first Cabinet meeting to prioritise fertiliser subsidy: PM
By Shane Seneviratne
Addressing a rally at Kandy, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse yesterday
promised to assemble the first Cabinet meeting under his Presidency
to prioritise the Rs. 350 fertilizer subsidy.
The UPFA Presidential candidate further pledged to maintain an economy
with minimum foreign intervention. Mr. Rajapakse emphasised the
need of boosting the local economy initially in the Colombo and
Gampaha districts and letting the development flow towards other
districts gradually. The economy should be balanced where the profits
would reach all the people, he said.
Mr. Rajapakse added that the position of the Middle East housemaids
should be elevated to the extent that Sri Lankan women were trained
to become nurses and sent to countries like America, England and
Middle East. This has already started with Labour Minister Athauda
Senevirathne shouldering the responsibility, the Premier said.
Rajapakse reiterated his stance on the N-E issue saying it should
be a unified country. “I am going to gather all the forces
in the South and come to an agreement on this issue. We want a unified
country. We should achieve it by discussion,” Mr. Rajapakse
emphasised the importance of forging coalitions, quoting S.W.R.D.
Bandaranaike, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Chandrika Kumaratunga in
1956, 1970 and 1994 respectively as examples.
“Mrs. Kumaratunga formed a coalition with all leftist parties
to ascend the Presidency. This is not a novel experience. We have
always been with each other. Now I am in a coalition of 25 parties
including the JVP and the JHU. So I am definitely on my way to that
position.” he said.
Mr. Rajapakse also promised an industrial unit for every province
and a subsidy package to low income pregnant mothers and their children
up to five years. He also pledged to open more schools.
yesterday the Premier outlined his plans to reconstruct irrigation
tanks at Ibbagamuva for the benefit of paddy farmers. Addressing
the gathering he pledged 25 houses to the homeless in each district
and reminded them of his programme of providing ambulances to rural
areas as laid down in the Mahinda Chintanaya.