I was a part of the struggle during ’87-’89. We should get together to build this country – Dhammika
Investment Promotion Minister Mr. Dhammika Perera emphasises that it is essential for all parties to leave their party differences and work together in order to recover the country from the current economic crisis.
Minister Dhammika Perera made this statement addressing a function held today (01) to extend the one-year visa period for owners, directors, and foreigners working in top management companies operating under the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka to five years.
The Minister said that until now, these foreigners who came to invest in Sri Lanka had to undergo medical examinations once a year to get these visas. He said that by removing the obstacles from today, an environment will be created where they can invest delightfully in Sri Lanka and also consider investments in Sri Lanka more positively.
He stressed the importance of this positive attitude in attracting investments to Sri Lanka and he said that two investors had submitted proposals to him regarding new projects and that he had informed them to come to discuss the same today.
Q. When you were getting prepared to come to Parliament, a group of protesters came and staged a protest in front of your house. And protest was held when you took over the ministry post. There were strong protests all over the country. Will a day come when these protesters will applaud you?
“I was one of those who waged the same struggle from 1987 to ’89. So for me this makes no difference. So as people who have been there, I think of these people like my children. If it happened in my past, I would have done the same thing.”
Q: During those protests it was said that this path would be a failure. Is it possible to change that opinion?
“At the age of 22-23 we too were in such a pressure. We used to look at photos in those days to see what is happening in the country, but today those youngsters can see that in videos. But they are still children. I have children of the same age. So because of that I know how they think. They think that is a system change. But the adults need to know what is system change. Even now, if those under the investment board had a one-year visa in the traditional way, this kind of program would not be done. I haven’t officially taken over yet. But when I do, I try to solve the problems of all the people and make everyone happy. Because if we don’t make someone happy, no one will make us happy.”
“Even when you are in the petrol queue, you can see that some people telling others not to send money here from foreign countries. You may have heard such telephone calls when you were in the queue. But that would make these queues even longer. This country should unite to bring foreign remittance. But if we hold our money in other countries and end the brand of our country without letting tourists come, we will have to face the disadvantage of it ourselves. We have to get out of this dire situation together.”