By Ajith Siriwardana
JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said yesterday while imposing more tax on essential commodities instead of providing relief to people affected by the COVID19 outbreak, the Cabinet has approved massive projects to earn huge commissions.
He told a news conference that the government had imposed a special commodity levy on sugar, dhal, chili powder and big onions and pointed out that it was not meant to protect local produce but to burden the people even more.
“People are badly affected by COVID-19 with their income sources having vanished. Some 25 per cent of people engaged in the industrial and construction sectors have lost their jobs. Those in irregular employment, those working for manpower companies and contract basis employees have lost their jobs. Some employees only get half the basic salary. People are struggling to survive. But the government has taxed them instead of providing relief,” Mr. Dissanayake said.
He said the government has not even passed the benefit of the fuel price reduction to the people but instead more tax on fuel has been introduced.
“The world market has recorded the lowest ever fuel prices. Fuel can be sold at half the current price even with a tax imposed. If fuel price was reduced, it will benefit all sectors such as agriculture and industry,” Mr. Dissanayake said. He said people have been burdened with huge electricity and water bills in May and urged the government to formulate a method to recover the charges in a manner that people were not affected.
Mr. Dissanayake said even though the government spoke of a financial crisis and of taxing people, the Cabinet had approved massive projects such as the building of stadiums and expressways to earn huge commissions. He said people should speak up against the unreasonable burden heaped on them and pointed out that the JVP was ready to rally round the people against this kind of injustice.
People are badly affected by COVID-19 with their income sources having vanished. Some 25 per cent of people engaged in the industrial and construction sectors have lost their jobs.