Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament today that the government will not sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India but will enter into an Economic/Technical pact with the neighboring country.
Delivering a statement in Parliament, he said that the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) has accused the government attempting to sign the CEPA with India under a different name.
They have also claimed that the agreement would provide unemployed Indian professionals with an opportunity to work in Sri Lanka and that this would result in Sri Lankans losing job opportunities, he said.
We condemn the Government Medical Officers’ Association, as a responsible trade organization, for misleading its members and the public by making such false and baseless statements, Wickremesinghe said.
He stated that the government has informed all relevant parties regarding the proposed Economic/Technical pact with India and that Minister Malik Samarawickrama has held discussion with trade unions regarding the matter.
The PM said that representatives of the GMOA who participated in those discussions expressed their gratitude to the government for acting so openly. However, they tell a different story to the media after exiting the discussion room, he charged.
They don’t say that representatives of trade organizations are included in the committee preparing the agreement and that the new pact is different to the CEPA, Wickremesinghe said.
He accused the GMOA of spouting lies instead of the truth after leaving the discussions.
The Prime Minister further said that after Maithripala Sirisena was named as the Common Candidate to defeat the Rajapaksa regime which was dragging the country to an abyss, various professionals staked not only their careers but also their lives when they joined the battle.
He said that a large number of doctors were also among them and that in addition to young doctors even experienced specialists supported them.
However, those holding high positions in the GMOA including Dr Anurudda Padeniya did not represent the January 08 revolution and instead fought to protect the Rajapaksa regime. “The entire country knows this,” he said.