Written by Staff Writer
09 Mar, 2019 | 8:45 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – The second reading of the budget for 2019 took place for the fourth consecutive day. The following views were expressed in parliament today(March 09).
UPFA MP, Dr. Sarath Amunugama noted that 2019 budget was a “Sihina Maliga”. He stressed that in 2018 the government expected to generate a revenue of Rs. 2015bn while in reality, they made Rs. 1771bn, Rs. 244bn less than the expected amount. He inquired why the Kandy Expressway was not completed and LNG power plant constructions have not commenced.
UPFA MP, S. B. Dissanayake noted despite the decision not to increase the price of locally manufactured alcohol it has been increased by Rs. 70 since yesterday (March 08). According to him, it was due to tax on Ethanol being increased by Rs. 200.
He noted that 1200 bar license were issued and 400 out of them were bought by just three businessmen. One of the businessmen out of them was Arjun Aloysius who had purchased them through W.M. Mendis & Co.Ltd. S.B. Dissanayake added that 80% of the alcohol sold by these companies avoid government taxes causing approximately a tax revenue loss of Rs. 50bn to the government.
He stressed that recently 10,000 liters of ethanol was seized in the north. Shockingly the deputy commissioner of excise in the north forced the STF to release the seized ethanol. Another 35 barrels of smuggled Ethanol were seized in Piliyandala and when the ethanol was produced before courts, it was identified as moonshine.
He added that although the commissioner of excise has been brought under the Ministry of Finance no action was exercised against him. He added that this was a conspiracy to assist parliamentarians to smuggle ethanol into the country without any obstacles. He also said that during his tenure income generated was Rs. 123bn and income generated at present its only Rs.104bn.
JVP MP, Nihal Galappaththi noted that the budget is based on nothing but debt. He stressed that it aims at privatizing and selling all assets. “The finance minister aims at privatizing the port, airport, and even public toilets” he concluded.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Buddhika Pathirana contemplated that in 2013 when President Sirisena was the Minister of Health, it was proposed to display graphic outcomes of tobacco usage on the package. It was rejected by the supreme court. Yet the the law was passed and today 80% of a cigarette pack is covered with graphic warnings.
He also noted that daily 55 individuals die due to smoking and the war only killed 35-45. He added that due to these statistics, the government was wise to take the decision to stop tobacco cultivation by 2020.
Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment, Daya Gamage noted that garment industry commenced in Sri Lanka during president Premadasa’s tenure was criticized by the opposition and today 43% of export income is generated from the garment industry.
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