Business Times

Three-pronged approach in BT-RCB budget poll

The joint poll by the Business Times and the Colombo-based Research Consultancy Bureau (RCB) on the impact of the budget on individuals and companies had a three-pronged approach.

It was through email, street interviews and the Sunday Times web (, for the first time compared to the earlier regular BT-RCB where it was conducted on email and street interviews. Results of the poll are on Page 1.

Here is a cross-section of the views:
Through email:

  • The pension increase is good but not enough to offset the increase in the cost of living/inflation.
  • Gains are temporary as the cost of living increase will wipe out any gains soon.
  • It hasn’t improved the life of the ordinary Sri Lankan as the mass of people are not employed in the public service, who on the other hand got a pay hike.
  • The government must reduce the budget defict in absolute terms by balancing the primary account and the revenue account and fund any capital budget deficit through savings of the people or market borrowings instead of bank borrowings or foreign borrowings.
  • Maybe exporters and tourist hotels will benefit. Exporters may pass the benefit to the plantations but the depreciation (devaluation) must be much more to offset the 27% increase in wages.
  • All taxation is bad and it is necessary to minimize the distorting effects on incentives, prices, etc. This could have been a better mechanism.
  • Very unlikely that the business environment will improve since business confidence depends on a multitude of factors.
  • Indirect taxes and inflation due to budget deficits erode family incomes.The rich and well-to-do on the other hand evade direct taxes and continue to enjoy life.

Street interviews (by RCB)

  • They (government) thought of only government servants and forgot the private sector (in the pay hike).
  • The Rajapakse regime is taking over the private sector through laws and this budget is a blow to private sector employees.
  • They have not given any value for the salary of government servants because this is just an allowance. It is farce. They have committed to a 10% increase but only an increase of 5% in the first six months.
  • Parliament has become a joke. On Budget day they fought like bulls and shamed the country internationally.
    - This is a good budget. On the way to develop the country they have given facilities for agriculture, government servants .
  • After the war we have to give a lot of support to the government .
  • No value for salaries, gratuity and no salary increase is no value at all.
  • They put (Sarath) Fonseka in jail, played havoc in parliament, and presented a useless budget. The President did this to satisfy the IMF (devaluation). This is worst than JR (Jayewardene)’s work and also this is the worst budget.

From our website - Times Online (

  • I am wondering what kind of government is this – is it a communist-tilted one? We as private sector workers get no benefit from this.
  • The government is using our EPF money as they wish. What can we do when we empowered them (with power and voted them into office all the time)?. Now, we can only watch, curse and wait.
  • I believe none of us is satisfied when we take a look at today's living costs. Often, prices are high, whereas our income is low. As an average Sri Lankan, I am disappointed with our lives. All we're trying to do is find ways and means to get into a stable position, where we can improve our lifestyles.
  • I feel sad and disappointed in almost everything. Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, we only have to make the place beautiful, and the people beautiful inside out!
  • As a nation, I think, we've got so used to these phenomenal price hikes, taxes and so on that, even if there are concessions it’s not a big deal.
  • Can anyone honestly say that they experience a better quality of life?
  • As an individual, the budget has brought me nothing. It only makes us beggars (because of the high debt we have to pay when the country keeps on borrowing).
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