ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 24

JVP wants Mahinda Chinthana promises in 2007 Budget

By Malik Gunatilleke

The JVP has put forward its proposals which it claims are based on promises made in the Mahinda Chintana 2006, for accommodation in the 2007 Budget.

JVP MP Lal Kantha told The Sunday Times the JVP Budget proposals are based on the unfulfilled promises made by the Government in the run-up to last year’s Presidential elections.

“We have made 50 proposals for the Budget based on the promises made in the Mahinda Chintana,” he said.

He said among the promises in the Mahinda Chintana which have not been fulfilled, providing jobs for 10,000 graduates and salary increases for public and private sector workers are the JVP’s main focus.

“The Government currently has 14,000 jobs available for these graduates and we have proposed that these vacancies be filled,” he said.

He said the Mahinda Chintana promised that public sector workers’ salaries would be revised every six months in keeping with the rising cost of living, but the Government had failed to increase salaries by the promised amount.

“According to the promises made in November 2006, public sector workers’ salaries should have been increased by Rs. 1100 in June but they were raised by Rs. 375 only. We have proposed that the promises made are kept,” he said.

The JVP has also made several other proposals including providing fertilizer for paddy and vegetable farmers as well as for small and medium scale farmers.

“The Government promised to give this relief to farmers but 30% of farmers do not get the necessary aid. We want the promises to be fulfilled,” Mr. Lal Kantha said.

Among other proposals made by the JVP are relief for fishermen, making temporary public sector workers permanent and uplifting industries.

MP Lal Kantha warned the Government that if it did not accommodate the proposals that would benefit the public, the JVP would not support the Government.

Meanwhile, the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) has also put forward several proposals in respect of health services.

GMOA spokesman Dr. A. Padeniya told The Sunday Times the GMOA was concerned about the health service and Government expenditure on health.

“Currently the health sector receives only 1.7% of GDP while it has been less than 2% for the past 10 years. We have proposed a higher expenditure on health services,” he said.

Dr. Padeniya said the US allocated 14% of GDP for health while countries such as India, Bangladesh, Nepal and even Ethiopia allocate 5% or more for the health sector.

“World Health Organization (WHO) documents and material have revealed that 1.7% is one of the lowest percentages for health in the world. Only a few countries spend less than us on this sector,” he said.

He also said administration in the health services has to be improved and corruption eliminated.

“There was an administrative body called the National Council for Administration which looked into these matters but now that has been abolished. We have requested that a similar council be reinstituted,” he said.

The Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) also made its proposals for the Budget while voicing its strong concern at the Government’s expenditure.

CMU General Secretary Bala Tampoe said the Government should increase the salaries of public and private sector workers as promised.

“We have made several proposals on this matter and we want the Budget to include these salary increases,” he said.
He said that during former President Chandrika Bandaranaike’s time, Government expenditure on defence was Rs. 70 billion but now it has been gone up to Rs. 90 billion.

He said the Government is printing money for this purpose and that is the root cause of inflation in Sri Lanka.

“This kind of raising money is totally unnecessary and meaningless. Public money is being spent to bomb the LTTE but the Government is not even succeeding in that,” he said.

Mr. Tampoe said the money allocated for defence is going straight into the pockets of Government officials.

“As for our expectations, we have none, because I don’t think the Government will make the Budget in a way that will benefit the people,” he said.

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.