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Basil must detail who exactly in the public service is a burden: NTUC

As Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa earlier mentioned that the public service has become a burden to the government, Head of the National Trade Union Centre (NTUC), K. D. Lalkantha says that the people want to know who these public sector workers are if he is to make such accusations.

He made this statement while speaking at a media brief held yesterday (18).

“If the Finance Minister makes such accusations, we want to know who he is referring to. Is it the public sector doctors? Is it ayurvedic specialists? Is it the teachers he is referring to? Is it the multiple committees that were appointed to the government? Instead of generalising it, he must shred it down and explain who exactly is the burden to the nation. We think it is the corrupt government that has become a burden to the nation. Since 1978 Sri Lanka has had many corrupt people in government, but since the Rajapaksa family came into place, it is clear that this family is the most corrupt so far,” said Lalkantha.

Lalkantha added that the people of Sri Lanka should now open their eyes and realise who exactly has become a burden to the nation, whether it is the public services or the Rajapaksa family.

“If the public services are not functioning to their full potential or they do not have work to do, it is because of the government who has not managed them properly. Public servants are employed by the government, and the government should know how to manage their work and pay accordingly instead of employing them and then calling them a burden. Estate workers, doctors, teachers, committees who are government servants must oppose such a statement made by Basil Rajapaksa and do so openly,” Lalkantha mentioned.

Further, Lalkantha mentioned that as a joint Trade Union, they reject the 2022 budget which was proposed by the Finance Minister as it does not address the situation in the country at present.

“We reject the 2022 budget, which was compiled with no thought about the people. The people wanted a budget which would bring upon a change and a solution to the current economic situation in the country. Whereas, these aspects have not been considered. The cost of living has gone up considerably, the TU’s have requested for a salary increase, whereas these things were not even spoken about when Basil Rajapaksa made this proposal,” he said.

Adding to his statement, Lalkantha mentioned that if the budget is not revised after the budget debates that are currently going on in parliament, the trade unions have decided by January 2022 that drastic measures would be taken without fail.

“The private, public and government sector employees and even pensioners have already considered taking to the streets and opposing this budget proposal. There are talks in villages where people are already preparing themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lalkantha mentioned that the price of medicines has gone up considerably and that if the government wants to hike the prices of essential items such as food, medicines and gas, the government should also increase the prices or get ready to face the rejection from the people.

“Basil Rajapaksa will have to face his own statement if he doesn’t revise his budget and provide some relief to the people,” Lalkantha concluded