Ravi gathers public ideas before budget | Daily News

Ravi gathers public ideas before budget

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in discussion with the Wilachchiya villagers.PICTURE BY- ANURADHAPURA CENTRAL GROUP CORR.

Better solutions to problems encountered by people could only be found through interaction and discussion, said Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Anuradhapura.

He said that ground situations of such problems are better understood by practically getting involved in discussion with the people, rather than issuing recommendations while being in Colombo. The Minister expressed these views during the inaugural meeting with the farming community of Kokkichchiya in Wilachchiya, Anuradhapura recently.

The event was organized with the farming community in the village under a series of programmes organized by the Finance Ministry to discuss the existing problems of businessmen and farmers in rural provinces.

Steps have been taken to compile public proposals for the 2017 budget on the sidelines of the series of meetings in accordance with guidelines set by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“We traveled throughout the island and collected views from about 1,534 organizations before we prepared the 2016 budget . We hope to collect public ideas in the same manner, before we prepare the 2017 budget too. The meeting with the rural community in Kokkichchiya, Wilachchiya created an ideal background towards this effort. We should always go to the people in order to find pragmatic solutions to their problems. We cannot measure real life conditions of the people by reading recommendations and other documents sent from Colombo,” the minister noted.

The minister said a big sum of money is needed to solve the problems in the rural areas and the government needs another huge sum of money to repay the accumulated debt of the past as well. Not having an income avenue to repay such huge debt, we should create them ourselves.

“Development is fast taking place in every part of the country today. But it is not limited to Hambantota or any other selected area as in the past. Only a short period of time has lapsed since we undertook a sluggish economy. Give us the opportunity to put this country on the right path," he said.

"All are talking about the VAT. Why was the government compelled to increase VAT? The government’s income is not sufficient to repay the current debt. There are ample opportunities to start new projects. The government will not be annoyed by displaying placards and shutting down shops. People will maintain such misconceptions as long as they do not realise the ground reality of the economy. It is apparent that there are only narrow political elements operating behind those placards," added Karunanayake.

"Money is required to build the country. Tax has to be imposed to earn money for that purpose. As a responsible government, we will prevent exploiting tax revenue and in return, will use such tax money for the benefit of the people,” he said.

The Minister focused his attention to the perennial problems faced by the rural farmers and business community during his interaction with the residents of Wilachchiya. Farmers and business community members who participated in the event presented their recurrent livelihood problems including issues of fertilizer, agricultural implement and other issues relating to irrigation, to the minister.

Rural Economic Affairs Minister P. Harrison, Provincial Councilor Kasthuri Anuradhanayake, Development Finance Department Director General A.M.P.M.B. Athapattu, several officials attached to the Ministry of Finance and a large gathering of residents of Wilachchiya also participated in the meeting. 


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