Jan 08, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena entering the third year of his tenure today as the leader of the island nation said he is happy about what Sri Lanka has been able to achieve collectively as a country during the first two years in office.
The Second Anniversary celebrations of the election of President Maithripala Sirisena took place at the BMICH today with the participation of the Prime Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Chief Minister of India's Andra Pradesh State Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Guest.
Marking the two-year anniversary the President launched the "Dawn of Three years in the Era of sustainability" national initiative at the BMICH this afternoon to alleviate the poverty in the island and empower the people.
The President said that a well devised plan should be put in place to reduce the island nation's poverty level which according to the statistics is in between 25 to 27 percent.
The National Program of Poverty Alleviation "Shrama Shakthi" will commence to empower the people who are living under the poverty line by providing a platform for the village communities to overcome poverty by themselves. The program will bring a huge transformation in the agricultural and irrigational sectors this year, the President said.
Addressing the gathering, President Sirisena said abolishing 18th amendment to the Constitution during his first two years was a public victory. He added that foreign policy of the current government help to befriend more countries in the world and receive more support.
The President said that it is essential to understand the seriousness of the debt crisis that was created by the previous government in the pretext of development. He pointed out that the country inherited a huge debt of Rs. 9 trillion.
Speaking of the Joint opposition's protests against the development of Hambanthota, the President asked the Prime Minister to bring that development to Polonnaruwa, his constituency.
President Maithripala Sirisena said everyone should comprehend the correct status of our economy and should come together to face that challenge to develop the country and move forward as a nation.
"Let's think as one nation, we can rise as a great and prosperous nation, where everybody can live happily," he said.
Presenting the opening address Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Chandrababu Naidu who is attending the event on the invitation of President Sirisena, said the collaborative efforts of the two major political parties in Sri Lanka have set an example.
He said Sri Lanka can attain significant progress because it is already leading the region in many sectors and noted that Sri Lanka is a leader of the region in the fields of health and education.
The Chief Minister admired the progress made by Sri Lanka in health services and praised Sri Lanka for eradicating Malaria. He commended the President for his enthusiasm to provide quality healthcare continuing his good work during his time as the Minister of Health.
Mr. Naidu noted that Sri Lanka and India work with correct mutual understanding. Explaining the programs carried out by the Andhra Pradesh government to eliminate poverty, the Chief Minister said his government is ready to work with Sri Lanka in alleviating poverty in the island nation.
Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the third year of the President's tenure commences with the dawn of new era of development. He added that South Asia has become one of most vibrant economies in the world and steering towards development. He pointed out that Sri Lanka is also experiencing an expeditious development.
The Premier pointed out that the present administration has been able to ensure reconciliation and ethnic harmony and the political parties that had been fighting for more than five decades are now working collaboratively. He said the Sri Lankan identity can be strengthened by the collaborative efforts of different political parties.
The Prime Minister said those opposing foreign investment are not harming the President or the government but are only depriving the youth of this country of employment.
He pointed out that the people of the country are enjoying freedom. He noted that the government has allowed space to media to criticize the administration. The government wants to bring the deviance of development to the general public. But some quarters are trying to block the development march of the government. The Premier highlighted that it is necessary to change the attitudes. An array of new laws and regulations has been introduced targeting the next phase of development of the country.
An exhibition of newspaper cartoons depicting the Head of State was also declared open today by the President.