Budget 2017: The tale of hikes and strikes continues…

Budget 2017: The tale of hikes and strikes continues…

Budget 2017: The tale of hikes and strikes continues…

Written by Lahiru Fernando

14 Nov, 2016 | 7:42 pm

The 2017 budget has been the talk of the town in the recent days since the reading last Thursday (November 10). One of the notable revelations of the budget has been the proposed Rs. 2500 minimum fine imposed on the road law violators.

The most outspoken sectors on the new rule? The bus owners, owners of three-wheelers  and motorcycle riders. The irony writes itself…

All island strikes… called off

An All Island Private Bus and Three Wheeler strike which was to commence from midnight tonight November 14 to protest the budget proposal to increase the minimum fine for traffic violations, has been called off… temporarily.

According to Gemunu Wijeratne (President – Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association) discussions with the minister had ended successfully with the Minister allegedly informing that the Rs. 2500 hike “was not mentioned in the budget.”

Wijeratne added that further discussions are planned for tomorrow (Nov 15) after the the cabinet of ministers are informed about the issues of the bus owners.

The current minimum fine for traffic violations is Rs. 20, but it is to be increased to Rs. 2500 as per a proposal in the 2017 budget.

Govt. feet on solid grounds…

On Sunday November 13, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake made a statement, saying the government will not waver in its commitment to make Sri Lankan roads safer by instilling a greater sense of discipline and respect for traffic rules.

The statement issued yesterday noted that the proposal to increase the minimum fine to Rs. 2500 would not be changed.

The plate served by Minister of Finance – not so canteen-friendly

The 30% hike in water tariffs also impact hospitals, tourist hotels, guest houses and industries.

The usage fee per unit has been increased by Rs. 42 while the monthly service charge will be increased to between Rs. 725 and Rs. 10,000.

In this backdrop, the Canteen Owners Association has decided to increase the prices of several food items including lunch packets.

“If our bill this month is  Rs.30,000, next month, with the revision, we will have to pay about 43 to 45,000 rupees. This causes a serious problem,” said  Asela Sampath, President – All Island Canteen Owners Association.

Cup of tea – Rs. 5
Cup of milk tea – Rs. 5
Hoppers and short-eats – not increased
Lunch packets, fried rice and kottu – Rs. 10

The voice of the people…

“A ten rupee increase is unjust. It seems that everything is increasing in price. None of the prices are reducing. They reduce the prices of some things by 20 rupees and then impose a price hike of 50 rupees or hundreds of thousands of rupees.”

“When the prices of bakery goods increase imagine the impact on a family with three to four children?”

“The people have been flung from the frying pan into the fire.”

The JVP comments…

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake has commented on the 2017 Budget:
“The price of a kilogramme of sugar will be reduced by two rupees. They think that people consume sugar in bulk. They could have simply said that they are ready to give a free spoon of sugar per kilogramme, rather than just reducing sugar by two rupees. They have then pledged to reduce the price of a kilogramme of sprats by five rupees. Are sprats purchased in bulk? So which means if a kilo of sprats is purchased two sprats will be given free of charge?”

Anura Kumara Dissanayake also added that the country is “not governed by the cabinet.” He claimed that the country is governed by the economic committee which, according to the JVP leader, comprises of Charitha Ratwatte, Paskaralingam, Malik Samarawickrama and Ranil Wickremesinghe. “They allocate 599.2 million rupees to purchase two cars. It is approximately 300 million rupees a car. 300 million is allocated to purchase a car.. Two cars cost close to 600 million. Can these people really put a stop to wastage?”

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