While claiming that fraud and corruption of the government had put the country into an economic crisis, former President and MP Mahinda Rajapaksa said today no plan had been proposed in the budget or future development programmes by the President and the Prime Minister to come out of it.
Speaking during the budget debate, he said the debt obtained by the government during the last three years had increased by Rs. 2,773 billion from Rs. 7,391 in 2014 to Rs. 10,164 billion.
He said it was the Sirisena and Wickremesinghe government that had put the country into a debt trap even though they accused his government of doing so.
"We had reduced debt burden to the debt to GDP ratio by 71 per cent when we handed over the government. But now it had increased to 85 per cent. We managed debt servicing effectively by reducing the interest rate. But today the government had increased government expenses on its own and faced an economic crisis," he said.
He said his government had spent the loans on ending the war, reconciliation process and development programmes in the North and in the other parts of the country.
"We constructed ports, airports, state buildings and developed road network in the country. But the present government has not done any development programme or developed infrastructure," he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa said the government's fraud and corruption had gone up where they had to pay Rs. 145 billion as interest due to the bond scam, Rs. 15 billion as compensation due to cancellation of the Srilankan airlines order to purchase airbuses and Rs. 21 billion due to the cancellation of the port city project," he said.
He said people and businessmen had to pay twofold of the tax they paid in 2014 and added that the government was boasting about increasing tax revenue.
Mr. Rajapaksa also said that the budget had proposed to sell state resources to foreigners by liberalising laws to enable foreigners to buy lands without any obstacle.
He said the government had no power to sell or lease out state resources without peoples' approval and added that steps would be taken to nationalise state resources sold or lease out without peoples' approval. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)