Voted Reluctantly: Namal

8 February 2015 07:27 am - 35     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Hambantota UPFA MP Namal Rajapaksa said that he voted for the interim budget presented by the new government, with “reluctance” because of concerns he had about the “unsustainable nature of the proposals that have been presented”.

“The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has taken a decision to vote for the interim budget presented by the new Government. In the interest of maintaining the integrity and unity of the Party, I have decided to stand with the Party decision,” Mr. Rajapaksa said in a statement.

The second reading of the Interim Budget 2015 was passed in parliament on Saturday evening with a majority of 163 votes cast in favour.
A total of 164 votes were cast in favour of the interim budget proposals while only one vote had been cast against it by Democratic National Alliance (DNA) MP Ajith Kumara.

The full statement:

RELUCTANT VOTE FOR THE BUDGET

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has taken a decision to vote for the interim budget presented by the new Government. In the interest of maintaining the integrity and unity of the Party, I have decided to stand with the Party decision. However, I do so with reluctance because of concerns I have about the unsustainable nature of the proposals that have been presented.

Consider, for example, the reduction in the prices of petrol, diesel, LP gas, and kerosene. Fuel reductions are generally welcome measures. However, though it would appear to be an immediate relief to the public, the extent of the reduction in fuel prices, unfortunately, are unlikely to be sustainable in the long run and could have an immensely negative impact on the overall economy. Even though global oil prices were low at the time the present Government decreased fuel prices, this past week, crude prices have seen a marked increase. How sustainable this price reduction will be is the concern. While it may be easy to please the public in the short-term with such measures, such ad-hoc decisions are more likely to have a negative long-term impact on the country’s economy and thus the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.

Another concern is the extent to which the Government has decided to increase salaries. We agree in principle with the need to increase salaries. In fact, it was former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who first proposed the increase of salaries and pensions in the 2015 National Budget that he presented last year. However, the new administration has amplified the salary hike to a level that will not be sustainable, once again.

There are also a number of concerns with regard to proposals pertaining to the agricultural sector as well. First, even though the Government has proposed a guaranteed price of Rs. 50/kg for paddy, it will be difficult to secure that price with the low prices of wheat flour and bread. Additionally, considering the duty free imports for products like green gram, dry fish and other grain varieties, there will be a negative impact for farmers of these agricultural products. The bottom line is that these budget proposals will almost definitely hurt the local farmers, not help them.

Then there is the Rs. 1 billion tax imposed on casinos and sports-related television channels. How was this taxation amount decided? What is the basis? While we completely agree with imposing any amount of tax on casinos, what is the logic behind imposing the same tax on types of businesses that generate vastly different ranges of profit? Furthermore, doesn’t the imposition of taxes on casinos imply regulation of that industry? Didn’t this administration propose the shutting down of all casinos in the country? The public needs to be aware of this double standard that is being practiced by the current administration.

There are further concerns on how taxation will impact investors and the private sector overall. Sri Lanka’s business community has already expressed great dissatisfaction at the super gains tax that has been included in the interim budget. Although justifications are being made for this tax, citing short-term revenue needs, it sets a very dangerous precedent, one that will make it acceptable to penalize successful businesses every time the government sees the need to generate short-term revenue. Furthermore, should successful businesses in the country be punished for being efficient and producing good returns? It is certain to scare away any potential investors from even considering Sri Lanka to set up a new venture.

While there are a number of other worrying aspects about the proposed budget, the one other aspect I would like to point out here is the reduction in the prices of essential items that was much hyped-about leading up to the presentation of the budget. However, other than perhaps flour, sugar and milk powder, the products chosen for this reduction in prices was a big letdown to the public.

I stand with the new Government’s claims that the budget must provide relief to those that are less fortunate, to those who are finding it difficult to provide for their families. It is crucially important for us to help our fellow Sri Lankans lift themselves out of poverty. Those who have been fortunate enough to profit can be asked to withstand more of a burden on behalf of the society at large. But unfortunately, it seems very obvious that this budget was prepared to please the public with impending elections in mind, with short-sighted proposals that are more appropriate for a 100-day programme rather than the entire year that national budgets should be targeted towards.

It is my hope that the strength of the economy that was maintained during the past nearly two decades will be adequate to rectify these short-term negative effects.

  Comments - 35

  • Nirmala Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:04 PM

    You and your family have milked our country of billions, and you have the cheek to say the interim budget is unsustainable?

    Bubble Banda Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:13 PM

    Namal you are not matured to be a Politician. Get lost.

    Kiris Baba Amaray Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:14 PM

    Did your GCE (O/L) Namal? Better sit for the exam this December - 2015 rather than uttering nonesones.

    Madlin Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:14 PM

    Why didnt you analyse these when youre father was in power. Come on you have no right to comment on this because you were part of the corrupt regime which the people sent home last month. via DM Android App

    Vijith Pieterz Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:17 PM

    Money in Millions

    Ran goja Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:21 PM

    who worte this statement on your behalf?

    Horri Jimonis Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:22 PM

    You better give up all your bad evil habits

    Desmond Jeromme Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:24 PM

    Your good for nothing vote is not needed man,

    nalin Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:21 PM

    really what about your fathers deverlopmentwas is great via DM Android App

    Bubble Banda Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:27 PM

    Namal you have misused Temple Trees for your evil acts. Agree???

    Vijith Pieterz Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:28 PM

    You and your family ruined the country along with your dirty uncles.

    J Palitha Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:29 PM

    Putha never ever dream that you could enter the Parliament OK.

    Bubble banda Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:30 PM

    Who asked for your vote putha? If you are not voting, the present Govt. is not going to sink. Mind it.

    Kiris Baba Amaray Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:31 PM

    One thing is for sure - Neither you or your father will never enter Politics again. Better study ...

    sss Sunday, 08 February 2015 08:15 PM

    never become a yes man. see what yes men did to your father

    Vijith Pieterz Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:33 PM

    Hooo.... Hooo.... Car pissa... all out of Public money curses awaiting for you.

    Desmond Jeromme Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:34 PM

    Hay Namal will you keep your mouth shut. You are also like your father.

    People Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:34 PM

    Namal baba, don’t be naughty with the present government. But, it’s good to be a little naughty when you are alone hiding.

    Veda-mama Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:36 PM

    MONAWADA MAE BORU KATHA? OWA HONDAI KONDAE BANDAPU CHEENANTA KIYANNA.

    Horri Jimonis Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:37 PM

    Poke your vote into your uncle Wimal Weer... mouth.

    Waco Sunday, 08 February 2015 01:43 PM

    Sanath Jayasuriya may have written this statement for Namal.

    karu Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:00 PM

    Not Sanath, But Azwer, in his dreams.

    zimbz Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:10 PM

    OBATA JARAWA KANDA BAA NE

    Ruwan Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:19 PM

    NamalIf you have integrity vote according to your conscience rather than a party vote. Your statement only proves your lack of credibility. via DM Android App

    CHANDRASOMA Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:34 PM

    NO HELICOPTER BUDGETS FOR U. NOW GO AND FLY A KITE. WHAT BUDGETS U KNOW ABOUT. UR EXTRAVAGANT BEHAVIOR ANOTHER REASON FOR THE DEFEAT

    Ananda Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:34 PM

    Media should not entertain outcasts

    coconut republic Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:41 PM

    Then Sanath may have got it written by someone else. What about Sajin Vas

    Perumal Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:41 PM

    Our country cannot tolerate another Rajapakse even reluctantly.

    regi Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:42 PM

    See who is talking, you seem to be the mouthpiece for someone else. What you have mentioned is far beyond your capacity.

    hiran Gunawardena Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:42 PM

    to be fare Namal got a point.. No one explains how to get money for this budget. Only we is money printing. In years time inflation will go through the roof. Government is only worry about 100 days via DM Android App

    Nalin Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:43 PM

    Ane baba pls shut up. via DM Android App

    Nalin Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:44 PM

    You dont have atleast a bachelour degree but talking somthing stupid against a good things happaning for the people via DM Android App

    Veda-mama Sunday, 08 February 2015 02:50 PM

    Waco, It is extremely doubtful.

    BE FAIR Sunday, 08 February 2015 03:06 PM

    How funny, everything is now "reluctant" for you

    sataro Sunday, 08 February 2015 03:37 PM

    mr . vijith pritrez. u r wrong billions . millions p nuts for them . via DM Android App


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