Editorial

Listen to PB, do away with vehicle permits!

Summary

PB believes that it can be done, provided there’s courage, permanent policies, quick decision-making and implementation of the decisions.

Dr P B Jayasundara
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Dr. P B Jayasundara, Secretary to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has put it in black and white: ‘the country is suffering from a foreign exchange crisis.’ Ok, what’s well known is now officially acknowledged. Good.

‘PB’ actually said this en passant while explaining the government’s decision to halt vehicle imports. Apparently Sri Lanka spends between 1-1.2 billion US dollars a year importing vehicles when in fact the vehicle stock has risen to a point that imports are unnecessary for two and a half years. One could argue that if public transport was improved then Sri Lanka wouldn’t need to import for even longer. That’s a baby for the Minister of Transport to take care of.

Now PB knows this stuff. After all he waged a tough battle managing the economy during the tenure of Mahinda Rajapaksa, an era marked by mindless spending, wastage and allegations of theft. He mentioned that it’s just not the cars; the outflow of foreign exchange is inflated by money spent on spare parts, fuel, service fees and royalties, he said.

This situation has to be addressed, obviously. PB believes that it can be done, provided there’s courage, permanent policies, quick decision-making and implementation of the decisions.
Right. So who has to show courage? Who makes policies and who can make them stick? Who decides? Who implements?  

The government! President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, cabinet ministers and deputy ministers, state ministers and other members of parliament can all be brave. Some have a say in formulating policy, others make laws and comment on policy. Some can implement.
PB wants a quick policy decision on the matter. That’s possible. He has put it pretty plainly in easy-to-understand terms. No one can mumble, ‘I don’t get it!’ Anyway, while hoping for a quick think-and-do on vehicle imports, it is not unreasonable to ask Gota and his merry men and women to say something that will certainly prompt raucous cheering all around. In fact a novice MP, Madura Vithanage hinted at what could be done.
Just do away with the obnoxious and wasteful practice of providing duty-free import permits for elected representatives. Simple, neda PB?

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