# The country, the economy and runaway engines

9 December 2013 08:40 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The budget debate of the Western Provincial Council (WPC) for 2014 was held last week. The budget for the Western PC is a hollow document similar to the one presented to Parliament by the President.
The budget stated the per capita income of the people in the Western Province is  US\$ 3,750 and the population in the province is 5.8 million. Accordingly, the annual income of the province should be US\$ 21,750 million (US\$ 21.7 billion). The per capita income would be, according to these figures, Rs.43,125,and assuming there are four in a family each family in the province should get at least Rs.172,500 monthly.

If the figures regarding the population and the income are correct the per capita income too should be correct. If you are a resident in the Western Province, you are a member of a family that gets a monthly income of nearly Rs. 175,000, states the government.
Don’t think the figures are incorrect. What is incorrect is the manner the wealth is distributed.
The girl who picked coconuts from the neighbourhood to find Rs.400 demanded by the school authorities to paint its walls was reported from Horana in the Western Province. Higher Education Minister S.B. Dissanayaka said that the incident that occurred in the miraculous country where the per capita income is more than Rs.175, 000 was an international conspiracy.

The present Project Minister of Ports who was appointed as a Member of a Pradeshiya Sabha in 1997 and became the Minister of Nation Building in 2008 has still failed to reveal to the Bribery Commission how he earned Rs.450 million within ten years and interestingly he is also from the Western Province.
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country at present is US\$ 60 billion. As the population of the country is around 20 million, the per capita income has been calculated as US\$ 3000.
According to this calculation a family of four should get an income of US\$ 1000 (Rs.137,000) monthly. Here too what is incorrect is not the figures but how wealth is distributed.

According to a statement made by Minister Sarath Amunugama recently the richest families in the island, which is 20% of the population, gets 54% of the national income while the poorest families, which is 20% of the population, gets only 4% of the national income. Government’s own statistics show that 42% of the population earns only US\$ 2 which is less than Rs.275/- a day. According to Forbes Asia magazine the wealth of Dhammika Perera, the Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and the richest man in Sri Lanka is US\$ 550 million.
Rulers have not taken measures to distribute the wealth of the country or the province nor have they distributed budget allocations among various ministries justly. 70% of the budget of the central government has been allocated to Rajapaksas  themselves. That is in addition to the Rs.8,570 million which has been allocated for the maintenance of the President.

### "At present the economy of the country runs like the train engine that ran without a driver from the Dematagoda rail-yard"

The government that boasts the whole country would be made self-sufficient in milk has allocated only Rs.3,500 million for the development of livestock. 70% of the Western Provincial Council budget allocations has been grabbed by the Chief Minister while the allocations for three other ministers are only 6.5%.
The main challenge before the country is to eliminate the severe discrepancy that exists in the economy of the country; to provide the due share of the economy to the masses who toil to produce the national wealth in the country; to broaden the production in keeping with the increasing needs of the people. The valuable human as well as natural resources of our country could be made use of to achieve this goal. This is the outline of the economic programme the JVP intends carrying out, if possible, in the future.

### "According to the WPC budget, per capita income of the people living in the Western Province stands at US\$ 3,750"

At present the economy of the country runs like the train engine that ran without a driver from the Dematagoda rail-yard.  The economic engine of the country that was placed on the open economy line in 1977 runs whether a driver is in the cabin or not; whether the signal is on or not. Periodically the driver’s seat is occupied by different people. However, the economy engine runs on the same line whether the seat is occupied by JR, Premadasa, Chandrika, Ranil or Rajapaksa.
No government is needed to run the economy in the manner it is run at present. People have tightened their belts to maintain a jumbo Cabinet of 107 expecting they would manage the economy properly. However, the main requirement of the rulers is the economy of the ‘family’ and not the economy of the people.
When the crab leader walks sideways, its associates always take a cue from him and follow the same fashion.
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