A budget where the responsibility for major functional aspects of the Economy lies with the Government
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It is significant fact that some sort of relief has been provided by this year’s budget proposals to all categories of the General Public who face economic hardships.
It has been proposed in the budget to activate the policies of the Government involving itself in commercial activities even surpassing the Neo - Liberal Economic Standards.
It has also been proposed to expand the Lak-Sathosa outlets countrywide and further, involving itself in purchasing the produce from small-scale producers and assist them in marketing such produce as well. This proposal has to be commended.
We can also observe the budget proposal that the government sector has been handed over the responsibility of a major functional aspect of the economy which is a significant factor of a public-oriented development policy.
Although we accept that such a significant change in the economy has been proposed at National level, the government should always involve itself persistently in preventing any further price increases to essential food items, goods and services, which have been a burden to the general public.
However, there is a vacuum in respect of there being no salary increase for employees of the private sector and plantation sector and further, no significant relief has been provided to them in any other form as well.
A decision on the lowest salary level in the private sector is essential at this point of time and further, a food ration scheme to provide essential foods to plantation sector employees seem to be an urgent necessity.
A relief aid package has been proposed for the government sector employees and pensioners.
However, the already burdened workers in the lower grade in the public sector has not been provided with any form of relief.
If the request for Rs. 2,500.00 to be added to the basic salary and also if the payment of the cost of living allowance for increase in cost of living index were met, then the pressure due to the erosion in the total salary would have been negated.
Although, a national salary policy has been proposed in this year’s budget as a long term solution, it is not a solution for the current problem.
We greatly appreciate the proposal to provide relief to the July 1980 strikers who have suffered continuously for 32 years having fought against the Neo-Liberal economic disaster. Further, we firmly believe that we have to extend this facility to employees of Thulhiriya and Pugoda Mills who suffered the same fate as 1980 July strikers in losing employment during the periods of UNP regime.
We extend our unstinted support to the UPFA government who have been hailed by the general public for having worked, dedicatedly and tirelessly in a responsible manner, for the well-being of the general public, whilst the opposition parties including the UNP have been working with no proper agenda / objective.