Federal state, National government and taxes
Posted on April 29th, 2016

Jayampathy Molligoda Courtesy The Island

According to media reports, Sri Lanka will join the collective of states that charge Value Added Tax (VAT) on health and education. These two most important service sectors are exempted from VAT in most countries where private citizens are not ill-treated by rulers. Further, VAT on health and education has come as the government is purportedly trying to create a ‘knowledge economy. It is also faced with the problem of ‘ageing population’. It would be interesting to find out why the government is trying to impose additional taxes in contravention of concept of good governance.

The SLFP leadership should have allowed those SLFP members who contested under UPFA and are now in the opposition, including those members from other constituent parties, to continue to oppose the government. This is in keeping with the mandate given by the people at the last general election. Instead, the SLFP Secretary has warned that disciplinary action will be taken against some 30 members of SLFP, if they attend the Joint Opposition May Day rally at Kirulapone. The Speaker, on 03rd September 2015, declared in Parliament that a national government had been duly formed between the UNP and the SLFP. These SLFP members have already presented a no confidence motion against a government Minister. This is the first time that a section of the government members presenting a no confidence motion against a member thereof. Therefore, the national government constituted on 3rd September is a misnomer.

The present so called “national government” has only enabled the elected MPs and even defeated candidates to secure portfolios and privileges in Parliament at the expense of the taxpayer. People continue to pay direct and indirect taxes to maintain a large Cabinet of ministers and non-cabinet and deputy ministers. The government budget deficit, as well as the negative balance in the current account, will continue to rise. The ‘national government’ has so far failed to address the pressing needs of the people and improving their quality of life. They have not even been able to avoid the economic downturn. The government has no moral right to appoint more than 30 ministers.

One could argue that the real motive of dragging the SLFP into the national government was to muster its support for federalism through a new constitution. This is the hidden agenda of the proposed constitution making.


2 Responses to “Federal state, National government and taxes”

  1. plumblossom Says:

    Many Sri Lankans are gravely concerned about the TNA proposal to partition Sri Lanka into four pieces with a huge chunk (28% of the land area, 66% of the coastline and 66% of the ocean comprising the North and the East of Sri Lanka) going to the TNA racists and separatists as a merged North East federal state (but craftily disguised as ‘unitary’) with full powers.

    We are wondering why did over 43,000 both Sri Lankan Forces and civilians die at the hands of the LTTE and that megalomaniac Prabhakaran, if now, the TNA is being handed over an ‘Eelam’ so easily constitutionally?

    When looking at a GIS Map of Sri Lanka, it is amply clear that most of the forested areas of Sri Lanka are situated in the North and the East. Do not these forests belong to all the citizens of Sri Lanka? Do not the same principle apply to the ocean too or even the whole island, that the oceans and the whole island belong to all the people of Sri Lanka? Mr. Vigneshwaran has ‘created’ a fake history (stating that Tamils lived in Sri Lanka for 2000 years). Yet, there are no ancient ruins in Jaffna, in the North nor any ancient Dravidian writing to prove these fake claims. History of the Tamils commence mainly with the Dutch and the British bringing in large numbers of people from Tamil Nadu to work in tobacco plantations commenced by the Dutch and the British. There was the so called Jaffna Kingdom set up by an invader just prior to that but then Jaffna was only very sparsely populated. Our question is, can people such as Mr. Vigneshwaran ‘create’ his own fake history like this? He is ignoring the many Buddhist ruins, the many ancient Buddha statues, ancient Sinhala prakrit writing, the many ancient irrigation reservoirs built by Sinhala kings in the North and the East which proves an earlier indigenous Sinhala habitation in the North and all over the island. We would like to tell Mr. Vigneshwaran to be objective when it comes to history and archaeology and accept once and for all the fact that the Sinhala people lived all over the island for thousands of years and continue to do so. I would like Mr. Vigneshwaran to note that the provincial boundaries were drawn up by British colonialists for their administrative purposes with no input whatsoever from the Sinhala people and does not tally at all with the earlier history of the island which was unitary in nature.

    The Kandyan Kingdom (1400AD-1815) comprised almost all of the island inclusive of the East and almost all of the North. The earlier Kingdom of Rajarata (600BC-1400 AD) comprised the North Central, North Western, Northern and Eastern Provinces or the dry zone of Sri Lanka.

    We are gravely concerned regarding the drawing up of a new constitution where due to the pressure of the TNA, the US, EU, UK, Canada, Norway, Sri Lanka is in grave danger of being divided up on ethnic lines into four, five or even six different pieces. Is this not crazy?

    The TNA proposals were drawn up by experts which the TNA hired from the UK, Canada, Belgium, Canada, US and the like. Is this not an interference in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs by foreign powers, even to the extent of trying to draw up Sri Lanka’s constitution?

    Can any organization in Sri Lanka go to the supreme court and stop, once and for all, the merger of the North and the East since it is critical to stop this once and for all? Can any organization in Sri Lanka also go to the supreme court and stop, once and for all the, dividing up of this small island on ethnic or any other lines?

    The only way to stop this madness is to go to the supreme court and get a verdict which would prohibit the merger of any provinces and to stop once and for all the dismemberment of this small island on ethnic or any other lines.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    The N&E were de-merged once before by the Supreme Court.
    Why re-merge ?
    To suit whom ?

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