New Year lift for people
The new year
begins today on a propitious note to most Sri Lankans who have
had to endure many hardships on the cost of living front brought
about by the vicissitudes of world trends during the last year.
It comes in the form of a multiplicity of reliefs directly
benefitting the consumer as well as key sectors in the economy
that are in the mire, to stimulate a revival.
The slashing of prices of diesel, petrol and kerosine, the
substantial reduction in the price of a cylinder of Gas no doubt
is going to be felt in a tangible form by the consumer.
It goes without saying that today even the price of a humble
roti or a bundle of gotukola is conditioned by cost of fuel and
gas. Now with the sizable reduction especially in the price of
gas and the corresponding decrease of this component added to
the cost of commodities and services there should be a reduction
in the price of many items.
The Government therefore should ensure that this benefit is
passed on to the consumer. Because the practice has been to
increase prices whenever additional levies are imposed by the
Government but not reduce them when the opposite happens.The
huge concessions granted to three wheeler operators in the fuel
price reduction is commendable but it must be ensured that the
public are benefitted.
The Government's move should be seen in the light of the
current global recession that has brought powerful economies to
their knees. Especially the massive relief package granted to
the tea and rubber industries which have been badly hit by the
global economic melt down is commendable. The relief granted to
the agriculture sector over and above the budgetary allocations
is also an indication of the seriousness of the Government's
resolve to pursue in earnest its food drive in the wake of the
world food crisis last year.
That it has to forego a massive Rs. 50 billion to meet these
relief measures demonstrates the sensitivity of the Government
to the woes of the public and key sectors of the economy in the
face of a global economic crisis.
What is even commendable is its move to cut down on
Government expenditure and allocations of the President, Prime
Minister and Government Ministers in deference to public
feeling. This is in contrast to previous regimes whose arrogance
of power blinded them to public travails.
This is perhaps the biggest across the board relief package
granted by a Government notwithstanding the many economic
constraints, chief of which is the ongoing war to defeat
All signs point to 2009 being the 'Year of Triumph over
Terrorism' in keeping with the Government's slogan for the new
year. There is also much optimism that a political package too
would see the light of day during the new year, offering a
permanent solution to the long drawn out national question. It
is the hope and aspiration of all communities that this would
pave the way for a lasting peace allowing all people to live in
amity, concord and brotherhood as witnessed in the past, devoid
of racial divisions and hatred.
Already we see more and more people in the North agitating
for an end to terrorism and a desire for integrating with the
national polity. The recent anti-LTTE demonstrations in the
North show how the people there yearn for peace. The ongoing
mega development projects in the East have opened the eyes of
these people to a life that they were shut off from all these
years. Hopefully the new year would see the replicating of the
Eastern scenario in the North with the complete eradication of
terrorism, allowing the Tamil community to savour the fruits of
It is the duty of all sections therefore to help achieve this
objective putting aside all divisions and parochial
considerations. It is only through the ending of the conflict
that the country will be able to move forward economically and
The new year should also make every single individual resolve
to contribute their utmost towards nation building and national
development. We say this because today there is an absence of a
work ethic among most employees particularly in the public
sector who prefer to do the least at their workplaces and not
give their full commitment to their tasks.
There is a need for a collective responsibility by all
concerned to serve the nation at this most crucial hour.
We wish you a happy new year.