Minister Basil Rajapaksa has emphasized that the Government will not alter the economic policies to suit international monetary agencies, betraying the sovereignty of the country.
Opening the Budget debate on behalf of the Government, he said this is the first time that the Government succeeded in securing 2.6 Billion US Dollars assuring that it would be carrying forward its economic policies based on the Mahinda Chintana. IMF was clearly told that the Government would not sell any state property. The Government also laid a condition assuring that no subsidy hitherto given would be curtailed.
He reminisced how the United National Party obtained loans in the past from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He said several conditions were agreed upon to secure 60 Million US dollars in 1980. The UNP secured this amount by privatizing small enterprises. Thereafter, in 1990 the farmer community was betrayed and agreed to secure 30 Million US Dollars from the ADB by agreeing to curtail the fertilizer subsidy. In 2002, the UNP regime obtained 556 Million US Dollars by agreeing to conditions to privatise the People’s Bank, the Income Tax Department, the Insurance Corporation, the Petroleum Corporation and the Railways Department. Thereafter, the trade unions took Court action and managed to stop privatization of certain institutions, and had to suspend their efforts only by securing 60 Million US Dollars.
Mr. Rajapaksa made clarifications on the Budget deficit during his speech. He said they expected to bring down the deficit to five percent. But due to the rapid development they had to maintain it at eight percent. Last year it was 9.9 percent. But the Acting Finance Minister presenting his Budget yesterday said the deficit was eight percent. This is necessary for the development of the country. He added that reducing the deficit is vital for the development of the country.