The arbitrary increase not only inconvenienced the vehicle-owners-to-be, but also the importers themselves, who would not have a flowery tale to relate in the coming Avurudu. Despite the blabbering of government mouthpieces that such an increase would effect only a minority given the number that can afford vehicles, a family car or a motorbike have long seized to be luxury items in the market. Besides the question arises as to how this could be an issue of a minority when the government media went on to report that one in every five Sri Lankans, has access to a motor vehicle. Hence, the same government that sings odes to prosperity and development, Sri Lanka is supposed to be achieving rapidly, has failed to retain the purchasing power of people; the miracles performed at the Avurudu eve are so dazzling that an ordinary spectator might not want to buy firecrackers this time.
If the government’s argument is that the increase was a step taken to limit people from buying vehicles that largely contribute to the congestion on the roads, it is holding on to the wrong end of the stick. What has escaped from the policy-makers’ observation is that, a commuter would not be compelled to use a private vehicle if the public transportation is efficient. However, with a history of rude bus conductors, dirty seats, and unlawful drivers who can’t tell one road sign apart from another, a commuter has no option left but to own a vehicle even though it is an expensive venture, given the other household constraints one has to undergo in the daily swim against the spiraling cost of living.
The government, that ought to have been easing the burden of the taxpayers, instead continues to tax them with many more expenses. Amidst the complicated price formulas and the Rs. 2500-frugality, the high-heads are trying to provide comic relief to peope, when they are either too lazy or incapable of providing relief that is substantial.
What is sad perhaps is that, the so-called people’s representatives, thanks to the mandate given by people, can enjoy the pleasure of duty-free vehicles and many other luxuries. The sin of sending them to higher echelons has always to be borne by the ordinary man who was cheated over and over again.
When it comes to the fight against the economic downturns, there are better options than to haphazardly increase prices and taxes. After all, when corruption is rampant and inefficiency has become the norm of many state institutions, no number of price increases can save a fragile economy. Sadly, this is a truth that cannot be grasped by a bunch of empty-heads who boastfully say Rs. 2500 per month is sufficient to live.
Whether to cry or to laugh is the question!