Harsha says average families poorer in Mahinda’s first term

Friday, 19 November 2010 03:15 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

UNP Member of Parliament and Consultant Economist Dr. Harsha de Silva yesterday claimed that the average family had become poorer during the first term of office of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Dr. Harsha de Silva

“It is with absolute disappointment that we note the reduction of the mean real income of the average Sri Lankan family during the first term of office the President Mahinda Rajapaksa,” de Silva said.

He said that according to the just released preliminary report of the Household Income and Expenditure Survey of the Department of Census and Statistics the real mean household income, that is the value of household income after adjusting for inflation, has actually declined from Rs. 17,465 in 2006/07 to

Rs. 17,203 in 2009/10.  Consequent to this, it has been found that food consumption including rice, wheat flour, bread, dhal and sugar has also fallen.

“Having come to office promising a better future for the people we regret to note that the average Sri Lankan family is worse off today than when Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as President for the first time. We hope that in his second term the President will take steps, including in the budget to be presented on Monday the 22 November, to deal with this predicament faced by the people of Sri Lanka,” de Silva added.

UNP to boycott President’s swearing-in ceremony

Main opposition United National Party (UNP) yesterday informed its decision to boycott President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s second swearing-in ceremony today.

Opposition supporters gather on the streets during a protest against government policies in Colombo November 18, 2010. Marxist student and trade unions are up in arms against the Sri Lankan government demanding for better facilities and salary hikes. REUTERS

UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya told a press conference that the party would boycott tomorrow’s swearing in ceremony as a mark of protest against the extravagant amounts of money spent for the event.

Jayasuriya said that former state heads had held simple swearing in ceremonies when elected to office.

According to the Deputy Leader, although the President is entitled to have a ceremony to mark his swearing into office for a second term, it should not be done by spending massive amount of state funds.

Meanwhile, the UNP and opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe has left for India on a three-day visit on Wednesday.