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Dinesh says 2016 Budget is Part 2 of JR’s 1977 Budget

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 2 December 2015 00:43

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe moved the Second Reading Adjourned Debate on the eighth allotted day of the Appropriation Bill 2016 highlighting the importance of placing country before self and urging political parties to ‘join hands’ to bring Sri Lanka above the GDP Per Capita benchmark of a developed nation. 

In response, opposition lawmaker Dinesh Gunawardena said, “The Budget 2016 is the second step of what was presented in 1977. Then Prime Minister J.R. Jayawardena wanted robber barons to come to Sri Lanka, which led to many socio economic issues. Democracy failed. The Jaffna library was set on fire. So, you the followers of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s unique democracy shout supporting a Budget, which is incorrect. It is a budget that failed to offer benefits to the public. It creates issues in 2016 on the way forward to 2020.”

Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne joining the debate compared the debt and state income. “In 2012 national debt was 68.1% of the GDP. This was increased to 71% in 2014. On the other hand, state income which was 21.1% of the GDP in 1990 was further reduced to 11.6% in 2014. So, this is the economy we took over. Sri Lanka has the lowest tax income generator in the region. Maldives and Bangladesh is ahead of us in tax income. The real economic development was 3.5%. But 6.7% was shown to the public. Private sector investments stood at 22.4% at all times,” said Dr. Senaratne who urged the Minister of Finance to consider giving a rebate on the vehicle imports instead of a duty free permit. Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake agreed to provide a rebate of Rs. 1 million for vehicle imports.

Deputy Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Lasantha Alagiyawanna said: “This is a unique Budget brought by UNP and the SLFP. Many novelties are there. In the past, oppositions disapproved budgets while the party in power approved it. But in this budget, I should accept as a MP representing SLFP, many good things are there. However, controversies are there on EPF becoming independent, emission test and the fertiliser subsidy are few of them. We have discussed concerns with the President and were able to rectify the issues. Today, the Finance Minister has agreed to give a rebate of Rs.1 million for vehicle imports. We believe the Government can go forward with issues solved. Anyway, it is difficult to fulfill expectations of all. 

“Compared to 1981, Sri Lanka has developed. This is a fact we all have to accept. The country has moved forwards. We need national policies to take this country forward. We need to bring a system where change of Government will not impact the projects. Today we have the best political situation in the Parliament to formulate acceptable national policies,” he added.


Vasu goes berserk again in P’ment


By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Opposition lawmaker Vasudewa Nanayakkara took to task a local newspaper for listing his name along with MPs of the previous regime yet to handover their official quarters in a heated argument in the House. 

With opposition MPs making jest, MP Nanayakkara shouted back using inappropriate words, which would be expunged from the Hansard. MP Nanayakkara’s failure to vacate and handover the official residence 10 months after his Ministerial post ceased to exist, was brought to the attention of the Speaker. “As a Member of Parliament I am entitled to official housing. So, I have requested the Speaker’s Secretary to provide a new quarters enabling us to vacate the existing. Until today we haven’t received new quarters. We have brought this to the attention to the Secretary of Ministry of Public Administration. This issue should not be allowed to be a football played between the Speaker’s department and the Ministry of Public Administration. So, my name should not be in this list for not handing over official houses back. Please refer this to the privileges committee,” said Nanayakkara MP. According to Minister of Higher Education and Highways and the Leader of the House of Parliament Lakshman Kiriella, MPs housing is not a matter of privileges. “Your housing issue should be taken up with the Housing Committee,” advised Minister Kiriella. Defusing the tension between MP Nanayakkara and the Government members, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya stated: “I just allowed him to take up the newspaper article and the matter cannot be taken forward.”


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