Sri Lanka Opposition decries Government's fiscal policies

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 December 2002, 04:30 GMT]
The second budget of the United National Front (UNF) government passed in parliament Tuesday night with a majority of thirty-six votes with one hundred and twenty one parliamentarians voting for the 2003 budget and ninety one voting against, parliamentary sources said.

The vote on the third reading of the budget was taken following the conclusion of the month long committee stage debate of the budgetary allocation of each ministry Tuesday.

The members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) and Peoples Liberation Of Liberation of Thamileelam (PLOTE) voted with the government. Parliamentarians of the main opposition Peoples Alliance (PA) and the Sinhala hardliner Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) voted against the budget.

The leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Minister Mr.Rauff Hakeem was not in the house at that time of voting, sources said.

Former minister Mr.Jayaraj Fernandopulle of the main opposition Peoples Alliance (PA) said that more than nineteen thousand workers have lost their employment since the UNF government came to power due to its faulty financial policies.

"The government has no competent leadership to salvage the country from the present economic crisis," said Mr. Ronnie de Mel who is presently a member of the main opposition PA.

"The aid the UNF government has obtained from the Oslo summit during ceasefire agreement in force is less than the amount got from donor countries in 1987 when there was war in the northeast province.

"In 1987 the country was able to obtain 570 million dollars from the Aid Consortium," said Mr. Ronnie de Mel who held the post of Minister of Finance since 1977 for eleven-year period consecutively under the UNP government led by former President J.R.Jayawardene.

Winding up the budget debate, the Finance Minister Mr.K.N.Choksy said the funds allocated by the Oslo aid summit last month would be spent for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the war ravaged northeast province.

"Salary increase and more employment opportunities could be expected during next mid year as a result of government's far reaching fiscal measures embodied in the 2003 budget," said Mr.Choksy.

 

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