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Govt has presented development oriented Budget: President

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President Maithripala Sirisena has hailed the Budget presented by Minister Mangala Samaraweera as one that is development oriented.

He also expressed his appreciations of the proposals made by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera. He stressed that the Unity Government would continue to work for the betterment of Sri Lankans. He was addressing the house at the Committee Stage Debate of the 18th allotted day of the Appropriation Bill 2018.

During his address, he said:"I don't think it is good to give any benefits to beer or any other drugs through a Budget in order to collect revenue. We should not strengthen our economy through drug sales. We should also reject imported cigarettes as well. Measures against alcohol and cigarettes were the reasons the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised Sri Lanka for its results-oriented approach to combat alcohol and drug abuse.

Health is the ultimate profit, which is common to all. Lord Buddha preached Arōgyā Paramā Lābhā. The free health services and free education guaranteed under the Unity Government has enabled people not only to be healthy but also be spiritually developed.

As a nation, we all should be happy about the success gained during the last three years. Minister Senaratne is lucky to have a freehand over his ministry, which I didn't have during my days. He has my fullest blessings to attain all goals. My blessing is with all the ministers of this Unity Government and they are to work freely and independently. The Unity Government has delivered more than the Rajapaksa administration. When I was the Minister of Health in the Rajapaksa administration all that I could allocate was Rs. 1.5 million per cancer patient. Now we have changed this and there is no limitation on the allocations we have for a cancer patient. Adding more to it, we have good doctors, nurses and other sectors in the healthcare service. Their contribution has led the World Health Organisation to commend Sri Lanka's efforts.

The Government of China has donated a renal hospital at the cost of Rs. 12 billion. This is a result of my visit to China in 2015. We were able to enter into an MoU with Australia and I think we should be able to see the results of it soon. I received donations for the campaign when I was the common candidate. I didn't want to spend it on posters but have used it for a different purpose. I have built establishments to provide accommodation for those who accompany patients to hospitals.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government will continue to do all that is possible to uplift the lives of ordinary citizens and improve their living standards. 2018 was themed the year to produce more local foods."

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