People will reap benefits of development programmes from next year - PM Ranil

We took over the country when it was going through a really difficult time and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa called for an early Presidential election since he could not take the country forward, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said.The Premier was speaking at a Puttalam District UNP Bala Mandala meeting on Saturday at Arora Hotel in Chilaw.

“The Joint Opposition has not yet been able to realise the public’s vision, but we were able to get a clear idea about the public’s vision in 2015,” the Prime Minister said. “we have taken measures to fulfill the wishes of the public. If we fail to do that, the public will refuse us. So we have a responsibility of continuing the good work of the government.”

“Soon after we came into power, we were able to ensure the democracy, justice and media freedom of the country,” Premier Wickremesinghe said. “We have already planned to establish industrial zones in Hambantota and many other areas of the country. Tax reliefs have already been given for the establishment of industries. Construction of the Central Expressway has started. Measures have already been taken to establish free trade zones. Measures have also been taken to develop the country’s tourism industry. So we are expecting a rapid development of the country and the people will be able to reap the benefits of these development activities from next year.”

“Although the present government had to go through a hard time during the past three years, we didn’t forget to fulfill the needs of the public.” “A salary increase of Rs 10,000 was granted to public servants and Rs 20,000 food allowance was granted to pregnant mothers.Prices of stents used in heart surgeries was considerably reduced. The maximum limit of Rs. 1.5 million for the expenses for one cancer patient was lifted and now a cancer patient’s treatment does not have a limit. Theprices of 48 varieties of essential pharmaceutical drugs has been reduced.”

“The present government also introduced the 1990 Suwaseriya emergency ambulance service. When we introduced this, Opposition members criticised it. But the ambulance service was used to send September 5 protesters to the hospital,” the Prime Minister said. Facilities were given to 9,000 schools under Langama Pasala Hondama Pasala concept of the government. The Suraksha insurance scheme was introduced for students. Measures have been taken to fill 4,000 principal vacancies. The Mahapola scholarship was increased to Rs. 5,000. Around 110 Uda Gammana villages have been established.

The middle-class housing programme was implemented, the Premier said.“For the first time in history, two million tourists arrived in Sri Lanka. We had been able to get back the GSP Plus relief. Measures have been taken to uplift the living standards of the fishing community. The Gamperaliya and Enterprise Sri Lanka programmes have been implemented to uplift the rural economy and provide assistance to entrepreneurs.”