Speaking at the press conference held today at the Opposition Leader’s office, Parliamentarian Dr. Harsha de Silva said that the government should investigate whether the government has collected taxes from the income of politicians and officials.
He also said:
Today’s private sector salaries have received after deduction of tax. As the government says, taxes will also be cut on government salaries received today. In this, we believe that taxes will be cut for the president, ministers, state ministers, MPs and their families as well. In the State Finance Committee, I took a firm stand and asked the committee to submit a report in the first week of February. According to those regulations, houses, vehicles, if people come to work, if people come to work, if they pay light bills, water bills, all these are calculated as non-financial remuneration and the system has been presented to deduct taxes from them.
The central bank of Sri Lanka held their monthly monetary review meeting this morning. They chose to preserve the current interest rate. People criticise and bemoan the 30%, 40%, etc. interest rates. Yes, this price is excessive. Request an explanation from the CB as to why this interest cannot be reduced. In a number of instances, the central bank has asserted that if interest rates are lowered, aggregate demand will skyrocket. When this occurs, the demand for goods rises, allowing imports and the dollar’s demand to climb.
This means that the interest rate is increased to maintain a low dollar demand. If there are insufficient dollars to meet demand, the rupee will collapse. This is an extremely difficult situation that all concerned parties must comprehend. Those who make a decorative statement should indicate where the solution lies.
Remove the boundaries that have been created in this country and free it up to the rest of the world. Regardless of what others say, I feel and assert that the solution to Sri Lanka’s dilemma resides in our ability to properly integrate into the global industrial network. We cannot escape this predicament if we do not grasp this.
We reaffirm without reservation that the only way out for us is global integration. Whoever speaks on whatever political platform in whatever language, if this truth is not recognised, we cannot escape this quagmire. In a decreasing economy, the standard of living of the populace plummets; this is the absolute reality. The economy’s growth rate is -11.5; if the interest rate does not fall, will it not continue to contract? In a decreasing economy, it should be understood how people can succeed.
This cannot be accomplished if we do not follow my advice. That is, demand could be generated internationally rather than domestically. Therefore, fundamental economic reforms are required. To do this, our nation must increase its productivity and efficiency. To do this, we must enter into beneficial international trade agreements. Please do comprehend; do not be deceived by sugar-coated language.
We could not reach this resolution if the truth is not expressed. We can no longer lie or defraud people. It is a crime, and I do not need to do this because I have other employment alternatives, but we must revitalise our nation. If we are to recover, individuals must comprehend the actual issue.
How to create a highly competitive social market economy, construct a highly efficient market, and monitor it. How to establish social justice, provide welfare to the needy, and tax the wealthy, not the poor, is a topic that cannot be discussed in multiple locations. Currently, many parties have formed alliances and are discussing a variety of ideologies, indicating that their sole purpose is to win elections.
We SJB only have presented a program to uplift this country and we have presented it to the parliament and tabled it. No one has done this. We repeatedly tell this. It continues to be said that regarding the method of adding this country to the global production networks, it can be a farmer who cuts rubber in Warakapola, or a farmer who grows rice in Polonnaruwa, or a farmer who raises dairy cows in Nuwara Eliya, or lady who sews cloth in Homagama. Because it is possible to be a woman, we need to intensify this more than that. Mr. Premadasa started it. There was no government after that for us. We did not have executive power in this country. People like us who were in half-hearted governments in some places had no place for that government. How can we try this for the first time? How to create complex products, from garment to radio to telephone to computer, so this is not an easy thing.
But today I tell this story, when the people go home with the salary reduced by tax cut and think about it, we have to think about the opportunities that we have to recover this country through that referendum together with a group of honest people who have a program and experience and have a relationship with the international community.