Secretary General – TULF
( November 30, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The frequent announcements made by the Government gives me the impression that the Government is becoming rich. Duty Free importation of luxury vehicles, millions of rupees at low rates of interests given as loans to Members of Parliament and some such other facilities, for them give great surprise to the people. When one looks at these concessions will get the impression that the country is very wealthy. I must congratulate, the good Governance for leading the country towards prosperity. When these facilities are made available to the Parliamentarians why not extend, to the poor people also, some concession such as :-
01. Take action to give loans for agricultural purpose and small industries at low rates of interests and for longer periods.
02. Consider granting of loans for longer periods at low rates of interests to help those who lost heavily during the war.
03. The up-country workers who agitated for Rs.1000 as daily wages are getting only Rs.730 . They are people who had been working in the estates for generations undergoing untold hardships extending for a period of over 200 years. The Government can easily afford to give them free or subsidies food items to cover the balance of Rs.270 to raise their wages up to Rs.1000 per day.
04. As was done in the past, consider giving food items on ration basis or subsidies basis for those poor people who live on semi starvation. I have suggested this to the Governments a number of times.
I was also a Member of Parliament for many years but we never got this type of assistant from any Government in the past, perhaps due to poor financial position the country faced at that time. In 1970 when I got elected to Parliament, the allowance paid for the MPs was only Rs.600 per month plus a sum of Rs.75 to employ a clerical hand. Only in 1977 when His Excellency J.R.Jeyawardena became Prime Minister later as President, the monthly payment and the sitting allowance were raised to Rs.1000 and Rs.500 respectively. Even in respect of allocation of vehicles we had to choose between a six seater or an eight seater, Mitshubishi Jeep.
If this Government can afford to give these concessions to MPs I am compelled to believe that the Government is economically very sound. The way the ruler lives, so are his subjects. We observe that the Commercial Banks are showing very large profits they make every year and therefore the banks can very well afford to reduce their rates of interest on loans giving to poor people. I anticipate that the Government will take suitable steps based on my suggestions.