The JVP has organized a massive people’s agitation to be held on the 23rd of this month with the participation of workers, farmers and youths organizations against the government that moves along a destructive economic policy increasing the prices of consumer goods that torment ordinary folk and imposing high taxes on people in order to settle its wasteful spending says the Leader of the JVP Comrade Anura Dissanayaka.
He said this at a press conference held at the head office of the JVP yesterday (2nd). The General Secretary of the JVP Tilvin Silva and the Information Secretary Vijitha Herath also participated.
Speaking further Comrade Anura Dissanayaka said, “As a result of the economic policy followed by the government the economy of the country has critically broken-down. The promise the government that came to power on 8th January 2015 was to build an economy that would be beneficial for all; to improve people’s sources of income to match cost of living and increase income opportunities. Ranil promised to fill people’s pockets with money, create a situation where those who owned a bicycle could buy a car and one million jobs for the youths. People had high hopes when they elected the government. People had a notion that a UNP government could build the economy of the country. However, the present administration has done everything to drag the economy of the country towards destruction during the last 3 ½ years. People are confronted with a massive economic crisis.
The government is unable to control the depreciation of the rupee. All their measures have failed. They also don’t have any programme to get free from the debt burden. The masses are being further imprisoned in the debt trap. From 1978 onwards the strategy of eh UNP was to sell national resources. The present government too has entered the same path. The government has failed to fulfil the basic needs of the people. The prices of goods and services that fulfil people’s basic needs have been increased. Bus and train fares have been increased; Fuel prices are being increased. During the past four months, the price of a litre of diesel has gone up 30% – from Rs.95 to Rs. 123. Despite the government saying train fares would be increased by 15%, the fare between certain stations has been increased by 35% and 40%. The government is unable even to state the ratio of the increase in train fares. The rural people have been made destitute as their basic needs cannot be fulfilled due to the increase in prices of essential goods. Taxes have been increased through the Inland Revenue Act. Tax for all services including Tele drama productions, literary works have been increased. Government’s only economic strategy is increasing taxes.
The proposals brought by the government as a solution for the economic crisis have all failed. Their proposal is to limit importing goods. Does the Ranil – Maithri ‘joint’ government has a moral right to limit imports? Ranil Wickremesinghe got down two vehicles spending Rs. 599.3 million. One vehicle cost nearly Rs. 300 million. How far does he travel in such a vehicle? He often comes to Parliament from the Temple Trees by helicopter. He doesn’t travel even 50 to 60-kilo meters by these vehicles. The President too got down two similar vehicles. Also, ministers as soon as they got their portfolios bought new vehicles. Each of them cost Rs. 40, 48 or 72 million. They also bought buildings from their relatives and associates paying exorbitant rates as their offices. Even at present, a large number of ministers engage in foreign tours. They go on foreign tours every two or three weeks. The President takes a large number as his entourage when he goes abroad. Recently, 63 people including relatives, members of his staff and journalists were taken on a tour. This is how leaders of the country waste people’s money.
Government states importing vehicles would be restricted. This includes permits given to MPs as well. This is indeed a very ridiculous statement. For, MPs get their permits as soon as they are elected three years ago. MPs other than the JVP MPS get down the most expensive vehicle they could import with the permit. Some of the vehicles imported by MPs cost over Rs.45 million. Stopping permits now don’t affect MPs. It affects only state employees. Some of them have sold their old vehicles in order to get a new vehicle from the permit. Now they do not have either the old vehicle or a new vehicle. While ministers in the government spend ultra super luxury lives people are asked to tighten their belts. It is like the mother crab walking sideways asking its young to walk straight.
The strategies the government takes to arrest the economic crisis are unsuccessful and they also intensify the crisis and drag the country towards the abyss. The government said our country would be made another Singapore. However, after 40 years it has been proved that the economic policy they follow is unsuccessful. As such, these rulers need not be allowed to play with and gamble with the lives of our people. A people’s struggle should be launched against these rulers who torment the masses by increasing taxes and prices of essential item and services. The JVP has already organized awareness programmes and agitations. The first of these agitations will be held in Colombo on the 23rd. We hope to carry out a massive protest campaign with the participation of the farmer community, fisherfolk, working masses and youths. Recently, the mass protests were turned into comedies. People’s opposition was turned into ridiculousness. As such, we hope to carry out a genuine people’s protest campaign against the oppressive government. We invite all to rally with us.”