Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)
“|However, if they are going to compete with local businesses then that could be a problem but I do not believe that is happening,” he added.
Weerasinghe made the comments following a presentation delivered by him on the CBSL’s Roadmap 2014 organized by the Organization of Professional Associations (OPA) recently.
Weerasinghe’s denial of competition between civilian and military-run business stand in contradiction with statements made by prominent human rights lawyer and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian, M.A Sumanthiran in November last year.
“What is most disturbing is the fact that the figures (on Northern Province economic growth) have taken into account salaries that are paid to soldiers stationed in the North. That can hardly be counted into economic growth of the Northern Province.
“The economic activity the soldiers are indulging in such as cultivating paddy and selling it for a lower price than the farmers in the Jaffna peninsula; they run luxury hotels, all those figures are considered to contribute to the economic activity of the Northern province.
If people there are to recover, get back on their feet, you can’t force these false figures and claim that there is a recovery.” Sumanthiran stated.
Nevertheless, the role of Sri Lanka’s military in post-war development has been lauded by many government officials including the Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. Sarath Amunugama who in a post-Budget 2014 forum highlighted the unique skill sets available to the military which could be used to promote national interests while warning that a failure to properly manage the island’s military in a post-war environment would lead to a rise in crime and other dire consequences.