A budget that kills the patient to cure the tummy – Sunil Handunnetthi
“At one time, it was said that loss-making institutions could be sold and profits could be made. Now it is said to sell the profitable ones to increase the reserve. A government member says that he does not agree according to his conscience, but he has to vote for the budget. Their budget must be working sideways. These are the type of people in the parliament now. Ranil’s budget for next year says what happens in 2048. There is no talk about what will be done next year. They will take loans, print money or collect money from local banks. They are happy that the stomach is clean though the patient is dead,” says Sunil Handunnetthi, a member of the Economic Council of the National People’s Power.
He said this, addressing the conference “Tax to heaven – For whom is the budget?” held yesterday (17th) by the Economic Council of the National People’s Power at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute.
For this conference, representing the Economic Council of the National People’s Power, Professor Sita Bandara of the Department of Economics of the University of Kelaniya, Professor Dayananda Ambalangodage of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, Professor Anil Jayantha Fernando of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, former Member of Parliament Sunil Hadunnetthi, Shanta Jayaratne – former Senior Consultant Lecturer of the Sri Lanka Institute of Administration, Professor Janak Kumarasinghe of the University of Sri Jayawardenepura and Chartered Accountant and Economic Analyst, Sunil Gamage were present. The comments made by NPP Parliamentarian Sunil Handunneththi are given below.
“Our topic is “Tax to heaven – Who is the budget for?” However, changing the topic to “Budget is in the sky, but the taxes are for the people would not make a difference.. This is not a people’s budget. However, the people have got a tax burden. Ranil’s story is completely up in the air. This budget does not even touch the reality and the problem on the ground. The 77th budget is a budget that has become a confession of the curse of 74 years. There is a certain political irony. Because Ranil Wickramasinghe, who is responsible for the curse of 74 years, himself presenting this budget is a kind of irony. Ranil says on the first page of the budget speech, “can we be satisfied with the situation in which our country is celebrating its 75th year after independence? Where did we go wrong, and where did we go wrong? Who says this? He was the first Minister of Youth Affairs, then Minister of Industries, he was six times Prime Minister, and now President. And he asks the people what happened. Most in his lifetime Ranil has eaten from Parliament; lived on people’s money. There are so many in the parliament like that. The majority of them in parliament is like that. They ask us who is at fault.
After that, they say that they need to make the right decisions, not popular decisions. Who said no? Wasn’t it Ranil who said to make the right decisions and not the popular decisions and promised youths bracelets? As Prime Minister, he cut down coconut trees, promising a Volkswagen factory. Now no Volkswagen, no coconut trees either. They said they would give a vehicle to those under the umbrella. Those who made those promises now say that people should make the right decisions.
They say there is no point in going into debt to others. It is said by those who dragged the country to a precipice. This is the economy that Surasena brought to the ‘Palingu Menike’. Didn’t government after government boast that they were getting more credit than the other? People who used to think of borrowing as pride are telling this story today. Ranil saying it won’t matter now. For, people have decided to throw out Ranil and Ranil’s policies. Even if Ranil says it standing on his head, it doesn’t matter. The people have made their decision and are waiting for an opportunity.
Read the budget speech from beginning to end and see what the right decisions are proposed to take without popular decisions. Is there a correct decision that solves the problems of the people of this country throughout this budget? This is the same old recipe. There is one thing that can be said from this budget. That is, there will be an election within the next 04 months. Because 20 billion have been set aside for the Samurdhi and adult allowances. However, the money will be charged back to the people themselves. 130 billion rupees has been minted the day before yesterday. Taxes are imposed. Not everyone who lives on their salaries can bear this tax burden. Now people who had high jobs have started to leave the country. This is an economy that drives away the educated in the country.
This budget has become one that has expanded expenditure to such an extent. Expenditure has been expanded to 7.5 trillion. It is indeed because the intention is to borrow. It is done to increase the credit limit. But how can the government borrow to cover the budget deficit? Because the debt is not paid now. They expect to borrow 2.3 billion dollars from abroad. Ranil should say before the end of the budget from which countries he will borrow.
Budget is an assumption. It should be realistic. People should be able to bear it. Now, what will happen if this budget deficit cannot be covered? You have to charge the people if you can’t get a loan. That means from the state banking system. In the past, they destroyed the banking system by taking loans from the local banking system for political decisions. It is going to be done now. As the Economic Council of the National People’s Power, we must say that if we continue in this way, what happened to America and Greece in 2008 will not be prevented from happening to Sri Lanka. Therefore, we need to protect our banking system. Because it is the backbone of the economy. Therefore, as our professor said, the field should be made so that the match can be played within the budget limits. But are there people to play the match even if the field is built? This match cannot be played with Ranil, Mahinda and Sajith. Therefore, we ask the people of our country to choose the best team to play the match.
When we come, we will show what we can do in 06 months. But don’t ask us to rebuild the country, which was destroyed for 74 years, in 06 months. But within those 06 months, fraud, corruption and waste will have been stopped. Did Ranil Come out with the right decisions instead of popular decisions in his budget? Did he say the expenses of the cabinet will be reduced, housing costs will be reduced, and the pension of MPs will be abolished? The budget that went to the sky would have weighed down a little if that were said. Defence spending has been increased. But we don’t know if they have money to spend.
Then Ranil says that it is a myth that corrupt people are imprisoned. Can Ranil call it a reality without saying that? What else can the person who destroyed the Central Bank say? Comrade Anura often says that one corrupt person does not punish another corrupt person. Now Ranil says don’t talk to me about corrupt people. We do not expect Ranil to punish the thieves.
After that, they talk about changing this economic system. They say they would create an open economic system of social security.
The people of this country cannot be deceived anymore. They have to accept defeat. Who is protected under this economy? Parents stay at school to protect their children. You can’t save your children from ice and drugs. Now they talk about the ‘Triloka Vijaya Patra’. If that happens, politicians will start the business. The best example is that politicians have the most bar permits in this country.
On the other hand, they are talking about selling. At one time, it was said that loss-making companies could be sold, and profits could be made. Now it is said to sell the profitable ones to increase the reserve.
A government member says that he does not agree according to his conscience, but he has to vote for the budget. These are the people who have come to the parliament. Ranil’s budget for next year talks of things to be done in 2048. There is no talk about what will be done next year. What will be done is take loans, or money will be minted. They would also take money from local banks and say even if the patient has died, his tummy is clean.
As such, this system should be changed. This corrupt political system must be changed. As the Economic Council of the National People’s Power, we are not only talking about this budget, we will also start this economic conversation with the people. Together with the people, we’ll have the power and energy to change this journey.”
Do not change these fields following
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