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* SJB will support the government to restructure the loss-making State institutions - Eran Wickramaratne
Wed, Aug 17, 2022, 08:24 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Aug 17, Colombo: Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne emphasized that the restructuring of government institutions which are running at losses is an imperative task for the development of the country.

Addressing a media conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office Wednesday, the MP said that the country has been economically ruined as a result of the government following wrong policies one after the other claiming to follow socialism, liberalism and neoliberal policies.

“Not only has the country not received international support due to its failure to maintain the macroeconomic fundamentals, but the opportunities available to the people of this country to have the people to people relations internationally are also shrinking,” Mr. Wickramaratne said.

Further commenting, MP Wickramaratne said it has been reported that in the first four months of 2022, the losses from 52 government institutions (SoEs) are Rs 560 billion, and the Lotus Tower is full of Chinese debt without any return.

“The question that arises from these published reports is whether the government institutions of this country are run for the people, or for the maintenance of a small group of employees,” he said.

“Governments have had to raise taxes to sustain loss-making institutions and cover their losses. Such loss-making institutions should not be maintained like this. It is time to restructure many government institutions in the country without false pretenses. A situation has arisen where even an airline which has internationally competitive market cannot be maintained in our country today, so they should be quickly restructured and burdening the people with taxes to maintain these SoEs should be stopped.”

Based on the importance of practicality rather than theory in governing a country, the good governance government introduced a price formula to maintain the oil price locally compared to its international price. This government ridiculed it then as the opposition, but now it talks about a price formula and sets the price accordingly, Wickramaratne pointed out.

Analyzing the sufferings of the people due to the government’s policy of controlling commodity prices, the MP said this government threw away the fuel price formula introduced by the good governance government. In order to be popular, by giving petrol worth Rs 400 per liter for Rs. 200, the poor man got an advantage of Rs 2000 when he bought eight liters of petrol for his three-wheeler. But when a rich man bought 40 liters of fuel for his vehicle, he got an advantage of Rs. 16,000. He accused that the country has been plunged in to the bottom of the economy due to such deceptive work.

“The Pohottu government, which followed such a short-sighted and wrong governance, is accompanied by academics and those academics have not managed even a shop, have not made a product, have no experience of being engaged in a service. The economic theories of some of those scholars, who were not engaged in any activity that generates a single rupee of income, have not helped the country.”

“Now the electricity bills have also been increased. The electricity bills of poor households that use 30 and 60 units of electricity and do not even have a refrigerator at home have been greatly increased. The losses incurred by the government institutions are ultimately taxed on the poor people of this country,” MP Wickramaratne pointed out.

Therefore, the MP emphasized that government institutions should be restructured. This is not a work to be done secretly. In order to protect the jobs of a few, it should not be allowed to bankrupt the country at the expense of the rest of the citizens of the country.

Mr. Wickramaratne emphasized that S.J.B is for a social market economy and the poor and low-income earners should be protected. As the electricity tariff has been increased those who consume less than 90 units of electricity should be directly subsidized. Instead of the politicized Samurdhi scheme, he urged the government to introduce a program of direct relief to low-income family units that are affected by the increase in electricity bills.

There is a scientific basis in providing direct subsidies to the people based on the electricity consumption and this is a good alternative to today’s highly politicized and corrupt Samurdhi scheme. Also, Mr. Eran Wickramaratne mentioned that economic and financial policies should be adopted and implemented on a scientific basis.

 

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