JVP accuses UNP, SLFP of staging joint robberies

By Saman Indrajith

The SLFP and UNP are enacting the drama of the blind and the lame beggars’ story  as it was made amply visible from the budget 2017, the JVP said yesterday.

JVP Kalutara District MP Dr Nalinda Jayatissa participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2017 said: Till 2015 we used to see two beggars living on whatever they obtained from people. In August 2015 the two beggars one blind the other lame teamed up and since then they work together to get money from the people and thereafter divide between themselves what they earn. The blind-lame company helped the two beggars survive on others’ money. The same could be said of the UNP and SLFP today.

"Since 1977 the UNP privatised public ventures, pruned down welfare measures and promoted the exploiting of people. After she came to power 1994 Chandrika’s government while blaming the open economic policies of the UNP government engaged in continuing those very same policies. It is Chandrika’s government which privatised the highest number of public institutions. She broke the record of 17 year UNP regime in privatising state ventures. She came first in pruning down welfare measures too", he said.

Dr Jayatissa said that the government should take action to display a cost sheet in each Ministry for people to get an understanding on how tax payers’ money was being spent.

He said the budget proposals suggest that cost sheets be given to patients and university students indicating how much those services spend on each student and patient. "Not only that the government should take action to display cost sheets at each ministry indicating the rent on ministry buildings, maintenance of Ministry offices and various expenses on Ministers, their expenses on travelling etc for the information of the general public. 

He said the Budget speech was a clear reflection of the Government’s privatization policy. 

The ‘Budget 2017’ was to satisfy the IMF conditions with no concern for the general public.

"The IMF had four main conditions: to increase the state income, to reduce the state expenditure, to reduce the Budget deficit to 3 percent of the GDP and to relax the exchange control laws. The Government expects to increase its income by imposing taxes and selling off state institutions. The Government expects to increase state revenue by Rs 440 billion from Rs 1658 billion in 2016 to 2098 billion in 2017. Out of this amount Rs 389 billion is to be found by imposing taxes. From that amount only Rs 99 billion amounts to direct taxes while the balance Rs 290 billion is from indirect taxes. This is contradictory to the Government’s policy of reducing the indirect taxes and increasing the direct taxes," he said.

Dr Jayatissa pointed out that unlike many Budgets in post independent Sri Lanka, both SLFP and UNP equally shouldered the responsibility of this Budget. "Both parties gave consent to the Budget at the Cabinet prior to its presentation. They cannot come out and criticise its proposals now. This helped to expose that the two major parties more or less have the same policies on the economy despite their claims to being otherwise," he said. 

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