Opening the Budget Debate for the TNA in Parliament yesterday, TNA Group Leader R. Sampanthan said he wished to protest against the policy of the government that pursued the war but did not seek to find a solution to problems of the Tamil people.
The continued attacks by air and ground by the armed forces was not only against the LTTE but were killing, injuring and displacing the Tamil people. The government seemed to be engaged in the war against Tamil people but that war could not be won," he said.
Minister of Education Susil Premajayantha said the government did not start the war but the LTTE. When President Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power three years ago, he invited the LTTE for peace talks but the LTTE started attacks on the armed forces, attempted to kill the Army Commander and the Defence Secretary. The LTTE closed the Mavil Aru canal depriving thousands of farmers of water. As a responsible government, it could not ignore that inhuman act and President Mahinda Rajapaksa had to direct the armed forces to attack the LTTE.
The UNP had presented an expenditure estimate calling it an alternative Budget. The author of the UNP expenditure estimate was not a person who had experience in preparing the budget of even a local body. The Budget Debate was the opportunity for the Opposition to criticize the government on each item in it but the UNP was presenting what they thought was a Budget, he said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's Budget was presented in the background of a world economic recession and the advocates of unbridled capital and market forces, in the west as well as the UNP had been proved wrong. It was because the President had taken steps to give the fertilizer subsidy to the farmers that our country was able to increase food production to avert a food and economic crisis. Today, Western leaders are expressing their disagreement with the free market economy and beginning to agree that government intervention in national economies was necessary to avoid economic recession. The present Budget had been presented on that principle and seeks to develop indigenous enterprises and increase food production, Premajayantha said.
Lakshman Seneviratne, UNP Badulla District said the Budget had no proposals to reduce the huge foreign debt of the government. The war against the LTTE terrorists should be escalated as they were a group of terrorists who had attacked and killed a large number of innocent civilians. They were a group that could not be trusted and had to be defeated militarily. That was the view of the UNP, he said.