Public outraged as GMOA strike against FTA & taxes

by Staff Writer 03-08-2018 | 8:10 PM
Colombo (News1st) - Doctors attached to the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) launched a strike at 8am today (Aug 3rd). Through the strike, the GMOA called on the Government to implement their proposals with regard to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Sri Lanka and Singapore while also highlighting issues relating to their salaries and the taxes imposed on them. The GMOA believes that the FTA would have an adverse impact on their profession as well as on the entire country itself. They state that the Government refuses to accept this despite their best efforts. Emergency services, as well as health care services provided to children, cancer patients and kidney patients, continued as usual. The strike action was not held in Women's hospitals. The general public who had lined up at hospitals this morning were enraged to learn that the GMOA had launched a 24-hour strike. Outraged the expressed their views to the media as this is the only way that they can get their message across. One particular heartbreaking incident captured by News1st cameras involved an old grandmother who arrived at the Matara Hospital. This particular grandmother who had broken both her feet was brought in a small lorry to the Matara hospital. Her children speaking to News1st noted that they had to wake up at 4 am to make preparations to bring her to hospital, only to find out that the doctors are on a strike. Their views perfectly summed up the sentiments of everyone around the country, "It is the poor man who is affected by such actions" Secretary of the GMOA, Haritha Aluthge addressing a media briefing today stated that the Singapore FTA will cause a great deal of harm to the local economy. Aluthge went on to speak about the new Inland Revenue act and accused the Government of acting according to the teachings of the IMF. He went on to state that the members of the legislature should think about whether such policies will be any good for the country, instead of frequenting nightclubs. The doctor warned that if the Government continues with such policies there will be no stopping a wave of protests across the country. Issuing a communique, Minister of Health Rajitha Senaratne says the GMOA strike action has been launched with a slogan that misleads the public. One of the claims put forward by the GMOA is that income tax has been increased to 24%, the Minister claims that this is only applicable to individuals who earn more than Rs 350,000 a month. The release goes on to say that the income tax for individuals who earn less than Rs. 350,000 continues to remain at 12%.