Sri Lanka subsidy ideology is a myth: business leader

Dec 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankan people are being fooled by state subsidies when high inflation triggered by big budget deficits erodes their income, the head of Sri Lanka’s top business chamber said. “The idea of subsidies is an absolute myth,” said Anura Ekanayake, chairman, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Most people were not aware that subsidies given by governments that reduce the value of peoples’ assets and income through high inflation were not really helpful, he told a public forum organised by the Pathfinder Foundation.

“When a government robs the people, drives a huge budget deficit and then inflates the economy, to balance it a bit you give, by the way, some subsidies like fertiliser subsidies and free education (it does not help),” Ekanayake said.

Ultimately, impoverished people like poor farmers never get their due and remain poor.

“The level of awareness of the state robbing the public is extremely poor in our country,” Ekanayake said. “The myth of subsidy should be taken away.”

Subsidies are popular with most of the public in the belief they get free handouts or lower prices at no cost to them, a myth propagated by generations of politicians to win votes.

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