In other serious developments, this time on the economic front, the World Bank (WB) on Thursday warned that Sri Lanka’s sluggish growth will continue till next year, coinciding with that year being the eve of the next Presidential Poll, due in 2024.
It estimated that Sri Lanka will have had grown by 3.3 per cent last year, from a low base of a record negative (-) 3.6 per cent growth in 2020, before decelerating to 2.1 per cent this year (2022), whilst marginally picking up to grow at 2.20 per cent in the next (2023), WB data showed.
Sri Lanka last faced such parsimonious annual growth rates 45 years ago, during the period of 1970-‘77, when the country practised a closed economy, leading to an unemployment rate of over 20 per cent. Therefore, the President and his Government have their work cut out to make the economy rebound.
To borrow a slogan from President J.R. Jayewardene when he was elected to power on 21 July 1977, “My first priority is jobs, my second priority is jobs and my third priority is also jobs.” In parallel with the present Government’s ‘national security’ objective on the political side, in the economic front its objective should be to create more and better jobs for the masses.