UNP and DNA to vote against budget 2011

Allocations for health and education ‘very low’: Tissa Attanayake

By Gagani Weerakoon
The main UNP and the DNA both will vote against Budget 2011 as it “has hardly anything in it for the common man”.
UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake said the budget had only catered to the ‘super rich’, while dishing out a few crumbs to the masses, who are struggling to survive.
Attanayake said the budget did not provide for investments, nor had it addressed the issue of a long overdue decent salary hike for public servants.
The government has conveniently forgotten the pledges made during the last parliamentary and presidential elections and given a token salary increase computed under a very confusing method, he said.
Attanayake said allocations for vital sectors such as health and education are very low, which goes to prove that this was a budget catering to the privileged class.

Tax plan
UNP National List MP D M Swaminathan, meanwhile, told parliament that the budget proposals 2011 were riddled with errors.
He said there was a provision of a penal liability introduced for auditors and tax practitioners who misused statutory provision of any act or regulation of any provisions therein.
This provision was completely unethical and unwarranted from a professional point of view, he said during the debate on the second reading of the budget.
“How can any authority question any interpretation by a professional stating that his interpretation regarding the tax liability has been misinterpreted?” he asked.
The budget proposals, he said, had a provision to write off unpaid tax liabilities up to March 2009 of all enterprises with a turnover below Rs100 million.

He said: “This provision is contrary to the Supreme Court decision that an earlier amnesty that was available and introduced by the UNP was unconstitutional. If the Supreme Court order of the earlier amnesty provided to the tax payers was unconstitutional, in what context could this provision to set-off tax liability be enforceable? There are provisions to be made under section 170 subsection 7 of the Inland Revenue Act, where the Court shall order the appellant tax payers to pay the full tax in dispute or put them of pending the determination of the appeal in the relevant courts in Sri Lanka. This provision is extremely unsatisfactory, whereas when an appeal is pending in a court of law regarding a tax dispute the appellant tax payer will have to pay the department the amount of tax in dispute.”

Now that the war is over there cannot be any reason to increase the defence budget by Rs13 billion for 2011, the MP said.
MP Swaminathan also said that in the run-up to the last presidential election, President Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured a salary increase of Rs2,500 per month to the public servants. More funds had been allocated to the Defence Ministry at the expense of the public servants, he said.

Temple row
Participating in the budget debate, TNA MP Suresh Premachandran said the displaced people are still not resettled and the region is destroyed.
“The schools are abandoned and the public life has collapsed. We can see that there is a plan to destroy the culture of the area. Kovils are destroyed and the cultural identity of the people is also destroyed. There is a large Buddha statue situated near a Kovil. But these temples are established in areas where there are no Buddhists. We object to that,” he added
He also alleged that the budget presented is racial and was aimed at destroying the Tamil culture.
“This budget has not given any concession to the ordinary people. More money is allocated for defence.”

Fund collection
DNA MP Sunil Handunnetti said the monies collected from the new funds for pensioners, private sector employees and migrant workers as envisaged in this budget will go into the consolidated fund and will not be utilised for the activities of the relevant Ministries. This budget is meant to collect money to resurrect the Treasury and not the people.
“The Treasury was more bankrupt than the people in this country today thanks to the economic policies of the Government. The Government was promised to give salary hike for the public servants during the interim budget for 2009. But it failed in giving a sufficient salary hike for public servants through the Budget 2010,” he added.