Budget 2017 will further strengthen the country’s development march, thereby fulfilling the aspirations of the people, according to Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake.
Some proposals, which will expand development to all economic sectors of the island, will also be included in the Budget, the Minister pointed out.
He added that Budget 2017 would bring hope to every citizen as it was going to be prepared after considering the people’s views unlike with previous Budgets which were prepared by the elite in Colombo.
Karunanayake shared these views with the media on 24 September after a tour of Trincomalee. The minister visited the area in order to gather the views of farmers, fishermen and the local business community to include them in Budget 2017.
Prior to his tour of the area, Minister Karunanayake visited the Sri Bodhirajaramaya in China Bay, Trincomalee and paid a courtesy call to the incumbent monk Venerable Dehi Ovita Piyatissa Thera before later engaging in religious rites. Thereafter, he visited the Koneswaram Hindu temple where he once again partook in religious rites.
Later he participated in a meeting with farmers, fishermen and businessmen from the area at the Trincomalee District Secretariat.
During the meeting the participants presented several of their problems to the minister. Among them were the lack of labour for paddy cultivation, the high prices of agricultural implements and machinery and the difficulty of selling the paddy harvest. At the same time, fishermen who spoke about foreign fishermen poaching in local waters said that there needed to be a permanent solution to this encroachment. They also complained that such poachers were using illegal methods of fishing.
Several local entrepreneurs from small, medium and large businesses, including those involved in tourism, also participated in the meeting and presented their problems to the minister.
It was also revealed at the meeting that state lands had been haphazardly offered to the private sector. It was learnt that such lands were given solely through political influence. Responding to the complaints, Minister Karunanayake said that steps would be taken to take over such lands immediately.
Meanwhile, remedial measures were instantly taken to find a solution to the dearth of storage to hold the bumper paddy harvest in the district. A proposal to find a solution to this problem was earlier made during the meeting. Minister Karunanayake said that funds would be allocated immediately to build a new paddy store in the district to collect bumper stocks.
At the same time, Karunanayake said that the expectation of the good governance administration was to give priority to economic development. Therefore, public officials had a huge responsibility in the Government’s effort to achieve economic development.
Eastern Province Governor Austin Fernando, Director General of the Development Finance Department A.M.B.M.V. Athapaththu, Trincomalee District Secretary N.A.A. Pushpakumara, divisional secretaries of the Trincomalee District and heads of several Government institutions participated in the meeting.
Later the Finance Minister visited the historical Seruwila Ancient Temple. The minister also paid a courtesy call to the chief incumbent of the temple Venerable Munhene Meththarama Nayake Thera.