President Advises Youth of Batticaloa: “Never Run Away from Challenges”

  •  President Engages with Batticaloa Business Community.

President Calls on Businessmen to Join Eastern Province Development Program for Next Five years.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe advised the future generation to prioritize obtaining a good education, respecting principles and not fearing challenges.

The President shared this advice in response to a question from a youth at the Batticaloa District Youth Representative meeting, drawing on his own experiences, drawing on his own experiences as a successful leader and skilled politician. The meeting, chaired by President Wickremesinghe, held yesterday (22) at the Golden River Hotel, Batticaloa.

A significant turnout of youth from Batticaloa district graced the meeting, where the President took proactive steps to address their queries directly. In a lively exchange, President Wickremesinghe engaged with their concerns and ensured all questions were answered satisfactorily.
Adding a personal touch, the President posed for selfies with the enthusiastic youth participants, fostering a memorable interaction that underscored his commitment to engaging with and empowering the youth of Sri Lanka.

Below are some of the questions raised by the youth and the answers provided by the President:

Mr. President, you took responsibility for the country when it was in a state of crisis. How did you overcome that challenge, and will future generations have the opportunity to study at schools like the Royal College?

When everyone else shied away from the challenge, I took on the responsibility. If you have confidence in yourself, you should not be afraid of challenges. Running shoes are worn to run, not to run in fear of problems.

I believed that I could save the country from this challenge. If I had not taken over the country, I would like to ask what would be the state of the country today. Then we wouldn’t have the chance to sit and discuss like this. People across the country would not have the opportunity to travel Anuradhapura for Poson festival celebrations. Don’t be afraid of challenges. And don’t lie. Like the Royal College in Colombo, many other schools will get similar facilities in the future. The government can provide education. But the backbone cannot be given. It must be within oneself.

Our country has plenty of resources, but we import many things, including food from abroad. How can this situation be changed if we develop our industries further?

Said your favorite singer is Yuvan Shankar Raja. So we import songs too, right? I agree that we need to develop our industries in the face of the open world. But we did not export what was produced using the resources of our country. Therefore, we have a lack in foreign exchange.

We need foreign exchange to buy things like fuel. So we had to take loans. So we could not pay the loan we got. That’s what happened to us.

So far, we have not focused on increasing our export income. Therefore, we should focus more on exports using our resources.

One of our resources is our skilled workforce. The other is the tourism industry. In Batticaloa alone, we can easily have about a hundred hotels for tourists. Also, by modernizing agriculture, we should move towards modern agriculture. Only then can we increase our foreign exchange.

Even if we work to save the country from bankruptcy, if we do not move towards an export economy, you will have to face the same problem again in the next 15-20 years. The only way for us is to develop our industries including agriculture, tourism and move towards an export economy. We are bringing the Economic Transformation Bill to transform from an import dependent economy to an export oriented economy.

You are a very successful leader of our country and a skilled politician. Based on your experience, what advice would you give for the success of the next generation?

Study well. Be intelligent. Stick hard to your principles. And never be frightened.

Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman, State Ministers S. Viyalendran, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka, Secretary for Eastern Provincial Education H. E. M. W. G. Dissanayake, Director for Provincial Education Sujatha Kulendrakumar were also present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, President Wickremesinghe engaged in a meeting with the business community in Batticaloa district yesterday (22).
The President briefed the business community on the government’s ambitious development agenda for the Eastern Province, focusing on bolstering tourism, industry, and agriculture. He detailed efforts underway to transform Trincomalee into a key energy hub through collaboration with the Government of India.

Highlighting the strategic importance of the Eastern province, the President affirmed its central role in the country’s transition to an export-driven economy. President Wickremesinghe called upon the business community to actively engage in and support the comprehensive development plans set to unfold over the next five years in the Eastern Province.
Addressing the gathering the President elaborated:

In the development of the country, there is significant potential for growth in the Eastern Province. We have partnered to enhance the Trincomalee port and establish new investment zones with India and other foreign countries. Additionally, plans are underway to build a new oil refinery in Trincomalee, with the goal of transforming it into an energy hub. Several solar power and wind energy projects are also slated for implementation. Furthermore, we are aiming to develop the province into a tourist destination.

Programs are being formulated to develop the Mahaweli B region through agricultural modernization, aimed at boosting agricultural production in the province. Simultaneously, initiatives are underway to foster the growth of small and medium-scale enterprises, providing opportunities for new businesses to thrive. These efforts are pivotal in positioning the Eastern Province as a cornerstone in the country’s transition to an export-oriented economy. Therefore, I extend an invitation to all of us to commit ourselves to effecting significant change in this province over the next five years.

Governor of the Eastern Province Senthil Thondaman, State Ministers S. Viyalendran, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, Senior Advisor to the President on National Security and Chief of Presidential Staff Sagala Ratnayaka were also present on the occasion.