A Sour Political Reveal with Hon. Mr. Champika Ranawaka

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On Politics 2.0 this week, Relaks Radio Lanka is joined by Hon.MP  Champika Ranawaka, a prominent member of the Parliament. To give a background for Mr. Ranawaka’s extensive career, he trained as an engineer in Moratuwa University and after that had lectured at Open University. He started off his political career by forming a new party and contesting from Colombo and then became an MP. He was given the responsibility of several ministries which include Health and Animal Resources, Technology as well as Megapolis and Western Development. The interview started off with the question of when the economic state of Sri Lanka would be stable. To that, he responded that it depended on the approach of the country regarding political stability and economic strategies. He cited examples of countries that went bankrupt such as Greece, Argentina and Lebanon. He also stated that current inflation is high due to two reasons; government policies, especially the president’s, regarding agriculture and plantation industries which then affects food production as well as the power and fuel crisis. He also stated that in 2021 and 2022, more money was printed than in 2019, which was Rs. 30 billion. Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe said that another 1.5 trillion has to be printed in the next 6 to 12 months time for everything to be stable.. The treasury cannot print more money if the expenditure is not controlled. Along with that income and production levels have to be increased too. When asked who the responsible parties are for the overprinting of money and whether they would be prosecuted, Mr.Ranawaka said that usually CBSL is responsible, but after the current president was elected, in December 1st 2019, he introduced the economic stimulus package by slashing 40% of the government revenue. The influx of foreign currency into the country was also slowed down  as over 300 projects were terminated, for eg: Light Railway project and railway modification project from Maradana to Homagama. The other blow was the ban on importing chemical fertilisers and seeds which took a toll on the plantation sector. He also blamed former prime minister, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, for getting loans from other countries and jacking up the prices which resulted in the country facing severe bankruptcy. It is really detrimental as 1/3rd of Sri Lankans are below the poverty line and even malnutrition has increased by 20%.


When talking about the oil issue, he said that Sri Lanka cannot buy oil from Russia like India and China does, because India gets their oil via the Iranian ports while China has their own pipeline system and also both are huge countries. Regarding IMF, Mr. Ranawaka recalled that they had gone for their help 16 times in the past. If Sri Lanka is to gain funds from the IMF, their roadmap has to be followed which is to restructure the debt, restructure the government institutions and address the revenue expenditure deficit as well as how to handle the financial and fiscal position of the country. There has to be an intermediate pragmatic programme to address this. When discussing renewable energy, he said that the main problem is that 80% of the cost depends on imported items like solar panels. He also said that when he was Minister of Power, rooftop solar power was started in 2010 and around 600 MW worth of power was generated and in 2012, he introduced charging stations for electric cars. With this, he stressed the need for modernisation and promotion of public transport, which is better than private transport.


At the time the question of whether the older generation is responsible for the younger generation, he replied in the affirmative and emphasised  that the future of the younger generation is in the hands of the older generation and that they have that responsibility. He also gave out the facts and figures as well as the background for the economic crisis. He had previously warned the previous government heads about the economic downfall, decades ago. He points the finger, not only at the Rajapaksa family, but also the officials, chairmens and secretaries who did not adhere to the fiscal responsibility act. Another fact he states is that the COVID 19 crisis could have gone in a bad way since the implementation of the vaccine program was done late, to which he criticised the president’s ego for it. He said that the army personnel have to be developed into a ‘smart’ army, as in they should be more evolved to deal with technology. He finished the segment by saying the Rajapaksa family has stolen since 2004 and that 5.5 billion has been syphoned off the country and that there should be a proper economic foundation for the country, otherwise it is extremely difficult to move on forward. Energy should be harvested , expenditure should be reduced, food should be grown, public transportation should be promoted for that to work. The former glory as the most advanced and wealthiest country in the Indian ocean can be restored if those are implemented.


Written by: Relaks Radio

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