Even though the present government said no, the Samagi Jana Balawega
emphasized from the beginning that this country needs some sort of agreement and financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund because it gives a signal to the international market that there is a financial discipline in the country paving the way for bilateral and multilateral organizations also to assist the country.
But by now the country has become bankrupt because this government avoided going to IMF at the time of need, despite repeated request by SJB, said SJB Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne MP.
Speaking at the press conference held Wednesday at the Opposition Leader’s office in Colombo, S. J. B. MP Eran Wickramaratne said so.
Currently in governance, there is a problem about individuals in Sri Lanka as people used to gullibly believe in certain individuals subjectively.
The question arises whether it is possible to believe what these people in this regime say. People can reject them based on the failures of the current rulers. However, when new faces with no experience or past performances come, we have to be careful about them.
Unfortunately, today the country has been pushed to such a fate. At the time of the tsunami disaster, the government in power asked for help from
the international community to rebuild the country, but it was not possible for them to rebuild the country. Even after the end of the war, it was said that it was the best time to rebuild the country.
Wickramaratne said that after some time the leaders who claimed to be the fathers of the nation misled the people in various ways saying that they had received a mandate, they were going to build the country.
But so far those parties who claimed in such a manner cannot even go to
the village and hold a meeting. Now they are preparing to ask for a mandate, claiming that it is the best opportunity to build the country they themselves bankrupted due to their inability and mismanagement.
We should think about what the framework needed to build this country is. People should ask what their previous performance is and what they are going to do.
As the SJB has been stating from the beginning, a message is sent to the
international market that some kind of a fiscal discipline is being implemented in the country as and when receiving financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund.
Through that, we can get support from other countries and
bilateral and multilateral organizations. But the government should disclose to the people of this country the facts of the staff -level agreement held with the IMF.
We urge the government to present them to the parliament. There should be transparency in the process of governance. Corruption and irregularities in the country were widespread due to the fact that the affairs were carried out in a shrewd manner.
The MP emphasized that these cannot be allowed to be done
anymore. The government had to engage in some processes before agreeing on the loan agreement with the IMF.
Increasing taxes and increasing government revenue is one of its conditions. The main opposition SJB is not opposed to this. In 2015
government revenue was 10% of GDP. When we handed over the country to this government in 2019, the State revenue was close to 13%. As a principle, SJB admits, the state revenue should be increased.
The conflict between this government and the IMF policies is who should be taxe, dwhat is the percentage and what is the threshold? What is the method for that? How much tax should be levied? What is the amount of tax exemption? What is the percentage? etc.
Since there is no transparency in government activities and functions, they are now being debated in the country pushing the working class
towards trade union actions.
Today, people are pushed to the streets against the government’s tax system. The tax exemption threshold of Rs one hundred thousand in 2019, remains the same even today, but food inflation has increased by 100% between then and now.
Average inflation was over 60 percent. According to economics, the value of money has depreciated by about 60% relative to the rate of inflation. In short, only half of the goods purchased in 2019 can be purchased with one hundred thousand rupees.
Accordingly, the purchasing power of the consumer has decreased. A lakh of rupees is not a luxury salary today. The salary is hardly enough to mete
out the monthly expenses of Transport fees, electricity and water bills, and
children’s education expenses of a middle-class family.
Therefore, he says emphasized that the Samagi Jana Balawega will pressure the government to increase the tax free threshold from Rs.100, 000 to 200,000 rupees without pushing the working people to the wall.