The US President-elect’s 100 day plan includes several tough proposals on the lobbying industry. Which is -kind of- bad news for Sri Lanka.
In the plan, Trump notes that he will enforce a 5 year-ban on White House and Congressional officials becoming lobbyists after they leave government service. He has also called for a lifetime ban on White House officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government;
The President elect has also promised to establish a complete ban on foreign lobbyists raising money for American elections.
Tump’s executive actions on day one to “restore laws and bring back jobs.” include the following:
“I’m going to issue a notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country. Instead we will negotiate fair, bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”
“I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy, including shale energy and clean coal, creating many millions of high paying jobs. That’s what we want, that’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
“I will formulate a rule which says that for every one new regulation, two old regulations must be eliminated, so important.”
“I will ask the Department of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to develop a comprehensive plan to protect America’s vital infrastructure from cyber attacks and all other forms of attacks.”
“I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”
“As part of our plan to drain the swamp, we will impose a five year ban on executive officials becoming lobbyists after they leave the administration, and a lifetime ban on executive officials lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.”
“These are just a few of the steps we will take to reform Washington and rebuild our middle class” said Trump.
For years, Sri Lankan government have also taken steps to obtain the services of US lobbying firms and other consultancy groups.
According to a report on “The Sunday times” (30th of August 2015) that a sum of 6.5million US dollars was paid to an American firm on the 9th and 10th of September 2014 for lobbying purposes. The report says the money was released by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka based on the written request of then Monitoring MP Sajin De Vass Gunawardene.
“..Now at this juncture, why do you need this , now this is like what Sajin Vass Gunawardena is doing. What he did. and today before bribery, before FCID and all that. Then people were accusing in that government there was a Basil Rajapaksa and Sajin Vass who was doing it. But you have a Malik doing it now. This is the difference now,as people who voted for Good Governance we are ashamed the way things are happening in this present government..” said Azath Salley (Leader – National Unity Front)
On the 29th of June, The Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade signed an 18 month agreement with the American lobby firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg. The agreement was inked to educate officials on the peace process, increase economic ties and create market access for Sri Lankan goods and services.
The Sri Lankan government will be paying Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg a sum of $630,000 (US) for one and a half years for their services.