State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal said the Government in its Budget 2021 anticipates a 5.5 percent growth rate and perhaps even a higher rate next year.
He said if we act together prudently, we can realise a growth even higher. Since we have got used to the COVID-19 situation, we will successfully deal with all areas next year to ensure a sound economic growth, he said.
The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarians are well aware that Budget 2021 will keep them in the Opposition for another 20 years. Naturally, they are upset. They preferred the Government to concentrate on minor issues so that it would be unpopular after some time. Unfortunately, the Government is concentrating on long term plans to provide solutions to people’s problems, the State Minister told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
He said Budget 2021 has given immense relief to the people and really touched the people’s hearts. It is not like reducing the price of dhal by Rs.10 which is not a real relief. True benefit is such as when the former Mahinda Rajapaksa Government gave electricity to the people. When only 70 percent of the people had electricity, it was increased up to 99 percent. Therefore, 29 percent who didn’t have electricity are now enjoying the benefit. “SJB parliamentarians are making comments on the Budget due to their lack of knowledge of what the country really needs. They are listening to international agencies, the diaspora and those who write books on economic theories. They do not hear the farmers, the fishermen, small and medium sector industrialists, large scale industrialists and Stock Exchange investors. They are only interested in listening to foreign agencies which are not the grassroots relevant to the Budget,” he said. Cabraal said every single person they spoke to in the country said this Budget has delivered the goods for them. It has laid emphasis on 100,000 families looking for jobs for their children. At present, only 53 percent of the people have water in their homes. When we provide water connections to the remaining 47 percent, wouldn’t that be a huge relief to the people, he said.
The State Minister said, when 100,000 kilometres of roads and 10,000 bridges are built, isn’t that a relief to the people? When people suffer from the human-elephant conflict, the Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa enjoys the company of the elephants. Does he realise that there are thousands of people affected by this conflict who need support urgently to make their lives better? It is not a priority for him. But, we think of the people and want to resolve the human-elephant conflict so that the people in those areas can live peacefully. Cabraal said the Government is setting up 1,000 national level schools. When people have a national level school in every Divisional Secretariat division, it would be a boon for them. It won’t matter to the SJB members, but it certainly is a benefit for the people. When university students demanded jobs at Lipton Circus, the Yahapalana Government gave them tear gas. When we give them jobs, and build highways and other roads, it is a true benefit for the people. This is what a country really needs, and that is what we would deliver through this Budget.
(Source: Sunday Observer – By Uditha Kumarasinghe)