President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the very conduct of this election for the presidency is proof of the vibrancy of the democracy that has been restored.
“The post-conflict focus remains one of creating the platform for rapid social development and economic growth. This included restoring democracy throughout the country, particularly in the North and East while ensuring that peace, security and stability are guaranteed,” he further said.
He made these observations delivering the keynote address at the "Momentum Event" today (17) in Cinnamon Grand, Colombo.
My vision and action in this second term has been to restore economic stability ensure a major growth of the economy expand investment opportunities and thereby ensure social growth throughout the country, he added.
Full text of the speech made by President Rajapaksa at the "Momentum Event" :
"I am happy to speak to you at this important event, where those in the private sector, investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, professionals, academics and many others with the courage to face Sri Lanka's challenges meet. It is also encouraging to share with you my plans for the future.
Before I do that, it is necessary to recall that in November 2005, when you gave me your mandate for my first term, our economy was stagnant, the country and nation were under grave threat from LTTE terrorism. I had a very clear vision for the nation. The priority and my pledge in the first term of my Presidency was to free our Motherland from the clutches of terror.
You will recall that it was only after delivering on this pledge, in full measure, achieving peace and launching on reconciliation that I sought a second term.
The post-conflict focus remains one of creating the platform for rapid social development and economic growth. This included restoring democracy throughout the country, particularly in the North, while ensuring that peace, security and stability are guaranteed. The very conduct of this election for the presidency is proof of the vibrancy of the democracy that has been restored.
My vision and action in the second term has been to restore economic stability, ensure a major growth of the economy, expand investment opportunities and thereby ensure social growth throughout the country.
A major aspect of this is the Long-term Infrastructure Development that you see in all parts of the country, embracing the entire nation, from East to West, North to South and in the Centre. This covers both urban and rural sectors, and seeks the transformation of the country, into a place of pride in modern times.
You fully benefit today from what can only be described as a revolutionary change in our transport network of roads, highways and expressways. There is also an accompanying improvement in the rail network. All of this fosters connectivity by making travel times shorter and very importantly, helps in the speedy transport of goods and produce.
You see that we are building critical infrastructure projects, with a clear long-term strategy in ports and airports - with the major developments at Hambantota, which is ideally placed to exploit Sri Lanka's strategic location for faster development.
Another aspect of this all embracing plan of development is the ensuring of uninterrupted and low cost electricity to the entire country through new power projects and the combination of green energy sources, such as wind and solar.
Improving other growth enablers such as education has been another area of great progress. We have taken many steps to enable our youth to develop the knowledge and skills that will help accelerate our ongoing development drive and help further uplift Sri Lanka.
We have also transformed the urban environment to create clean, green, people-friendly and healthy cities and urban locations that give a higher quality of life for our own people, which also provides a physically friendly environment for investment, in addition to our economic policies. By uplifting the quality of life we can also retain more highly skilled professionals and knowledge workers.
All of this combined with our positive economic policies with conducive macro-economic factors and the concessions for critical private investments, both local and from abroad have seen the steady growth of GDP, leading to Sri Lanka achieving and soon exceeding a per capita earnings of US dollars 4,000 by next year; Yes, the election year, when we will harvest part of the success in the previous five years. Isn't this a record that you are glad to share and be part of?
The strategies of the government have made you partners in this pattern of progress. You have a major role to see this develop in the future without diversion into uncertain areas of unknown, untried and untested political thinking and practice.
At a time like this it is necessary to ask ourselves, What of the Future?
I am very clear on this. Our future vision is to focus on making the maximum use of the good work done so far, the peace we have achieved, the stability we have restored, the democracy we have ensured, the infrastructure development we have brought about, all continuing to ensure a macro-economic environment, so necessary for further growth.
We must further uplift the urban landscape and empower the villages to further improve the quality of life of our people.
We would undoubtedly move ahead to create a well-disciplined society. I am sure you would appreciate that had I concentrated on this in my first and second terms, we still would be fighting a terrorist war, travel on half done roads, have power cuts probably running into days, and more importantly, living with fear and anxiety about our safety. I didn't want to mix up the priorities of the nation. Isn't eliminating terrorism itself, ensuring that law and order is maintained?
My future vision for Sri Lanka includes elimination of poverty along with any corruption that would hinder the progress of the nation. We will not only continue with the major development programs we have initiated, but accelerate those initiatives to produce results.
Achieving results is good governance. Not achieving result is corrupt governance.
All of this makes you important Partners in Progress. This gives a greater role to the Private Sector in economic growth. This will also give you genuine pride in sharing in the progress of our Motherland.
These are the opportunities I see ahead, and these are the results you can fully cooperate towards achieving. These are the prospects that I am glad to share with you, giving you the rightful place in the forward march of this great nation.
Let us achieve this future together. For your children and those yet to be born.
Let us march ahead, with this goal of success for today and the generations ahead."