SF wants his pension used for settling govt. debts - Ketagoda

By Saman Indrajith

DNA MP Jayantha Ketagoda, who is the sole representative of General Sarath Fonseka’s party in Parliament, yesterday described the Budget 2013 as one big show which would not ease the economic hardships and burdens of common people.

"This is a ‘natapu netumakuth ne, bere paluwakuth ne’ (there has been no dance but half of the drum is torn) type budget," Ketagoda said, participating in the Second Reading debate on Budget 2013.

He said that according to the summary of the budget, the total revenue of the government in 2013 would be around Rs 1,257.9 billion while total expenditure stands at Rs 1,808.7 billion. At a glance the there was a deficit of Rs. 550 billion. The budget proposals planned to cover the deficit through new taxes and loans from local and foreign sources.

"But, the truth is that the real deficit is much bigger than what these figures simply show. The installments to be paid for the loans we have already taken have not been included in these figures of the summary of budget. That is why the Appropriation Bill envisages raising an additional Rs. 1,300 billion for the next year. This shows that though the figures show only a 550-billion-rupee budget deficit the actual one is more than twice that amount," the MP said.

Ketagoda said that the government was struggling to settle bills so hard that General Fonseka had wanted it announced in the House that his pension, which had been forfeited, could be used to cover some of the government expenses. They, the DNA considered that pension as Fonseka’s mere contribution to government coffers, which had been fleeced by the government for extravagance and tamashas.

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