Early Christmas hamper from Mahinda

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister is promising to give paid paternity leave, duty free vehicles for good taxpayers, free spectacles for the disable, and splash out billions of rupees by way of welfare subsidies, if he wins next month’s presidential poll, his party said Tuesday. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister is promising to give paid paternity leave, duty free vehicles for good taxpayers, free spectacles for the disable, and splash out billions of rupees by way of welfare subsidies, if he wins next month’s presidential poll, his party said Tuesday. Premier Mahinda Rajapakse’s coalition party is banking on its subsidy heavy economic agenda to propel Sri Lanka to an eight percent growth next year, his economic advisor Nivard Cabraal told reporters during the launch of the party manifesto.

“We feel an eight percent growth is achievable next year. And the welfare measure in the manifesto will not be a burden on the budget. We have already got some assurances from donors like the Millennium Development Fund,” Cabraal explained.

Rajapakse 59, is against privatisation of key state enterprises – banks, power, energy and transport – but promises to restructure public enterprises to be on par with private sector.

But he promised to do his best to boost Colombo’s tiny bourse, one