At an election rally in Akmeemana, UPFA presidential candidate Mahinda Rajapakse said he would set up 12 more investment zones and 50,000 persons would be appointed to well-paid positions next year under his youth empowerment foundation.
The Premier said his ambition was to build a stable rural economy. Therefore investment zones centered in the suburbs of the capital would be expanded and extended to the other parts of the country.
The Premier said there was an urgent need to build a nation capable of upholding the moral and ethical values of our 2500-year-old social and cultural heritage.
He accused the rulers who came into power in 1977 of cherishing western culture and having produced a set of people who refused to respect their elders including parents, teachers and the clergy.
Our youth should be social conscious to face the challenges of the 21st century he said and added that a nation not proficient in language, literature, history and culture was like a man without a back bone.
To protect the unborn child, the Premier pledged to provide all pregnant mothers with a bag of nutritious food. Saying he had heard of school children fainting in schools, the premier promised a free mid-day meal to school children as a means of overcoming the problem.
Referring to his programme to complete a super highway initiated by the UPFA government, the Premier said it would bring immense benefits to the south and pave the way for investors to move south from Katunayake easily. Saying his plans were not confined to developing only the south the Premier pledged to develop the roadway system throughout the country.
The UPFA government, the Premier said had provided employment opportunities for 42,000 graduates, 10,000 more will be appointed early. In addition 33,000 O/L and A/L qualified young men and women will be appointed to fill the vacancies in the public services. He called on all sections of the country to join hands overcome the economic crisis.
As the President of this country, the premier said he was duty bound to create a society where all members of society could live together in harmony. In doing so the country should be united. Separatism should be done away with he said and all the political parties should get together and commence face-to-face discussions with Prabakaran in a bid to put an end to conflicts.