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Increasing production and income only answer to cost of living problem: President


“The only answer to the problem of cost of living is to increase production and income received by the people. Price of imported goods is determined by the world market forces. Their prices could only be regulated by reducing taxes. 17 crops that could be grown locally were identified and they have been barred from importation. Now, cultivation of these crops locally has already begun. The revenue earned by this activity goes to our farmer and the village” says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

President states that following the increase of price paid to a Kilo of paddy from Rs 32 to Rs 50 both the production and the revenue the farmers earn have gone up. “Its benefits are now being reaped by the people including farmers of Mulativu, Kilinochchi and Jaffna districts as well, but those who shout about human rights have failed to take notice of it”. President added.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made these remarks during a meeting with women representatives and activists of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (March 18). A large number of participants representing the SLPP Women’s organizations from all the districts and women members of the Pradeshiya Sabhas were present at the discussion.

President started the discussion commending SLPP Women’s organizations for their contribution in ensuring his and his government victory at elections. President requested everyone to analyze and compare the policies of the government and their benefits when evaluating the progress of his administration.  “The benefits of agriculture-based economic development are being distributed among all people. It will be beneficial for both farmers as well as the consumer. We did plenty of work after assuming the office. The abolition of the PAYE taxresulted in increasing the income of public employees. Those who do not see this progress are trying to spread falsehoods and lead the country back to abyss,” the President added.

The government cannot remain silent when it recognizes the problems that torment the people. In order to develop the local dairy industry, grasslands have to be established. If farmers are disowned of their lands used for cultivation for generations, providing them with a practical solution cannot be considered as destruction of the environment. The government has never encouraged deforestation. Renewable sources are projected to meet 70% of energy needs by 2030. That will help environmental conservation to a large extent. The termination of oil palm cultivation stopped the environmental damage that has been caused in many districts. President Rajapaksa emphasized the need to develop the environment in addition to regulating it.

He pointed out that since the government came into power, it has done a great deal of work for the benefit of the people and yet the forces hostile to the country are spreading falsehoods to suppress this truth and mislead people. “Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa ended the thirty-year war and brought about unprecedented economic development in the country. But the people, who were deceived by the falsehoods propagated by the opposition, defeated him in 2015. What followed was a catastrophe for the country. National Security was compromised while the economy was in shambles. The sovereignty of the motherland was betrayed. Now once again we are back on track to restore what we have lost.” President Rajapaksa noted.

President Rajapaksa said that his sincere effort was to bring prosperity to the people by rebuilding the country and requested women representatives of the SLPP to work together to achieve this goal.

The women representatives who participated in yesterday's meeting apprised the President of a number of issues affecting the society in general and their districts in particular. Creating self-employment  opportunities, difficulty of obtaining bank loans, microfinance problems, rural housing requirements, cost of living, drug menace, and children's education were a few among them. The President said that an effective drug control programme is now in place and it will take some time to eradicate the menace from the grass-root level.

Basil Rajapaksa, the National Organizer of the SLPP said that specific steps have been taken to create 200,000 self-employment opportunities for women this year.  “The government has restricted the import of dried fish and maldivesfish. Women can now work on processing them as an avenue of income. There is also ample scope for self-employment in the agricultural sector.” Mr. Basil Rajapaksa further added.

Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi, Leader of the SLPP Women’s Front, State Minister Sita Arambepola, Members of Parliament Geetha Kumarasinghe, Kokila Gunawardena, Manjula Dissanayake, Rajika Wickramasinghe, Muditha Prarashanthi and Diana Gamage were also present at the discussion.

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