Rural folk reflect urban concerns of governance and transparency – RCB countrywide pollView(s):
The island-wide survey conducted by the Colombo-based Research and Consultancy Bureau (RCB) on the performance of this year’s budget and expectations in the 2013 budget raised some unexpected concerns.
Similar to issues felt in Colombo and other big cities, the survey which reflects a more down-to-earth view of the people also reflected concerns on governance, transparency, nepotism, independence of the judiciary and high borrowings among other issues.Results of the widespread poll in nine provinces with a total of 945 respondents are elsewhere in these pages.
Here are comments from the regions:
- A budget must mirror the coming year’s programme but present-day budgets do not have just objectives. It reflects selfishness and lacks justifiable estimates showing only an excess budget meant to fleece the people in the coming year.
- The many elections held during the year waste a lot of money affecting the budget programme.
- Wastage and public corruption due to wasteful projects often happens in the budget. nDiscontinue all unsuccessful projects and channel this money to essential services like power and energy sector agencies which are white elephants.
- Do not cow down to conditions by other countries when negotiating international loans. In the first place the country cannot afford such costly loans. Plan the budget with an eye on development.
- Make sure budgets are for the betterment of the people, not politicians.
- Budgets should help the working people and provide a just income to families.
- There should be a change in the leader of the opposition. The country needs someone with a backbone.
- Till our opposition becomes stronger there will never be a people’s govt. or a budget for the people.
- nDo not pander to the whims and fancies of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. Ensure that budgets help to meet the national requirements.
- The budget should avoid tax hikes which ‘encourages’ corruption.
- It must speed up the development of country.
- It must strengthen health, education and common amenities.
Colombo & Kalutara
- The Government prepares budgets based on IMF demands.
- The IMF gives loans on (Treasury Secretary) Dr P.B. Jayasundera’s agenda. The government swallows his ‘dead ropes’.
- Instead of a Mahinda Chintana budget, present budgets increase the woes of the people and are based on global agendas.
- Budgets are not aimed for national development but to meet the Rajapakse family agenda.
- Provincial development – Contracts are given with an eye on commissions, not on provincial needs, and given to relatives and friends of the ruling party.
- The Government doesn’t plan for the future to ensure lower food prices. It doesn’t have any plans for long-term storage of vegetables, fruits or paddy and thus have no initiatives to reduce the cost of living.
- What is required is a real increase in salaries and not just an increment or adjusting salaries based on vague promises.
- Get rid of corruption and plan for the country’s development with an eye for investments.
- Lower taxes by 10% from the present 25%.
- nAvoid tax relief concessions to relatives and friends (of powerful politicians). Have an equitable tax system so as to avoid taxes imposed on people in dubious ways.
- Limit expenses of annual celebrations (often of a political nature) and use them for development.
- Remove the culture of large scale bribe-taking.
- Provide job opportunities to people who depend on Samurdhi and other relief scheme and make available more job opportunities.
- Bribes and commissions to be disallowed, offenders should be strictly dealt with by the law. Encourage all (political) parties to join in helping to attract investments.
- There should be adequate transparency when taking loans for development and the conditions attached to it.
- Give more teeth to (independent) commissions and allow a free hand to those governing them.
- The opposition has to share the blame with the Government (for the state of affairs in the country). Because of the lack of a strong opposition, the Government has a free hand to abuse the system.
Galle & Matara
- Expose to the country the ‘concocted’ data from the Central Bank relating to the sharemarket, projects and other bogus deals.
- The Treasury should provide enough finance to paddy farmers.
- The Government should stop weakening the opposition and ensure that a strong opposition exists without subtle overtures (on and off) to Ranil Wickremesinghe.
- Corruption carried under the guise of development must stop.
- As the war ended, that money should trigger more development.
- Encourage projects by small entrepreneurs and provide them financial assistance on low interest terms.
- Enact tougher laws against corruption and waste.
- Stop intermittent elections and hold them only when necessary.
- Election candidates must be educated people, provision should be made for this and voters should only elect those with a good education background.
- Spend money in a transparent manner.
- Salary increases to the public and private sectors should be given based on the cost of living and essential needs.
- Provide jobs for graduates and give them a salary commensurate with rising COL.
- Utilise graduates for more productive needs in the economy.
- Stop make-believe projects and launch real ones which are of benefit to all.
- The underworld should be reformed and channelled for more productive use in the economy rather than utilising them for ‘dirty’ work and thuggery during elections.
- Along with new development projects, the state should provide relief to people, annually.
- Everyone (public and private sectors) is hoping for a 30% wage hike this year.
- Stop devaluation of the rupee.
- Ordinary people should be consulted before budget preparations. Nowadays only certain (elitist) groups are invited to make representations.
- The budget should also have provision for natural disasters like floods.
- Instead of helping only the Rajapaksa’s, the Government should put the country on its feet with a productive budget. A budget that will help the poor to have a square meal of rice everyday.
- Development must be the focus of the budget.
- Cut down unnecessary expenses of ministers and ministries and their security. Also limit the import of vehicles.
- Use roadmaps and development strategies to develop the country. Stop leasing our resources to other countries.
- Provide relief to the paddy sector and the export sector and build up factories across the country.
- Recruit people who fit the jobs – from ministers to the common man – so that they are more productive at less cost.
- Do away with mega projects that add to our cost of living.
- Give more attention to local production and export items.
- Sarath Fonseka or Sajith Premadasa are better options as the country’s opposition leader.
- Don’t pander to foreign policies or international bodies in drafting budget policies. Be independent.
- Our suggestions are useless in budget preparation as the Government prepares budgets to suit the policies of other countries.
- Shouting and ranting by Wimal Weerawansa is of little use to the Government.
- If the poor man is not helped by this budget, suicide will be the only solution.
- Do not get carried away by false promises of ‘Cabraals’ in the Government who only warm their seats and do little else for the benefit of the nation.
- The rulers decide how much their share of the budget should be and then distribute the balance for everyone else.
- Budgets should lead to years of development, not only for a single year.
- Stop the brain-drain.
- Economic development should go hand in hand with the rising COL index.
- Health and education need more money from the budget.
- Help the pensioners, disabled war heroes and the poor.
- Device a scheme to provide reasonable interest on loans for those engaged in self-employment.
- More transparency on income and expenditure in a way that ordinary people understand.
Polls: BT collaboration with RCB
For the past two years, the Business Times (BT) and the Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB), led by well-known market research personality Ravi Bamunusinghe, have been collaborating on polls on a range of issues dealing with development, rule of law, budgets, stock markets and cost of living, among a range of other issues. The joint BT-RCB polls – through email and street interviews to gauge public opinion on national issues – have led to a tremendous response from civil society. The RCB is essentially a social and market research organization and recently announced a partnership with Sensory Logic, a US-based company, to introduce facial coding to Sri Lanka and India.
This is the first time that the concept is being brought to South Asia as a market research tool with the aid of the President of Sensory Logic, Dr. Dan Hill, and this is the first time the US company is spreading its wings to Asia.
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