“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy” says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage


BY Buwanajee Coralage

In Sri Lanka, all fruitful initiatives for national growth have always been blocked by antiquated cultural arguments, claimed State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage while addressing Parliament yesterday (21).

“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy. Trapped within a framework limiting the scope for growth and reasoning such with ethics, but all the while conducting unethical activities behind a veil, this country’s growth has been limited due to this mindset. An attitudinal change within the leaders and the people is directly needed in this country and till this change is made, this country’s growth will be stagnant,” she said.

She also highlighted the issue of increasing taxes in the country, emphasising the need for the taxation of activities in the country while mentioning that it need not be exerted on the impoverished population, but rather on the giant conglomerates and rich community who have figured out loopholes to avoid taxation. She stated that attention needs to be given to properly regulating taxation.
Speaking further, she condemned the present Parliament as well as its predecessors for accepting the practice of sending the women of the country as housemaids to the Middle East and elsewhere as a method to bring in foreign exchange to the country.

She stated that this being one of the lowest forms of employment in the world, Sri Lanka still promotes women to go abroad as domestic helpers, and housemaids, only for them to be ill-treated and sexually assaulted in many cases, and that therefore, Parliament should be ashamed of this being still in place as a method for foreign exchange acquisition. She mentioned that rather than sending these females abroad as housemaids, the Government should focus on sending a skilled female workforce abroad.

Extracting from a statement she had made earlier, Gamage also mentioned how hemp plantation should be rejuvenated in the country, pointing to its medicinal and therapeutic value which can be used to bring in foreign currency to the country by developing an export industry based on hemp production, adding that hemp is not only used as a drug, but that it has many other uses too.

Moreover, she emphasised that liquor stores need to be kept open further into the night to prevent the illegal sale of alcohol after the mandatory closure of stores, which limits the tax income of the Government. By extending the closing time of these shops, sales made into the night will also occur in a much more regulated and accountable manner, she said.

Courtesy:the Morning