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Sunday, 1 February 2015

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Income re-distributed among people Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

A cross section of the Government and Opposition Parliamentarians interviewed by the Sunday Observer described the interim Budget presented by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake as people- friendly and easing the burden of the high cost of living with concessions on a number of essential food items.

Deputy Economic Development and Policy Implementation Minister Dr. Harsha de Silva:

This is the best budget presented after a long time. The significance is that we gave to the people everything that we promised in our 100-Day Program. We have reduced the prices of essential food items and increased the salaries of the public sector employees. What more do the people want? We have also asked the private sector to help the national program by increasing the salaries by at least Rs. 2,500.

This is a great budget and we hope to score a massive victory at the next election. This is our own budget and we have our development plans. We will implement our medium and long-term plans.

UPFA General Secretary MP Susil Premajayantha

The interim budget is ideal for hundred days. But when compared both long term economic development and capital investment, the recurrent expenditure is higher than the capital expenditure. The question is how this trend will continue in this manner. If this trend continues, the Government will have to definitely increase its revenue through various avenues. A barrel of oil which was US$ 110 in the World Market was drastically dropped to below US$ 50 during the past three months. Therefore, whatever Government in power can give this fuel concession to the people today.

The previous budget had allocated lot of money for capital investment such as Deyata Kirula and other development projects. When such expenditure is pruned, lot of money can be saved. If the money for capital investment is saved, it can be used for recurrent expenditure which would not generate any income.

 

Social Service and Social Welfare Minister P. Harrison

People could realise the Government has curtailed the huge funds allocated for the Financial Head of the former President and distribute it among the people. This is the first time that this type of thing happened in our country. The former President has spent over Rs. 25 million per day. At present all those Financial Heads have been curtailed and distributed among over 20 million people in this country.

Only Rs. 6,000 was spent for the swearing-in ceremony of President Maithripala Sirisena. But millions of rupees were spent on various ceremonies and functions of the former President. This budget has stopped all those unnecessary expenditure and the money has been given to the people. This is only the beginning. This budget would give more concessions to the people in the near future. Therefore, the Government will not confine it to 100 days. I have no doubt that the people would try to keep this Government in power.

Deputy Road and Investment Development Minister Eran Wickramaratne

This was the maiden budget presented by the President Maithripala Sirisena Government. As promised in the 100-Day Program, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented these proposals in the Parliament.

The 100-Day program is centered around the ordinary masses. We hope to formulate an economic strategy to cater to 99 percent people in the country - not one percent. As we pledged, the salaries of public sector employees were increased by Rs. 5000 from next month.

Not only that, we also call upon the private sector to increase the salaries of their employees at least by Rs. 2500. Now the time has come to distribute the profits earned by the Government among the people. This is our economic vision. We also brought down the fuel prices two weeks ago. In addition, the budget further reduced the price of a litre of kerosene oil by another Rs. 6. The prices of gas was also brought down by Rs. 300. As promised, the Government also reduced the prices of 13 essential food items. Sometimes the people may wonder how we are going to fill this budgetary gap. Actually the Government can fill this gap. Our President is a perfect example of that. The President's Financial Head was reduced from Rs. 9 billion to Rs. 2.5 billion. Over thousands of vehicles have been used by the former President. All these vehicles will be sold by public auction. The Government has also taken a decision not to allow any politician or Government official to import a new vehicle this year. Therefore, the budget has given every possible relief to the people by checking fraud and corruption.

Health and Indigenous Medicine Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne

This budget is a people friendly budget. I think this budget has given the most relief measures after independence. All these relief measures were given as promised in our 100-Day Program. This budget has not imposed any taxes on the people. We have taxed only from the compradore capitalist class. It is a clear indication that this is a very progressive and people friendly budget. My old Leftist friends, always advocated that they didn't join us because our economic policies would be liberal.

Now they know the liberal policies are with whom. Actually it was with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Rajapaksa clan and not with us. So I call upon them to join hands with us in this progressive event. We will always hold in esteem the people who brought us to power, because we had only the people's power. Millions of innocent people brought us to power. We will be guided by them and we will implement all those promises that we gave them during the election period.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake

People had high expectations whether we would walk the talk. Today the opportunity has been given to us and we were able to redistribute the income generation back to 80 to 85 percent of the people without putting any burden on the poor.

My only concern was that the economy is far greater shamble than what we thought.

But only good thing is that it can be resurrected and we can make that difference. I call upon the people to accept this as a golden opportunity to move forward.

Asia is moving and the Sri Lanka is struck in the market. Now is the time for us to work together and gather the strength of the Asians and industries of Sri Lanka to put together and make Sri Lanka move forward.

 

 

MEP Leader MP Dinesh Gunawardena

The budget has given some concessions on essential food commodities. But the rest of the project is adding only little features to the budget. The former President enjoyed many portfolios and functions. The incumbent President doesn't enjoy even one fourth of what the former President's office had.

 

 

 

UPFA Matara District Parliamentarian Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena

We have been producing black gram and we are self-sufficient in them. Now the Government has proposed to reduce the import duty and the prices which means the farmers will not go for black gram cultivation.

The green gram is also faced the same rate. We have produced whatever we wanted in our country itself during the last two harvesting seasons. Now the Government is getting ready to reduce the import duty and the price.

They are also going to reduce the price of milk foods. At the same time, they have increased the price of milk by Rs. 10.

 

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