police), Major General (retd.) Shantha Dissanayake, Chairman, Consumer Affairs Authority, J.A. Nushad M. Perera (Chairman, Lanka Sathosa), Susantha Ratnayake (Chairman, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka), Jayantha de Silva, (Chairman, Information and Communication Technology Agency), Himali Fernando (Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority), Jayampathy Molligoda (Chairman, Sri Lanka Tea Board), Prabath Subasinghe (Chairman, Export Development Board), A. Wimalaweera (Commissioner General of Labour), S. Singapuli (Commissioner of Co-operative Development), Rear Admiral (reetd) Ananda Peiris (Director General, Department of Civil Defence), Major General (retd.) Vijitha Ravipriya (Director General, Sri Lanka Customs), Bandula Thilakasiri (Director General, Department of Commodity Development), Sanjaya Mohottala (Director General, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka), Major General (retd.) Sudantha Ranasinghe (Director General, Disaster Management Centre), Mahesh Gammanpila (Director, Fertilizer Secretariat), Buddhika Madihahewa, (General Manager, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation), Rohan Seneviratne (Additiional General Manager, Ceylon Electricity Board), Mano Sekaram (Director, Board Member, Information and Communication Technology Agency), Major General (retd.) Sumedha Perera, Sanjiva Gunawardena (Executive Officer, E.B. Creasy & Company, Samantha Kumarasinghe (owner, Nature’s Secret), Mahesh Amalean (Chairman, Mas Holdings), Ravi Liyanage (Chairman and CEO, the Kingdom of Raigam), Padmalal Vithanage (Managing Director, Sanmit Group of Companies, S.B. Divaratne (retired Deputy Secretary to the Treasury). Also in the Committee are the Secretary to the Prime Minister and the Secretaries to the Ministries of Finance, Economic and Policy Development, Roads and Highways, Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Plantation Industries and Export Agriculture, Industries and Supply Chain Management, Power and Energy, Women and Child Affairs, and Social Security, Mahaweli, Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development, Water Supply and Housing Facilities, Defence, Internal Trade, Food Security and Consumer Welfare.’
• Task Force After Task Force As Gota Gears For Executive Rule
• US must not use COVID-19 to intervene in sovereign countries – SLCFA
‘The SL-China Friendship Association (SLCFA) yesterday condemned the efforts of the United States to intervene in internal affairs of sovereign states, on the pretext of investigating the COVID-19 crisis’
• Constitutional crisis and Govt. intention to rule by extra-constitutional means
• “Boralugoda Sinhaya”Philip Gunawardena Tried to Blend Nationalism and Marxism Into “Jathika Samajavadaya”
‘Unlike Castro and Minh, however, Marxists here rubbished history, dismissing each and every historical struggle against colonialism as “bourgeois”. According to Dr Jayatilleka, Marxism was the true successor to Veera Puran Appu’s movement. That those who followed it failed to realise this eventually led to their downfall. That is why Philip Gunawardena is remembered, he implied: because he tried to follow what others hadn’t wanted to.’
• The SLFP is born – Devapriya
‘The UNP did play a part in empowering the Buddhist revival. In 1954 monks from Burma convened a Buddhist Council and to this end invited Buddhist leaders from Sri Lanka. Four years earlier, the World Fellowship of Buddhists had been formed at the behest of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress. In 1953, after Kotelawala assumed power, the ACBC urged the government to celebrate the 2,500th anniversary of the Buddha’s birth.’
• Lapse of VoA will not hinder Govt. functions: SLPP
‘Contends President constitutionally empowered to continue withdrawing funds from Consolidated Fund’
• China assures support for SL’s post-COVID-19 economic revival
‘Sri Lanka will receive help not only from the Central Government of China but also from the country’s leading companies and banks to rebuild its economy in the post-COVID -19 period, China has said.’
• Responsible Cooperation & the Opposition
‘G.G. Ponnambalam wanted was for one-half of the seats in the Legislature to be allocated to the majority community (Sinhalese) and the other half to be divided among the minority communities (Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays). The Soulbury Commission rejected the balanced representation proposal…” “The seven party leaders who lent their signatures to the joint statement are Ranil Wickremesinghe (UNP), Sajith Premadasa (SJB), R. Sampanthan (TNA), Rauff Hakeem (SLMC) Rishad Bathiudeen (ACMC), Mano Ganesan (TPA) and Patali Champika Ranawaka (JHU). The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) is not a signatory to this statement.’
• “Blackface Trudeau” has a New Year’s tradition of slighting Sinhalese Canadians
‘The Canadian leader, noted Newsweek (10/1/19), is “a white man, repeatedly wearing racial minorities as a costume to parties.”’
• Sri Lankan Tamils living abroad struggle to reclaim land from afar
‘In Jaffna, more than 3,000 acres – about 12% of the land that was occupied – are still under military and police control, according to data from the city government.’
• Modi exhorts CMs to woo foreign companies quitting China to invest in India
‘The government has also blocked the automatic route for FDI from nations which share land borders with India (read China), to which the neighbouring country had lodged objections.’
• China’s Long March To Taiwan & Sri Lanka: What’s The Endgame For The United States?
‘Sri Lanka, for example, is a country becoming increasingly more important to US and Chinese foreign policy goals. US Ambassador Alice Wells called Sri Lanka an important piece of “real estate” given its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, which would allow the US to sustain maritime supremacy and contain Chinese expansion. However, the US is losing its grip over Sri Lanka made evident by its failure to renew its Status of Forces Agreement, even after pledging $480 million in development aid via the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC). The US and Sri Lanka spent months debating the strings-attached MCC compact, which the Colombo administration ultimately declined to sign.’
• Just Another Flu? Time To End The Coronavirus Curfew & Fear Psychosis
‘US-Sri Lankan military training in Sri Lanka had continued despite travel sanctions due to Coronavirus spread globally, during the March and April 2020 at the Navy’s Special Boat Squadron Training School in Trincomalee Sri Lanka.’
• The Emergence of a China-Backed Cryptocurrency in the Era of the Digital Yuan
‘Debt-trap diplomacy can most clearly be seen in the example of Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port. The Sri Lankan government eagerly took on multiple loans in the hundreds of millions of dollars from PRC-backed banks to fund the development of the Hambantota Port starting in 2007. However, the increasing amounts of debt and rising project costs surrounding the fledgling port caused Sri Lankan officials to accept an agreement for a PRC State-Owned Enterprise to take a dominant equity share in the Hambantota Port.’
• Investigation: 2020 Dems Took Foreign-Linked Cash In Congressional Races
‘Harris’s primary campaign also took smaller donations, totaling $750, from registered agents of Saint Lucia, Malawi, Guinea, and Sri Lanka.’
• China envoy threatens Australia boycott over virus inquest demand
• Cuba’s Unique Model of Medical Internationalism
‘A brigade of several thousand specially-trained doctors, nurses and technicians who go to natural emergencies, whether it be earthquakes, hurricanes or epidemics. They have been involved in emergencies in 16 countries, and counting. As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic they have sent medical brigades to 16 countries.’
• This Is Trump’s Fault
(the state beyond ‘a pair of handcuffs’, monopolies of violence)
ee Security section focuses on the state (a pair of handcuffs, which sposedly has the monopoly of legitimate violence), and how the ‘national security’ doctrine is undermined by private interests, with no interest in divulging or fighting the real enemy, whose chief aim is to prevent an industrial renaissance as the basis of a turlu independent nation.
• Archbishop’s call for probe needs priority
‘”Easter Sunday mayhem was an international conspiracy and not merely the work of Islamic extremists.”’
• Easter attacks: weapons training camp in Sampur and terror organization uncovered in Puttala
• Outfit that recruited and indoctrinated cadres for NTJ found
• Two persons, including EPDP member, attacked and hospitalised
‘The clash occurred following a heated argument at the Chavakachcheri local council over moonshine trade in the area.’
• Intelligence officials brief Cabinet on success of COVID-19 activities
• Weerasekera questions HRW project in Sri Lanka
‘US Headquartered Human Rights Watch (HRW) which was just mired in a kickback scam, recently expressed concern over the CID taking attorney-at-law Hejaaz Hisbullah’
• Is the US Navy is spreading Covid 19 in the Indian Ocean region?
‘Covid 19 panic hit Sri Lanka during a Joint coaching program between Sri Lanka Navy and US Military in Trincomalee in the first week of March, 2020, which commenced on the Particular Boat Squadron HQ in Trincomalee….A second wave affected Sri Lankan Navy personnel taking the overall number of infections to 414’
• PHIs express unease over recalling of security forces personnel haphazardly
• GMOA complains bureaucrats blocking transparency, development of best policy
• Sri Lanka needs a strategy to resettle congested slum communities to control the future spread of viruses
‘After 1977 since the regime changef from a quasi socialistic government to a more open economy, the urban population started expanding and people started forcibly settling along in lands that are owned by state agencies. Authorities kept quiet when Colombo, some parts of Gampaha, some areas of Kalutara, and Beruwala started rapidly growing with closely built clusters of shanties.’
• The Sigiriya syndrome and the challenge to Lankan democracy
‘It is precisely “in the interregnum” between the old and the new that “a variety of morbid symptoms appear” (said Gramsci). Such a morbid symptom is the Far-Right discourse deriding elections, Parliament and Democracy, and advocating instead a presidential-military-bureaucratic-corporate-priestly pyramid of power; a new power elite and ruling class hovering above the PM, Cabinet, the Courts and Parliament. Call it the Sigiriya (rock fortress) syndrome.’
• The inherent danger in the Doctrine of Necessity
‘The curfew has been imposed under the provisions of the 1897 Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance and not by the declaration of a state of emergency under the Public Security Ordinance or by any other means like a Gazette notification. The declaration of a state of emergency would require Parliament to approve it within a month, and every month thereafter but Parliament now stands dissolved. This provision was introduced in the 1978 Constitution after the Sirima Bandaranaike Government brought in emergency rule in 1971 to counter the JVP uprising and kept it active till 1977, long after the insurgency was quashed.’
• China’s Worst Nightmare: RIMPAC 2020 in the South China Sea (SCS)?
‘Importantly, for high-end warfighting like amphibious operations, live-fire training, and ship-sinking exercises (SINKEX), there is plenty of open water and airspace in the SCS; coastlines and islands along Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, and Malaysia; and training areas and weapon ranges in Australia and the Philippines. Operationally Practicable – The SCS is operationally less burdensome for many prospective RIMPAC 2020 participants. Distant nations such as Japan, South Korea, India, Sri Lanka, Israel, United Kingdom, France and Germany will significantly cut their transit times to the exercise’s operating areas; while regional countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand can mostly operate from their homeports. Regional nations can also host foreign military forces and lay the groundwork for future defense cooperation.’
• How Italy’s Lombardy, home to Europe’s ‘best medical system’, became the epicentre of coronavirus crisis
‘Lombardy has one-sixth of Italy’s 60 million people and is the most densely populated region, home to the business capital in Milan and the country’s industrial heartland….Even after the Rome-based national government locked down all of Lombardy March 7, it allowed factories to stay open, sparking strikes from workers worried their health was being sacrificed to keep Italy’s industrial engine rolling.
“It was a huge error.’
• US Pentagon officially releases UFO videos
(Study the Economists before you study the Economics)
ee Economists shows how paid capitalist/academic ‘professionals’ confuse (misdefinitions, etc) and divert (with false indices, etc) from the steps needed to achieve an industrial country.
• After COVID-19: the need for national planning – Vagisha Gunasekara
‘The most severe assault on national planning was launched in the early 1980s, as a component of Structural Adjustment promoted by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).’
• Banks urged to go the extra mile to help Covid-19 affected borrowers – Raigam
‘”When you take a look at the banks’ balance sheets, whatever problems there were in the economy in the past 4-5 years, the financial sector had reported the highest profits among the listed companies. So, the banks could sacrifice part of their profit this year to provide relief……”’
• A new social contract – Gunawardena & Kadirgamar
‘Working people need higher wages and we must take essential services out of the market by providing them for “free” through the state by redistributing wealth, thereby creating the necessary demand that markets, whether national or external, will not provide.’
• Covidonomics challenge for Central Bank: Revive Keynes but clamp import controls – Wijewardena
‘Sri Lanka adopted deficit budgets year after year. When it was clear that it led to balance of payments deficits putting pressure on the exchange rate to depreciate, the Sri Lanka Government clamped prohibitive import and exchange controls on the economy. Though it was considered as a solution, it was the root cause for a series of other problems. Import and exchange controls created a shortage of goods in the market causing prices to go up.’
• Assessment of COVID-19 lockdown impact on household economy and an income-support package proposal – Harsha de Silva
‘60% of Sri Lankan households were in debt; urban at 50, rural at 61 and estate at 73% respectively. The most indebted families were in Vavuniya (81%) perhaps due to the absolute harsh post-war reality while Polonnaruwa (78%) and Matale (72%) perhaps due to volatility in agricultural income.’
• Navigating the ‘new normals’ for socio-economic recovery from COVID-19
‘The UN Development Programme (UNDP) convened a high-level virtual dialogue in collaboration with the Resident Coordinator’s Office of the UN and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)… The dialogue saw the participation of several leading actors both in the public sector and the private sector including Dialog Axiata PLC, Dilmah, Global Compact, Hayleys, Hemas, Pickme, Unilever and Virtusa; fellow colleagues from World Bank, ADB, IFC and IMF; think tanks and academics from the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Munasinghe Institute of Development, University of Colombo and the Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA); civil society organisations such as Sarvodaya and representatives from the Sri Lanka Retailers Association, Employers Federation and Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.’
• Most commodity prices to drop in 2020 as COVID depresses demand & disrupts supply: WB
‘Metal prices are projected to drop 13% overall in 2020 as slowing demand and the shutdown of key industries weigh heavily on the market. Industrial metals would be affected the most…in particular that of China, which accounts for more than half of global metals demand.’
• Economic responses to COVID-19
‘“I clamber up to the dusty top shelf, furtively haul down Vladimir Ilyich’s April Theses of 1917 and dip in: end the war, confiscate the big estates, immediately merge all the banks into one general national bank…. The blood flows back into my cheeks, my eyes sparkle…. ” Perhaps, we too should dare to imagine a more radical restructuring of society after this crisis.’
• Prabhat Patnaik: Globalisation and the Pandemic
• Capitalism And The US Pandemic Response
‘Basic data on living in the USA’ – Workers can no longer afford university
• “Herd Immunity” is Epidemiological Neoliberalism
(Usually reported in monetary terms)
ee Economy section shows how the economy is usually measured by false indices like GDP, etc, and in monetary terms, confusing money and capital, while calling for privatization and deregulation, etc.
• A President Perplexed by Ardent Neoliberal Mangala
‘He is perplexed as to the possible reasons for an educated, intelligent and an ardent believer in the neoliberal socio-economic model and a senior politician who had managed the economy such as yourself to desist from allowing people to exercise their democratic right through the participation in elections.’
• Budget delay could handicap fiscal measures required to soften COVID-19 impact: CB
‘Cautions govt. against plans to increase public sector recruitment’
• SL seeks US$800mn under IMF’s Rapid Financing Facility
‘Move comes in wake of int’l capital markets drying up for SL…SL has on average US$4 to 4.5bn to be serviced annually over 2020-2025. Out of that, international sovereign bonds account for US$8.4bn or about 30%’
• Inflation declines to 5.2% in April 2020
• CB forecasts economy to grow at 1.5% this year
‘The 70th Annual Report of the Monetary Board of the Central Bank was presented to Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Economic and Policy Development Mahinda Rajapaksa by Central Bank Governor Professor W.D. Lakshman. Dr. P. Nandalal Weerasinghe, Senior Deputy Governor and Dr. Chandranath Amarasekara, Director of Economic Research of the Central Bank were also present…. CB’s projections remain somewhat optimistic compared to the projections of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB).’
• Sri Lanka’s economy to ‘decelerate’ by 1.5% in 2020-CB
• Direct taxes up 6.6% year-on-year –Reflecting impact of new Inland Revenue Act
‘total revenue declined to Rs. 1,890.9 billion in 2019 from Rs. 1,920 billion in 2018’
• CB boosts money circulation to support economy
‘The Central Bank has pumped Rs. 240 billion of new money into the banking system this month, making cash in hand available to the people with a view to reviving the economy which slumped after the COVID-19 crisis.’
• Defusing debt debacle amidst COVID-19 crisis
‘$4.4b foreign debt repayment this year, of which $ 3.2 b is due between May and December, $13.8 billion falling due between 2021 and 2023; Dr. Jayasundera says Govt. has approached bilateral and multilateral donors for debt repayment relief; IMF support to replace EFF to Rapid Credit Facility offering concessionary funding with less conditions; SL could stand to get $ 800 m if successful; Govt. asks WB, ADB to make higher allocation from agreed medium-term funding arrangements; Seeks 2-year debt moratorium from bilateral development partner lending; SL committed $ 1 b Intl. Sovereign Bond redemption later this year; Dr. Jayasundera reiterates Sri Lanka will under no circumstances dishonour debt obligations and investor trust; Morgan Stanley says should global debt suspension initiative be extended to Sri Lanka, it could yield debt suspension worth $ 1.2 b n 2020 and another $ 2.6 b in 21-22
• Sri Lanka’s economy: The first 10 years – Devapriya
‘H. A. de S. Gunasekara had conjectured that at least 75% of ordinary expenditure was being spent on imports. With an average of 7% of national income left for gross capital formation in developing countries (Das Gupta estimated the figure for Sri Lanka in 1948 to be about 3% or 4%), this meant there was no real room for investment.
• China’s grand e-currency experiment set to begin this month
• US Congress approves $484 billion bill for Coronavirus relief aid
‘More than 26 million in the US have lost their jobs’
(Inadequate Stats, Wasteful Transport, Unmodern Plantations, Services, Precarious Work)
ee Workers attempts to correct the massive gaps and disinformation about workers, urban and rural and their representatives (trade unions, etc), and to highlight the need for organized worker power
• Communist Party of Sri Lanka May Day message: Time to look for alternatives to neoliberal policies
‘Historically, May Day came into effect in the year 1890 on the strength of a resolution moved by Fredrick Engels at the First Session of the Second International of the Communist Movement….The Left movement of Sri Lanka has commemorated this historic May Day uninterruptedly since 1933, under varying conditions and circumstances.. The Left and Progressive forces which pioneered to set up the Public Sector feel happy that their indefatigable efforts to defend the state sector against the neoliberalist onslaught were not in vain. We take this opportunity to salute the people of China, Vietnam and Cuba, the socialist states for their dynamic and humanist role in the battle against COVID – 19, providing their advice, experience, expertise to the sister countries regardless of ideological or political differences.’
• Their lives are also precious
‘Public health workers [have] and even come to be known as suwa viruvo (health sector heroes), but, sadly, not enough is being done to ensure their safety.’
• May Day in a pandemic-ridden world
‘Sri Lanka has a vibrant trade union sector, especially in the one-million strong government workforce. Most private sector companies generally do not tolerate trade unions, but this is beginning to change.’
• GMOA calls for ensuring safety of frontline health workers
‘”Doctors and PHIs, attached to the Colombo Central area, have already decided to temporarily halt their work. They have taken this step after their repeated attempts to reach out to health authorities failed.” The GMOA Secretary said that security forces personnel, too, had not been adequately protected and the situation in the Welisara Navy Camp should be an eye opener
• PHIs in Colombo 12 to halt work unless they are tested
• Municipal workers suffer in silence (Does not mention they work for Abans)
‘”Because workers are not entitled to paid or medical leave, their children and families often go hungry on days they cannot work”’
• Govt. urged to ensure domestic workers, others protected by labour laws
‘The Red Flag Union and Domestic Workers Union have jointly urged the government to insist that the Tea and Rubber plantation companies pay 25 days full salary, regardless of whether their workers worked or not, without any deduction…that trade unions come together to monitor and demand that government and private sector enforce emergency measures are taken to control the spread of the virus; that prices are controlled and there is no profiteering…’
• A chance of a snowball in hell
‘In 1979, when Air Lanka was formed, it was the members of the Air Ceylon Pilots’ Guild who lobbied to have a practising airline pilot as its Chairman….we sat around the Board Room table pretending to be representatives of the three main aircraft manufacturing companies, Lockheed, Boeing and Airbus, with the Chairman occupying the head chair!’
• President salutes working masses for boundless sacrifices
‘Last year the working class of our country had to forego May Day celebrations due to the Easter Sunday carnage. Even though we have ended that inhumaneness, due to unexpected world epidemic situation, this time too, May Day celebrations and processions will not be held’.
• ‘An angry groundswell is building’ – David
‘Harm to people’s daily lives and damage to the economy is colossal. Pain is considerable in less well-off classes; hardest hit, the daily-paid – labourers, masons-carpenters-plumbers-electricians, street vendors, three-wheeler wallas, workers in SMEs, and small contractors.’
• Labour Department conducts survey
‘The Department of Labour has taken steps to undertake a survey on private sector establishments affected due to COVID-19….’
• Local exporter community plead for help
‘National Chamber of Exporters Secretary General/CEO Shiham Marikar met Minister of Skill Development, Employment, and Labour Relations Dinesh Gunawardena to seek govt. assistance to pay at least basic minimum wage for a period of three months. Warn failing to pay salaries would lead to trade union action as labour laws favour employees’
• Urgent Plan To Mitigate Covid19 Impact On Sri Lankan Economy
‘There are now about five million people living below the poverty line in SL, virtually on Samurdhi’… This is an ideal opportunity for SL to lease out our unused oil storage tanks in Trincomalee to USA. The government should actively pursue this new business…. 45,000 aircrafts, 35,000 cargo ships ad 4,500 super tankers used SL economic maritime zone and air space, polluting our environment during 2019.’
• JVP highlights precarious situation facing Lankan expatriate workers
‘In 2018, the country received remittances of over USD 7 billion, accounting to 7.9% of the GDP….Lankans have come from those islets to Male. Now the problem is the population density there is very high and is around 23,000 persons in a square KM. Several Lankans have been found infected there’
• Nallur woman’s corona husband Insurance tale backfires
‘Later, officials informed local finance institutions and leasing companies to adhere to government regulations on loan relief and not to visit houses to collect payments.’
• Stalin blows whistle on errant education directors and principals
‘Some zonal education directors and principals, in areas where the curfew was relaxed, were asking teachers and students to take part in various activities though the President had ordered that schools, and other educational institutions, remain closed, until further notice, General Secretary of the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU), Joseph Stalin said.’
• Reduce interest rates and kill retirees
‘The present monthly income, for a 2005 retiree, is half of what he got at his retirement whereas government pensioners receive a fixed monthly income and (almost annually) an increment and a cost of living allowance.’
• Confusion reigns in flurry of directions taxing workers
• Super healthcare, leading to despair – Reductio Ad Abeyratnum
‘US spends 17 per cent of its GDP on health expenditure and the government alone 8.6 per cent of GDP….Sri Lanka’s case too. In terms of public health expenditure, which is 1.6 per cent of GDP, it is significantly low and even lower than the average for middle-income countries. It seems that the private spending on health by Sri Lankans is more than their public spending, as shown by the total health expenditure of 3.8 per cent of GDP
• Virus and labour
‘The New York Times reported, yesterday, that unemployment claims had topped 30 million, in the US. The plight of workers in the developing countries is far worse.’
• A. E. Goonesinha Father of the Labour Movement in Sri Lanka
• How the 1980 general strike was smashed (2016)
‘Two armed gangs which emerged from the direction of the Government Supplies Dept. at Chittampalam Gardiner Mw. and Lake House started attacking the protesters with stones. They also threw a bomb killing a trade union member D. Somapala, who was a Supplies Department Employee.’
• May this liberation song become a reality?
‘At present 10 super billionaires are known to have control over about 60 per cent of the world’s wealth and resources.’
• India to use civil, military aircraft and warships for biggest evacuation in history of its nationals from Gulf countries
‘Expats from Kerala will be the first ones to be brought since the state has created the infrastructure to accommodate about 2,00,000 people at quarantine centres and hospitals.’
• Asia virus latest: Macau casino revenue plunges, Singapore rehouses migrant workers
• Protect workers both now and after lockdowns ease, says ILO
‘Risk control measures should be specifically adapted to the needs of workers at the frontline of the pandemic. These include health workers, nurses, doctors and emergency workers, as well as those in food retail and cleaning services. The ILO also highlighted the needs of the most vulnerable workers and businesses, in particular those in the informal economy, migrant and domestic workers.’
• Coronavirus: A visual guide to the economic impact
‘In the United States, the number of people filing for unemployment hit a record high, signalling an end to a decade of expansion for one of the world’s largest economies. Close to one million people in the United Kingdom also applied for benefits in just two weeks at the end of March.’
(Robbery of rural home market; Machines, if used, mainly imported)
ee Agriculture emphasizes the failure to industrialize on an agriculture that keeps the cultivator impoverished under moneylender and merchant, and the need to protect the rural home market. Also, importation of agricultural machinery, lack of rural monetization and commercialization, etc.
• Govt. promises to purchase unsold supplementary crops
• Sri Lanka’s People’s Bank to give agriculture loans of Rs3mn
‘Sri Lanka’s state-run People’s Bank will give up to 3.0 million rupees for agriculture and set up 200 cluster villages, cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunewardene said. The government will also started 200 agriculture sales shops and use 10,000 acres for agriculture.
• Cabinet approval given to allocate Rs 10 billion to procure 150, 000MT of fertilizer
‘Fertilizer will be used to cultivate 523,000 hectares of land during the upcoming Yala Season… the Government will also encourage the cultivation of 16 supplementary crops for which it has set a guaranteed price.’
• Utilising abandoned lands…
‘Farmers are seen cultivating barren paddy lands in the Gampaha area. They were compelled to abandon any cultivation due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The farmers have slowly begun the cultivation of the lands in the recent past.’
• Sri Lanka removes ceiling prices on sugar
‘Sri Lanka has removed the ceiling imposed on wholesale and retail prices on sugar to assist importers as the Sri Lankan rupee depreciated amidst a spike in world market prices.’
• Govt. explores possibilities of digitizing agriculture trading
‘To give the opportunity to farmers to gain a better price for their paddy stock.’
• Dr. Ernest Abeyratne – a great agricultural scientist
‘Ernest also looked critically at the chena system that at the time was being condemned as a wasteful and inefficient form of land use. This inspired him to examine in depth, the interrelationships between climate, topography, soils, crops and human settlement within the Dry Zone framework. This holistic approach made his research unique and a typical of the era; for in sharp contrast, the other scientists of Ernest’s vintage in the Department were then concerned only with their narrow fields of specialization. (As a result, their efforts once came to be dismissed, no doubt unjustly through ignorance, by a former Minister of Agriculture with the comment “I am not interested in your arid contemplation”). Through his holistic approach, Earnest Abeyratne came to appreciate the land capability classification and farming practices that had evolved in the Dry Zone.’
• Agriculture has emerged as the backbone of the economy
• Troops reap maiden paddy harvest from newly-dug marshy fields near Army HQ
‘Brigadier Michael Wanniarachchi, Director, Directorate of Agriculture and Livestock of the Army threw his full weight behind its success…’
• Agripreneurs’ Forum calls for private sector-led approach to transform agriculture sector
‘The agri sector, which employs over three million people…They want a National Steering Committee for Agriculture comprising government officials and private sector representatives, where minimum 60% of private sector representation is guaranteed.’
• Traditional varieties cannot fulfil country’s rice requirement
‘Sri Lanka..had a rich treasure of over 2,400 traditional rice varieties, with nutritional and medicinal values..Out of these, over 400 varieties were popular among farmers and they had a variety of germplasm to rotate among seasons, avoiding frequent pest and disease outbreaks.’
• March merchandise exports plunge record 42%
‘Export earnings from engineering products, spices, essential oils and fruits and vegetables, recorded a decline, while earnings from rubber products and coconut products declined by over 35% in the month. …Coconut milk powder, defatted coconut, certain coconut kernel products, coconut shell charcoal, essential oils, oleoresins, ginger, lemons, melons and papayas, onions, sweat potatoes, processed food, rice, green gram, lentils, organic chemicals, electrical transformers, boat building and several others, posted a positive growth during March 2020…Products such as rubber industrial and surgical gloves, copra, coconut cream, coconut water, mattress fibre, essential oils, made-up textile articles, sugar, sugar confectionery and bakery products, processed vegetables, fruits and juices, alcoholic beverages, MDF and fibre boards, soap, washing preparations and waxes, only indicated a marginal decline in export earnings in the first quarter.’
• Tea Small Holders at 73% production continue to sustain tea Industry
‘Because of the green leaf supplies formula; that being, they were entitled to 68% of the sales average each week…Tea factory owners were subject to about 32% of the weekly average. Their commitment was that manufacturing cost, and transport of the finished product to the auctions was their responsibility, their profits were therefore restricted.
• Leveraging on agri-food sector for post-Covid revival of Lankan economy
‘Bangladesh now has the most mechanised agriculture in South Asia, [because of] the liberal policies on agriculture machinery. Indeed, Sri Lanka too has policies to giving exemption from Customs duty, import cess and VAT to selected agricultural equipment and machinery.’
• The Fiery Marxist who Valued Local Culture
‘One of the main triumphs of Philip Gunawardena, Minister of Food Agriculture and Cooperatives was the Kumburu Panatha [Paddy Lands Act] in 1958 that gave security of possession to the tenant cultivator who toiled on the fields and was forced to part with half the crop to the landowner, whose task was only to hold on to the deed. The cultivator was given a guarantee of the contract by state plus a three fourths share of the crop. which obviously the land-owners hated. There was severe resentment from a powerful section in the government too. However, a watered-down Act finally got through the Parliament making a huge social change.’
• Kist goes extra mile to support farmers
‘Kist has a fruit processing plant at Kilinochchi [and] it has the Katana factory where it could keep these raw materials for a longer period of time without adding any preservatives’
• Farmers say it takes more than two Quebecers to replace one migrant worker
‘One experienced Guatemalan farmhand can produce more than two Quebecers. She and her husband, Francois D’Aoust, have hired the same four Guatemalan seasonal workers year after year. They typically clock up to 70 hours per week on the farm in Havelock, Que., and though the pay is relatively low, the workers value it….They are among the roughly 5,000 seasonal and temporary workers that Quebec’s farmers’ union estimates will be missing on the province’s farms this year because of the pandemic…Quebecers have proven unreliable farmhands. “That’s been our experience — and why we turned to foreign labour …. We estimate that one Guatemalan worker can be replaced by 2.5 Quebecers,” she said by phone from her farm.
(False definitions, anti-industrial sermons, rentier/entrepreneur, etc)
ee Industry section notes the ignorance about industrialization, the buying of foreign machinery, the need to make machines that make machines, build a producer culture. False definitions of industry, entrepreneur, etc, abound.
• COVID-19: A wakeup call for increased manufacture of pharmaceuticals locally
‘Sri Lanka imports over $500 million of pharmaceuticals annually and nearly half of this comes from India. Last month, India restricted the export of 26 pharmaceutical ingredients and the medicines made from them, including paracetamol…’
• Uma Oya power plant to be completed by October to generate 134 MW
‘Under the Uma Oya Hydropower project, water will be diverted to the Kirindi Oya basin, which will carry water to Hambantota through the underground tunnel, across mountains in Bandarawela. A dam will be built at Puhulpola, in Welimada, and a reservoir at Diaraba. Engineers said that once completed, the project would irrigate more than 5,000 hectares of land… The project would supply irrigation water to 4,500 hectares of new land in Wellawaya and Thanamalwila Divisional Secretariats in the Moneragala district, and irrigate 1,500 hectares of land, currently under cultivation, in addition to powering the national grid.’
• Produce or perish?
‘Naphtha is produced at our Sapugaskanda petroleum refinery and we either sell this to Singapore or burn them in power plants . This byproduct if utilised properly can be used to manufacture all the polythenes and plastics to meet our requirements… I saw a vial of nasal drops which is again a 1% solution of sodium chloride (salt) and I was astonished to find that it has been imported from Bangladesh!’
• Chevron Lubricants says it possesses adequate cash flows to continue seamless operations
‘The company is producing lubricant oils for essential services such as power generation, agriculture, fisheries sector, and government transportation services,” he said.’
• Luxury taxes added to vehicles less than 1,000cc after rupee depreciation: Importers
• Sri Lanka auto service providers warns of job losses, breakdowns over import controls
‘Sri Lanka Automobile Service Providers’ Association (SLASPA) has warned of up to a half a million job losses after paints and vehicle part imports were controlled…Jobs of over 500,000 blue collar workers are under threat, the association said….Sri Lanka slapped import controls on cars and a number of items, after the rupee came under pressure from monetary stimulus (rate cuts and liquidity injections), with the help of a law used widely in the 1970s controlled economy period.’
• A dependent economy: Time to take stock
‘Sri Lanka must attempt to use its local raw materials, like tea, rubber, coconut, other crops, minerals, etc., and manufacture finished products for local consumption and export, if possible.’
• Govt. gives nod to local company to produce robot to give medical advice
• Concessionary period for port occupational charges extended
‘All terminals and warehouses in Sri Lanka Ports Authority, SAGT and CICT have reached their maximum capacities.’
• Dumindra Vs Duminda: Reply To Harsha De Silva’s Remarks On Dumindra Ratnayake
‘The ‘Pathaha’ Graphite processing project with an envisaged investment of 12M US$. This is the only investment in graphite processing to make Anode Powder. A ton of this processed graphite if sold in the world market is US$12,000, where as unprocessed raw graphite is exported in large quantities at 600US$ per ton. We should’ve grabbed this opportunity. But it was rejected by Dumi & Co.’
• Engineers unhappy with some CEB bigwigs as focus shifts to wind & solar energy
‘Plans are now underway to set up wind and solar powered plants in the country.’
• Philip Gunawardena: Highly intelligent, well-read and acutely observant master of trade
‘To a social scientist, an endearing feature of many of Philip’s speeches is the copious use of statistics to establish a point. Witness for example his speeches on the Insurance Corporation Bill (9 December 1960), the Petroleum Corporation Bill – where the statistics extend to the global oil industry (21 April 1961), the Agricultural Products (Guaranteed Prices) and Control of Hulling and Milling Bill (9 May 1961) and the Tea Research (Amendment) Bill (7 June 1961). Of course in the resort to statistics to objectively analyse phenomena, he was in the great Marxian tradition of Karl Marx, Engels and Lenin whose work is replete with historical and contemporary statistics. (The only other Sri Lankan public figure to note who comes to mind in regard to this practice is Anagarika Dharmapala. He quoted copiously from government Sessional Papers).’
• WHO convenes manufacturers, regulatory authorities meeting on COVID-19 vaccines
‘India, Indonesia and Thailand are among the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers’
• Singapore’s PSA, container freight operators warn of congestion at Indian ports
‘PSA operates 4 large terminals across India, the biggest being near Mumbai inside state-owned Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), which handles more than half of the container cargo across all of India’s major ports. Units of Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipping group, and Dubai’s DP World also have terminals at the JNPT. Both those companies did not respond to a request for comment.’
• Why the UK wants a new coronavirus test to be made in Senegal
‘The test is being developed by Mologic, funded with £1 million ($1.2 million) from the U.K. government, and will be made in parallel with DiaTropix, an infectious disease testing facility founded by the Institut Pasteur of Dakar, in the Senegalese capital.’
(Making money from money, banks, lack of investment in modernity)
ee Finance tracks the effects of financialization, pointing to the curious role of ratings agencies, again false indices, etc.
• Moody’s extends negative outlook on Lankan banking sector on coronavirus stress
• Central Bank of SL imposes maximum interest rates on pawning advances of licensed banks
‘Considering the necessity to provide relief to low income individuals who are pawning gold jewellery to meet their short-term financing needs…’
• Central Bank says depositors won’t be compromised when facilitating borrowers
• Standard Chartered Sri Lanka steps up for clients affected by COVID-19 pandemic
(Rentierism: money via imports, real-estate, tourism, insurance, fear, privatization)
ee Business aka ee Rentier focuses on diversions of the oligarchy, making money from unproductive land selling, tourism, insurance, advertising, etc. – the charade of press releases disguised as ‘news’
• Economic context ripe for mergers
‘He predicted that bigger companies could take in smaller companies. He said, “It could happen in a friendly manner or an acquisition manner.”’
• COSMI urges Sri Lanka to engage private sector in milestone strategy switch
‘The private sector’s resilience, low waste, demand driven production, productivity and process efficiencies can be introduced to the agri-sector while the private sector can benefit from locally-made, ready supply of agri-products and raw materials coming to them directly from the farm at farm-gate prices….Almost half of the rural farmers in Sri Lanka are small scale farmers.’
• Pandemic survival plans: Corporations scrambling to conserve cash, boost liquidity
‘Aitken Spence PLC stated… voluntary salary reductions across all sectors commencing with the Board of Directors and the leadership team and applied on a sliding scale to all grades of employees.’
• Sri Lanka biz leaders at Echelon forum on economy
‘Ashok Pathirage, Chairman, Softlogic Holdings Christopher Joshua, Managing Director, Access Engineering Ranil Pathirana, Director, Hidaramani Group, Steven Enderby, Chief Executive, Hemas, Supun Weerasinghe, Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata are in the panel, moderated by Shamindra Kulamannage, editor of Echelon Magazine.’
• JKH expects economic fallout from COVID-19 to overshadow first half
‘However, on a positive note, the recovery of trade in China has led to a pickup in Chinese vessel movement.’
• GlaxoSmithKline donates to COVID-19 Fund; involved in global search for a vaccine
‘a leading pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare company in the country,’
• Sunshine Healthcare donates PCR test kits to combat COVID-19
‘The LabGun COVID-19 PCR kit is manufactured by LabGenomics, a South Korean molecular diagnostics company partnered with Siemens Healthineers, which is represented by Sunshine Healthcare Lanka in Sri Lanka for the distribution of these kits.’
(Anti-parliament discourse, unelected constitution)
ee Politics points to the constant media diversions and the mercantile and financial forces behind the political actors, of policy taken over by private interests minus public oversight.
• Reconvening House serious impediment to Corona eradication efforts – Yuthukama
• Ex-PM once again assures govt. it needs not fear UNP exploiting situation if it reconvenes House
‘There would be no need for all 224 MPs to attend the sitting and just 20 MPs could meet to avoid the impending constitutional crisis. Wickremesinghe said the quorum was 20 MPs.’
• Ending JVP’s role as Political Prostitute, Ruining the Future of Youth
‘This takes us back to the 1960s where a pro-Christian military coup attempted to oust Sirimavo Bandaranayake…The failure of the coup meant …revenge came via covert operation against the State. Poetic-justice was such that JVP was launched 2 months after the UNP returned to power on Vesak day 14 May 1965, the symbolism to deceptively draw Sinhala Buddhist youth. So were the handlers of the UNP and JVP the same?
• The anticipated constitutional crisis
• Responding to COVID-19: Act Fast, Do Whatever You Can, Do it Legally
‘The outline of an ‘administrative state’ is emerging as can be seen in the direct forum that the President is establishing with District Secretaries to mobilize resources for food production and marketing. There are no ministers or Governors to be seen in any of this.’
• Lawyers for democracy calls for reconvening of dissolved parliament
(Mis/Coverage of economics, technology, science and art)
ee Media shows how corporate media monopoly determines what is news, art, culture, etc. The media is part of the public relations (corporate propaganda) industry. The failure to highlight our priorities, the need to read between the lines. To set new perspectives and priorities.
• Labours of Gota
‘President GR made a difference in electioneering, as the SLPP presidential candidate, last year; his campaign was environment-friendly and without cut-outs, posters and rants against his rivals. But, the fact remains that his propaganda campaign, conducted via the electronic and print media was extremely expensive. Neither he nor any other candidate has disclosed campaign expenditure. No presidential candidate has done so, since 1982.’
• Villainizing the victim trapped between 19A and Covid-19 emergency courtesy of free media manipulation? A point to ponder
‘It is not only online tabloids such as Asia Tribune and Colombo Telegraph …. Even the mainstream English broadsheets with wide circulations seem to be subject to the same pressure…’
• Power and the pandemic
‘The President had strong media machinery capable of making even a black raven a white one. It is still operative. A strong advertising company, with unique techniques and gimmicks, can easily deify an ordinary being in the eyes of the public’
• China Spearheads Anti-Muslim Propaganda Campaign In Sri Lanka Amid Coronavirus Fears
• From Asia Publishing to Permanent Black: Ramachandra Guha pays a tribute to editors and publishers
‘Asia Publishing House, founded in the 1940s in the great city of Bombay by an enterprising Sinhala businessman named PS Jayasinghe. Mr Jayasinghe was in the rice trade; seeking to diversify his portfolio, he decided to go into publishing as well…. What ensued was possible only in the Bombay of the 1950s – a Sinhala and a Jew, publishing works by the best scholars from across India.’
• Tracing the Portuguese Cultural Imprint on Sri Lanka
• BBC avoiding taxes
‘The BBC has a shell company, BBC Worldwide Holdings BV registered in the Netherlands with tax avoidance specialists Intertrust.’
• Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case
‘In recent years, Murray has brought to light an array of US, British, and Israeli government crimes. He poked holes in Britain’s accusations that Russia poisoned double agent Sergei Skripal under official government orders. And in recent months, he has publicly excoriated the UK’s hypocrisy in a scandal involving Anne Sacoolas, a CIA operative who killed the British teenager Harry Dunn after she collided into him while driving on the wrong side of the road outside of a US Air Force spying station.’
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