Oct 19, Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe today stressed that slogans cannot lift Sri Lanka as the center of Indian Ocean through the export economy while facing the trends of the new world and said the full participation of the younger generation is required when making tough and difficult decisions needed for the process.
He emphasized that It is the responsibility of the younger generation to contribute to the decision making process and to give their leadership and knowledge for the country’s development.
Addressing the National Convention of the United Nations Model Youth Organization as the Chief Guest at the Hilton Hotel in Colombo Saturday morning, Mr. Wickremesinghe said youth participation in policy making should be taken to the grassroots level.
The Prime Minister said steps would be taken to set up youth summits at the electorate level to discuss problems in the villages and Rs. 10 million per year will be allocated to each summit to resolve the issues at the village level.
Speaking further Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, Sri Lanka has now become a high middle class economy and 13 years of schooling has been made compulsory.
"We have been focusing on improving and modernizing higher education, technical education and vocational education. As the economy improves, low-income jobs may not be possible. As salaries increase, knowledge should increase relatively. To increase knowledge, we need to move towards a more developed economy. I am confident that Bangladesh and Myanmar will follow the plans we have implemented today over the next five years. We can't compete with them. So we have to move to a new world of competition."
He said the government has initiated many programs including the development of economic infrastructure in Kandy, Colombo and Hambantota in order to move towards a competitive new world.
"However, it takes youth leadership and knowledge to do all these things. We must give leadership to this. Many do not direct themselves to national leadership. Therefore, a maximum of two youths are elected to parliament," he said.
The Premier noted that there are many youth organizations at the village level. "As the work of those organizations is not adequate, we hope to create a conference where young people of the electorate level will come together. These youth conventions will bring together young people."
"Since these youth organizations at the village level face financial difficulties when implementing projects at rural level, we intend to provide a sum of Rs. 10 million to each conference. We will continue to increase that amount, depending on the success of each of these conferences," the Premier added.
Former President and Director General of the National Youth Services Council Attorney-at-law Eranda Weliange, Former President of the United Nations Model Youth Organization Imtiaz Bakeer Marker, Country Director of Search for Common Ground, Nawaz Mohammed, and members of the United Nations Model Youth Organization were among the large gathering present at the occasion.