The Sunday Leader

People Will Feel Budget Burden By January – Nalinda Jayatissa

By Camelia Nathaniel and Ashanthi Warunasuriya

The JVP has raised the strongest objection thus far, announcing the party will collectively vote against the 2016 budget. Speaking to The Sunday Leader JVP MP Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa said that the party has no faith in the present government and the proposed budget. While acknowledging some of the concessions brought in by the budget he said that this was not enough and the people will feel the weight of the burden of this budget only by January. According to Dr. Jayatissa the JVP had voted against the budget based on two reasons. One being that the basis of these budget proposals is the wrong policies which this budget is also based on, and the other being that the government had failed on the promises given to the people in both elections on January eighth and August, 27.

Following are excerpts of the interview:-

Q:  The JVP has voted against the budget. Don’t you see anything positive in the budget and what were the reasons your party voted against the budget?

A:  Well there may have been some concessions in the budget but what we must focus on is not whether the price of dhal or dry fish was reduced. Instead what we must focus on is what the direction of our economy is heading toward.

We are opposing this budget based on two main features. On November fifth in his mid term policy declaration the PM said that it was the same economic model that this government was adopting that was commenced by JR in 1978 and taken forward by Premadasa. Even in 1978 their goal was to eradicate poverty and create economic development without getting into debt to the world and promised to create a country for all to live happily.

But in 78 our debt was 51 billion but today our debts are at a staggering Rs.7960 billion. At the time each person was in debt of Rs3500 but today each citizen is in debt to a sum of Rs 350,000. The disparity between those who have and don’t have has widened even further and according to the government, 43% of the country’s population daily income is less than $2. In 78 the 20% of the country’s richest got 54% of the country’s wealth and even today it’s the same. In 78 we had a share of the world market of 0.5% but today it has dropped to 0.05%. Hence we think that this economic model is not capable of resolving the country’s economic challenges.

In the world index we are in fourth place when it comes to suicides. Unemployment is at 21% and malnutrition is at 235. Therefore policy wise we are against this economic model.

Secondly in both elections on January eighth and on August 27, the promises given by the President and this government have failed to materialise.  They have burdened the people with additional taxes, increased the emission testing charges creating much hardships. Further the increase in the tax on electric vehicles to Rs. 25 lakhs is highly unreasonable as they should be encouraging such environmentally friendly vehicles in the first place. Cutting the fertiliser subsidy of the farmers is again a terrible move that will definitely not help the farmers and even the stoppage of the school uniform material and opting instead for voucher system has complicated the entire process.

The promised increments for the private and state sector employees have also not materialised. Hence we see this budget as one that will cripple the entire economy of the country instead of uplifting it. By January the people will cave under the weight of the taxes and the economy will certainly collapse.  That is the main reason we are against it.


Q:  The JVP have always stood for the rights of the labour force and the trade unions. What is the present situation?

A:  In 2001 the UNP government brought about proposals to trim the state sector, through the Yali Pubudamu initiative. This budget has proposals that will deter people from wanting to join the state sector.

In response to this move by the government, we have decided to launch a week long protest from the seventh to the 12th and these will take place adjacent to the state institutions.


Q:  There is talk of a proposal to amalgamate all trade unions, is that true?

A: Yes all trade unions are planning on merging in order to fight this budget and defeat it and win the rights of the working class.


Q. Do you think that this government is worker friendly?

A:  No certainly not. The economic policies of this unity government itself are not favourable for the people as a whole. This government has been one that had broken the promises they made to the people in the shortest time. In other words they have failed the people quite early in their tenure.


Q. What do you think of the policies of this government?

A. Its 11 months since the President was appointed and four months since the government were elected. What we see is a struggle for power but we still don’t see the government making any effort to catch the rogues of the previous regime either as promised. The people have begun to see that they are all the same and this government too is not much different to the previous rulers.


Q. Some feel that the JVP has lost its fire like in the past and are watered down in standing up to this government.  Why?

A: its not so and we are opposing them on policy matters and in the future you will see how we resort to our trade union actions to oppose the government in favour of the people. We will continue our fight for the rights of the people.


Q:  What is the JVP’s stance regarding Kumar Gunaratnam and why wont you fight for his rights?

A: We still fight for those held for political reasons and those who have been treated unfairly by the government and Kumar Gunaratnam is no exception. Before fighting for a political cause or for someone, that person needs to show his honesty for the cause first. He came here during the previous regime and if he displays his political intentions honestly and openly, then yes we can stand up for him. Therefore let’s see what happens.


Q: There is speculation that within the JVP there are disputes. Is this so?

A:  As far as I know there is no such dispute within the JVP.


Q:  During the recent past Somawansa Amarasinghe mentioned something about a gang of four within the JVP. What is this all about?

A:  Well he must be referring to the few who are with him now. From the day this party commenced in 1965 many has left the party and we have chased off many. None of them left saying good about the party and this is not something new. All I can say is Somawansa’s fate won’t be any different to the fate of Kamal Karunadasa’s.


2 Comments for “People Will Feel Budget Burden By January – Nalinda Jayatissa”

  1. Definitely, going by the way the budget is adjusted or toyed with on a daily basis, knowing the weakness and the unimpacting personality of the PM whatever his reflections, coupled with the cunning of the Finance Minister,it will all end up as a fiasco, and the collapse of the economy and state. The few cronies and connected favourite few will loot the economy, anarchy the final outcome.

  2. open mind

    now we really understand JVP……. only for loud talk…..keep your mouth open ……ready to make big noise

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