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Sunday, 25 October 2015

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Dear reader, the Sunday Observer welcomes your letters. Letters should be brief, legible and contain the name, address and contact number of the writer. Mail your letters to: 'Letters', The Sunday Observer, 35, D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10. Email: [email protected]

Handwritten copies should be duly signed.

Suggestions for the forthcoming budget

The electricity and water bills are a burden to the poor and middle class households. Some have overcome the problem by partitioning their houses and getting extra meters fixed. But this is not something everybody can do because many hurdles are encountered. A relief to the consumers can be brought about if the jumps in the billing systems are removed. I suggest a model such as this, for the electricity bill. Let the fixed charge be Rs. 100/= charge Rs. 10/= per unit for the first 10 units. Increase the rate by Rs. 1/= for intervals of 10 units. A similar pattern can be followed for the water bill too. Reduction of unproductive connections for the water bill, electricity bill and LECO will come as a by product.

Liquor is one of the most highly taxed items. If the tax on both local and foreign liquor is halved it will have some effect, as there is a limit to liquor consumption. The money thus saved will go to the family budget resulting in better food and clothing for the family. It will attract consumers of illicit brew to less harmful liquor and contribute to State revenue. Parallel to this excise duty on ethanol has to be increased and the flow of duty free liquor into the country must be stopped.

It is said that banks write off bad debts and the law prohibits the publication of the names of defaulters. It is fair for the government to impose a penalty on the banks in proportionate to the amount written off.

At present some public servants are entitled to car permits. Some of them buy the vehicles, while others sell them. Certainly those hardwarking public servants deserve to be rewarded but it is more ethical if they are given a bonus or an allowance instead of car permits. Let every citizen in this country pay the same price for a vehicle. Taxes should be based on the landing value of the vehicle rather than other criteria.

If a trader makes a 100% profit or anything close to that we brand it as blackmarketing. Drawing a parallel, we can say it is good governance if the tax limit is kept below 100% and for for food and medicine it should be 0%.

I am an aging pensioner. At last the long-awaited revision came. But we are not happy about the withdrawal of the Rs. 3,500/=allowance. We hope that it will be restored soon.

Among the aged there are many whose only source of income is the interest on investment. Compromising between the manifestos of two leading parties on senior citizensí FDs will be beneficial to them. In addition to the prevailing Rs. 1 m at 15%, I suggest another 0.5 m at 12% for over 60, 1.0 m at 12% for the over 65s and 1.5 m at 12% for the over 70s will be most welcome.

S.G. Dharmasena
Nugegoda.


Bouquet for Director General Bribery Commission

Three senior officers of the Customs Department were nabbed by the Bribery Commission while taking a bribe of Rs 125Million. The public is well aware that the Customs Department is one of the most corrupt government organizations in the country but no tangible action either to eradicate or control corruption has taken place.

The money that was about to exchange hands was colossal and should have really gone into the development of the country. This is just one Government Department that is in the public eye. There are many other State Departments that are corrupt. All these organizations must be closely monitored and corrupt officials should be brought to book.

Meanwhile, there are some in the State sector and private sector who are dedicated and work honestly but are not monetarily rewarded. Their honesty and dedication goes unnoticed and are paid measly salaries.

But this dedication is of no use because of rampant corruption in the country.

We thank the Director General of the Bribery Commission, Ms Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe for her attempts to eradicate corruption in the country. This is a bouquet from the peace loving people of this country.

D. Weeratunga
Chartered engineer
Nugegoda

 

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