Sajith questions Ranil’s Budget stats, JVP claims Budget provides no relief
5 months ago
BY Buwanajee Coralage Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa expressed doubts about the statistics presented by the President Ranil Wickremesinghe concerning the population affected by the economic crisis, while the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) claimed that the Interim Budget will not provide relief to the people. “We cannot agree on the statistics presented regarding the number of people facing extreme economic hardships in the island because the number of mothers and children faced with social and financial insecurity according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, was undermined today by only presenting the number of families affected by the economic crisis which is as low as 60 out of 1,000, but which in turn raises questions on the legibility and accuracy of the content of the speech,” said Premadasa in Parliament following the Budget speech. Furthermore, he asserted that the Government earnings should be utilised in a more utilitarian manner in order to facilitate relief for the people, and development in the country. “An enormous number of people in the country are under pressure and discomfort, and are rendered helpless and therefore, we believe that under these circumstances, the earnings of the Government should be used in a more utilitarian and practical manner for the betterment and development of the people in this country. We would also like to declare that we are not satisfied with this.” Meanwhile, NPP Member Wasantha Samarasinghe claimed that any Budget put forward by the Government led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe will not provide relief to the people. “We do not believe that there will be any relief measures in a Budget presented by the Government of Wickremesinghe and former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Prices of everything have increased from electricity to water to kerosene. Yet, in the 10 weeks that Wickremesinghe has been President, he is yet to offer a proposal to develop the country,” claimed Samarasinghe while addressing the media yesterday. President Wickremesinghe presented the interim Budget yesterday to Parliament. Although former Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa presented the 2022 Budget in December 2021, the severe economic crisis that followed led to the new Government taking over. In his speech when presenting the Budget, President Wickremesinghe said that the interim Budget aims to provide a basic foundation for changing the economic trajectory in the country, with more comprehensive policies to follow in the 2023 Budget. “We know that those who follow these neoliberal policies just plan to sell the State’s resources instead of having a plan to develop the country. Selling resources and kicking State employees out will only result in this country being looted. It will not provide relief to the people,” charged Samarasinghe. During his Budget speech yesterday, and in the context of his solutions to the present economic crisis, President Wickremesinghe quoted JVP Politburo Member Sunil Handunneththi who had previously stated that “the Government should make policies, and does not have a role to engage in commercial ventures”.