The Sunday Leader

Relief Measures To Be Continued After Elections

By Waruni Karunarathne

The 100 day programme of the government led by the United National Party (UNP) provided a list of relief measures in its interim budget. Despite many questions being posed on its sustenance, the relief provided to the people is expected to play a decisive role at the elections on August 17.

When inquired as to whether a UNP government will be able to continue providing these relief in the future, Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake said that most definitely they will continue the relief measures and benefits given to the people when the UNP government comes back to power after the forthcoming General Election.

He reiterated that the interim budget was not an ad hoc measure but was a well-planned mission to give relief to the people to bring down the cost of living.

“We have managed to give all these benefits with the reduction of unnecessary costs of the previous government and eradication of corruption – and refocusing on people’s needs and prioritising those requirements of the people. We ensured that unnecessary costs such as Dayata Kirula and those unwanted development projects like floating markets introduced by Gotabaya Rajapaksa were stopped. Those are not required for the country. We also stopped Rs. 3 to 4 billion of unnecessary expenditures to maintain Ministers’ houses and house holdings,” he explained as to how the UNP managed to give necessary reliefs to people.

 

Cost of living reduced

Karunanayake went on to say that salaries of the public sector workers have been increased,  cost of living has been reduced, prices of most essential goods were reduced, pension anomalies were settled and Mahapola and Samurdhi benefits were given to the people etc.  He assured that they will continue to take these measures in the future. Meanwhile, he scorned at those who are criticising such measures taken by the government and said that they are irresponsible.

For the last 11 years during the previous government they have been totally silent and did not express their opinion out of fear for the previous regime.

“Now that they have the freedom of commenting, they are taking the maximum use out of it. It is okay to criticise but they have been silent all these years. Unlike Mahinda Rajapaksa, we have delivered what we promised to deliver within the 100 days. It is the performance vs rhetoric. We show our credibility in action without whimsical stories,” Karunanayake observed.

In the interim budget, promises were made to increase the Mahapola scholarship up to Rs. 5000, reduce marriage registration fee to Rs. 1000 from Rs. 5000, reduce cement prices to by Rs. 99, 12.5kg gas cylinder  was reduced to  Rs. 1596 (Rs. 300 reduction). Among essential goods the budget focused on reduction of several essential goods such as sugar, milk powder, Wheat Flour, bread, green grams, sprats, canned fish, coriander, black gram, maldive fish, turmeric, chilli powder and kerosene. While many relief measures were appreciated by the people, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna said that those measures were a form of deception. Speaking to The Sunday Leader, former JVP MP Sunil Handunneththi said that if the SLFP or the UNP had a proper vision to uplift the country’s economy during the last 67 years, the people of this country would not have been poverty-stricken.

“Last six months, they had a coalition government but the UNP alone governed the country for 34 years – if the UNP government took right measures to improve the economy of this country and had a clear vision, people of this country would not have been poverty-stricken,” he pointed out.

He added that at present, the country has an outstanding debts exceeding Rs. 7,400,000 millions and each person of this country has a debt of about Rs. 390,000.

He further went onto say that 20% of the top level people in the social hierarchy enjoy 55.1% of the national income whereas 20% of people in the lowest level share only 3.6% of the national income – which is an indication of the disparity in the economy.

2 Comments for “Relief Measures To Be Continued After Elections”

  1. The reflection by the JVP is perfectly correct. As they have decided to shed the violent approach to achieve their political goal, they should be elected with more seats and should be given ministerial appointments. So should candidates from certain other parties who are trustworthy and can take on a responsibility confidently. The country should be returned to a state of sanity and not the poltical and financial mayhem we experience in the last many years.

  2. Boohoo

    UNP calling the bluff over and over again BS: Bull Shit!!

    Lankas owe their external creditors: US $ 6.6 billion approx against the Rs figures.
    Gas will be going down further to $35-40 brent crude per barrel.

    Lankas owe themselves is the internal banksters fiasco at central bank.

    All money is surreal.
    Don’t mess about as to how the citizen is going to fund the 20% haves. to maintain their 60% lot of the wealth.

    Exports in Sri Lanka increased to 882.50 USD Million in May from 707.50 USD Million in April of 2015. Exports in Sri Lanka averaged 684.08 USD Million from 2003 until 2015, reaching an all time high of 1069.90 USD Million in March of 2014 and a record low of 304.80 USD Million in April of 2003. Exports in Sri Lanka is reported by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

    Shows UNP faired very bad from Jan 15th (did a currency swap $1.5 for SL rupees to pay off the election cost in part ) while Passa has done it well and should be commended as he ran the finance sector.

    A spade is a spade irrespective of colour of satakya.

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