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Government will steer through the pandemic crisis, deliver promises to people … Dinesh

Dinesh Gunawardene Sri Lanka Parliament

Leader of the House Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has assured that the government was confident it would deliver the promises to the people steering through the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which was worse than that of the global depression nearly 100 years back.

He gave the assurance speaking in Parliament on the second reading debate on the Budget 2021. He said:“We will deliver. We deliver what we promised. Do not have any doubts about that. It is for that purpose this budget has been presented. We have a team capable of facing any situation. The global slowdown was around 5.2 percent but Sri Lanka still had positive figures. 

The huge mandates President Gotabaya Rajapaksa received at the Presidential election in November last year and at the General Election earlier this year for his Vision for Prosperity and Splendour have enabled us to face challenges. We identified 14 main needs of the country and have put forward a plan to address them including drinking water for all, a three-year plan, to develop 50,000 km of rural roads, and bridges connecting 12,000 villages, increasing the number of national schools to 1000.

Our friend Harsha de Silva parrots all economic theories imported from the West and recites the sayings of economists starting from Adam Smith but the problem of poverty affects the US, too. In our case we have a progressive plan to address poverty. These proposals in the budget could realize those plans.

The unprecedented consequences arising from the current health crisis have spilt over to economies as evident from the problems experienced worldwide in sectors such trade, tourism, investment, and employment.

The challenges the country is facing are basically related to the foreign currency reserves due to the significant reduction in remittances and tourism revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We must protect the environment so that we can counter the economic problems caused by the pandemic. We are planning to eliminate post-harvest losses so that we could boost the amount of produce by 38 per cent.

I admit that the Opposition should criticize the government but there should be constructive criticism. I am an MP of the Colombo District and very happy that this year’s budget proposals have plans to improve the Kelani Valley rail track; I know how many people will benefit from that. I call on all MPs to support this progressive budget so that they can be partners in the process of developing our country.”

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