Opinion

‘Robin hood’ or ‘coming good’ budget

The finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and the Government should be congratulated for presenting a Nationally Friendly Budget with the National Economy and National interests at heart and going down to the Grass Rots levels. This Budget is for the People, of the People and by the People and to exclusively for a few Vested Interests and ‘Coming Colour’ for the People is good if there is cooperation all round.

The budget proposals have been applauded by all sections of the community. It is heartening to note that the Government has now accepted this concept of "Colombata Kiri" and "Gamata Kakiri" to be reversed to "Ratatama Kiri" (Including North and East) The proof of the pudding is in the eating and the entire success of the budget proposals would depend on its efficient implementation.

A transparent national economic action plan devoid of politics should be formulated immediately and thus ensure that there is a better equitable distribution of wealth the root cause of all the problems in the country is the economic weakness (especially the majority community middle class) and if there is equitable economic development and prosperity then inevitably peace would follow This is what the LTTE is also complaining that the Governments in the past have not taken any action for the economic development at the grass root level. With this budget it is hoped that the first step is taken for the development of the entire country and the "Rata Perata" slogan should be changed to "Rata Perata, Eka Rataka".

The Government has been accused of a NATO (No Action talk only) and this should now be changed to (now action talk over) For this purpose there must be a honest, disciplined and dedicated firm leadership leading from the front by example. This should not be limited to Slogans and Banners Etc., but an immediate Action Plan beginning with Transparent sacrifices from our Leaders downwards should be initiated. If our rulers set the trend of honest hard work with increased productivity and cost savings etc., then this question of 9 hours work would not arise and opportunities politicians would have nothing to shout about and we could also easily safeguard our remaining valuable national assets without resorting to Privatisation and the government dancing to the tune of the vested interests who are not concerned with national interests.

During the economic crisis in the East Asian countries, the people cooperated with their governments and even went to the extent of donating their gold and jewellery. For this our government should also build up credibility and confidence with a sense of patriotism from the Grass Roots level right up to the highest echelons of society including our Sri Lankan expatriates. The Captains and Vice (No pun Intended) Captains of Business, Professionals, Trade unions, traders, and all the people should rally round the government (Devoid of politics) to pull the country out of the present economic mess. The rallying cry should be win the economic war for a peaceful Lanka.

The mindset of the people should also be changed if these budget proposals are to be successfully implemented. When our leaders and their kith and kin and friends enjoy all sorts of luxuries and privileges free of taxes and the parliamentarians being entitled to a pension after a stint of mere 5 years, would anyone in his right senses expect most of the people to pay their taxes properly. Hence the sacrifice must start from the very top with an automatic trickle down effect. Otherwise, the budget is also going to be doomed and the "Sandanaya" would very soons become "Avadanaya". our leaders hope you all are not deaf and blind and better be dumb at times and hope you are listening to these unheard voices from the wilderness when our country is at the brink of being economically taken over by vested interests through privatisation and various other devious means.

It is always the genuine tax payers who are always harassed and the department allows the crooks to go scot free. There are thousands of tax evaders who should be roped in with Friendly persuasion or unfriendly persuasion. If the Government has any problems of tax collections, should consult the LTTE for expert advice, since the very people who are evading government taxes and criticizing the Government, are happily paying taxes to the LTTE. The recent alleged grand of billions in Vat refunds is a classic example of rampant bribery and corruption and there are many alleged malpractices in the Customs Department as well. The Government should immediately clean up these departments. The government should introduce legislation to declare that at least certain economic offences as criminal offences. In USA the non-payment of Federal Taxes is a criminal offence.

Our leaders should set an example on discipline on all spheres of Activities and there should be absolutely no unnecessary political interference on economic development activities. The trend should be on discipline, dedication and development of the economy. Our leaders should also set the trend on simple, sincere and sensible life styles and thus cutting down government expenditure and setting the trend for the people to follow for rapid economic development.

This is a Tall order for or amiable Finance Minister and let us all rally round the Government ungrudgingly and if the Government succeeds in its efforts in poverty alleviation and economic development of the whole country with the safeguarding of all the remaining national assets of this country, I am sure our Finance Minister would go down in history as Sara(th)(diel) Amunugama of Udarata Kanda who saved this country from economic strangulation by anti-national vested interests. Last but not the least, it must be mentioned about the grass-roots works commenced by the JVP and we sincerely hope that all unite and work for the sake of our beloved mother Lanka.

— Shanthi de Zoysa,
Colombo.

 

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