Budget aims to make Sri Lanka a dependency – Part I
Posted on November 13th, 2017

By :A.A.M.NIZAM – MATARA

The lingerie designer Mangala Samaraweera who in his  eagerness to demonstrate his American and western slavishness signed without any hesitation the U.S sponsored UNHRC resolution No, 30/2015 against Sri Lanka betraying the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the country and subjecting the country obligatory to implement malicious allegations against the country which included that our war heroes have committed war crimes and these allegations should be investigated by foreign judges and prosecutors, despite the commendable rescue operations carried out by our war heroes to rescue around 300,000 innocent Tamils who were held by the ruthless inhuman tiger terrorists as human shields, has submitted his maiden budget in his new capacity as the Minister of Finance.

This lingerie designer budget has completely transgressed from the usual norms of budgets which were tailored to focus on the expenditure/revenue aspects covering the ensuing year.  The critics point out that this lingerie designer budget’s strategic policy intends to cause a tragic shift in Sri Lanka’s economy and its destiny from autonomy to irretrievable dependency. They point out that the budget is intended to shift ownership, power, preferences and resources from national to foreign, from medium and small capital to big capital mainly foreign, from the working people including the middle classes to big capital, and from the peasantry to the comprador capitalists.

In his budget speech, Mangala claims our laws are archaic and emphasizes the urgent need to revamp our treasured laws such as Paddy Lands Act, The Excise and Customs Ordinance, Rent Act, Agriculture Lands Act, Shop and Office Employees Act, Labour laws and bankruptcy laws in order to induce and encourage foreign participation in building the country.   Critics also point out that the budget continues with the policy of robbing the ordinary people and making the rich richer. They say that the budget bears all the hallmarks of unbridled capitalism with curtailment of relief and burdening the people, and instead of increasing national production the budget has increased taxes. Some critics brand the budget as the Sale of Lanka budget” and say that it totally revisits to the open economic policy of 1977 which was proved an utter failure.

Critics resident overseas have pointed out that the lingerie designer is attempting to do through the budget the same complete abdication of the economy that he did with Foreign Policy where Pablo de Greiffs ,  Zeid al-Husseins, and Atul Keshaps can legitimately come to Sri Lanka to set the framework for judging, devolving, dissolving  and auctioning the country. They say that opening up all boarders via the budget goes parallel with closing  of borders between the so-called traditional homeland” of the Tamils and the rest of the country.

The agnostic Mangala who some months ago advocated to keep wine and liquor shops opened on Poya days and public holidays to facilitate the foreign tourists has placed much emphasis in his budget to his beer promotion policy.  He expects a major portion of the government revenue for the next year through alcohol sales. Addressing media in the parliamentary complex, he said that the government had introduced a price formula based on the alcohol percentage of liquor in the budget proposals and according to the global trends, majority of people of many countries consumed soft liquor such as beer and wine instead of hard liquor. But, in Sri Lanka, only 13% of alcohol users consumed soft liquor. He said.49% of alcohol consumers here are addicted to moonshine and we should save the general public, especially our youth from moonshine.  He said that drinking beer is healthier than drinking fizzy soft drinks which cause obesity and diabetes.

The budget has introduced a new tax structure for soft and hard drinks.  Accordingly all soft drinks will get its prices increased by about Rs. 50 per litre.  The price of a 2.2 litre CocaCola bottle will get increased to Rs. 350 from Rs. 250. The price of a bottle of GingerBeer will get increased to Rs. 320 from Rs. 220. The price of a bottle of Elephant House soft drinks will get increased to Rs. 75 from Rs. 50.  Meanwhile, there will be a drastic reduction of Beer prices.  The price of an imported Beer-Can will get reduced to Rs. 400 from the current price of Rs. 800.  The price of a bottle of Lion Larger beer will get reduced to Rs. 250 from the current price of Rs. 390.

In a ruse to show that he is against the beer price reductions the spineless Eunuch Sirisena is reported to have criticised the beer price reduction. This is another act of Sirissena’s baba-hukum” (I do not know but I came to know only through newspapers/TV) shows whereas it is reported that the matter has got the tacit approval of the cabinet before the budget was presented.  If Sirisena is genuinely against it why can’t he, as the President of the country, order to expunge the whole section related to liquor taxes from the budget? This cheat may be thinking that all Sri Lankans are stupid damn fools! Where the so-called Mathata Thitha policy had gone to? As per the latest reports in the grapevine there is speculation that Moonshine producers in the North Central Ptovince area (Sirisena’s area) have attempted to bribe Mangala Rs. 50 Million to get the beer prices increased again as this reduction would drasticall affect their business.  Is Sirisena’s  antipathy for reduction too a part of this game?

The Government Medical Officers Forum has, meanwhile, severely criticized Mangala’s claim that drinking beer was better than drinking sweetened soft drinks. The President of the Forum Dr. Roshna Bellana has said that the sugar content in beer is high and the beer promotion could have disastrous impact on the population. Warning that that the country would become a laughing stock if an attempt was made to promote beer as a healthy drink Dr, Bellana has emphasized that drinking of hard liquor, beer as well as smoking shouldn’t be promoted by any government under any circumstances. The President of Sri Lanka Diabetes Association Dr. Prasad Katulanda has also criticized Mangala’s beer promotion saying that the promotion of beer would cause a catastrophic health situation. He has pointed out that beer contains a certain percentage of alcohol and therefore a vast majority of beer consumers invariably end up taking to liquor consumption.

The convenor of the Joint Opposition Parliamentarian Prasanna Ranunga severely criticising the government said that the agnostic Mangala was trying to make this country blessed by the Lord Buddha by making three historical visits a country of drunkards and destroy the younger generation and said that all those who love this country should oppose the budget.

The leader of the National Freedom Front addressing the JO meeting at Anuradapura on 12th Sunday referred to Mangala’s Budget as Nalla Maley” budget and said the budget while imposing taxes on all possible fields has introduced measures to repeal all laws that protected the farmers, the working masses, small traders and local industrialists. He said that this  Nalla Maley” budget expects to double the amount of tax income next year.  He said that when the people of this country will become powerless due to extensive poverty the Indians and foreigners will creep into the country to buy our lands, industries and other properties and make this country a dependency

 

The Budget has allowed the import of cigarettes and cigars.

This proposal may have been made to facilitate foreign tourists.

In the run-up to the 2015 elections there were full page newspaper advertisements and TV ads by the vicious misinformation and mud-slings gangs saying that with the change of government even the poor segments of the people will be able to go in vehicles and become proud owners of cars.  The racist JHU also claimed that it is their objective to facilitate each and every family to own a vehicle.  Fooled by these advertisements, misinformation and campaign rhetoric many people unsuccessfully dreamed for this opulence during the last two years but only Ministers/State Ministers/Deputy Ministers and government MPs who get recurrent back aches got the most expensive luxurious vehicles. They thought at least this budget will allow them to realize their dream. Shattering all their dreams and hopes the exorbitant vehicle price increases in the budget have made their dreams illusory and never achievable. The vehicle importers in the meantime have exposed the idiocy of the budget proposal relating to slashing taxes on imported brand new electric vehicles.  At a news conference attended by Mangala and Finance Ministry officials it has been pointed out to this ignorant Minister and the officials that Japan does not export to Sri Lanka brand new electric vehicles, coming under the category of tax reduction, but export only reconditioned electric vehicles for which tax reduction is not applicable..

(To be continued on Part II)

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