The popular belief that the name of the town Baddaginnie in West Australia has its origin to Sri Lanka may hold some element of truth; for ‘badagini’ has been the common cry of the island’s citizenry given the economic constraints they are compelled to endure.
However, with the annual budget and the monetary policies that are rather intimidating than relieving, people are forced to live with their low purchasing power. The disaster is very much man-made than natural.
The Annual Budget for year 2013 has already become a disappointment given the way it shattered the hopes of many people who were anticipating relief. The opinion that it was a proclamation to widen the gap between the rich and the poor, cannot be disputed.
Our sister paper Lankadeepa on Sunday revealed that due to the increase of taxes the prices of many consumer goods are going to be increased. These are by no means luxury items, but essential commodities.
It may be true that increasing taxes has never been welcomed by the people; however, in an era when everything shoots skyward, the master-brains behind the budget are at a loss to understand why people do not appreciate the only thing that came down—import taxes on the racing vehicles.
Clearly, somebody must be dreaming out there!
The clarification that this is a reference to Go Carts and does not include Porches and Lamborghinis is insufficient, when people have the right to know the reasons behind the move. If the Government is rich enough to construct a Formula One race track in the heart of Colombo, and if the news-maker Minister could boast that he could afford to buy Lamborghinis for his children, it is quite obvious that it is the people who have lost the race.
Ideally, a government elected by people, should work towards realizing the dreams of those who appointed it, not at any rate, should its inane actions shatter them. Its recent actions go to show that the last thing on the policy-makers’ minds when increasing prices and taxes, is public welfare.
When it comes to countering the economic downturns, there are better options than such haphazard price increases. 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. 2,500 per month is sufficient to live.
Hence, the same government that sings odes to prosperity and development, Sri Lanka is supposed to be achieving rapidly, has right royally failed the very people who appointed it. Perhaps, the decision-makers are suffering a convenient loss of hearing; the unmistakable cry was ‘badagini’ not ‘Lamborghini.’