Colombo Telegraph

Mahinda Brothers, Economy And Appointing Sarath

By Vickramabahu Karunaratne –

Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Government kicked out Geethanjana Gunawardena and Senior Minister Dr Sarath Amunugama was appointed as Deputy Finance Minister from November 1st. However it is claimed that Sarath Amunugama, for some years, has been considered as an incompetent Minister. But this new position for Sarath Amunugama is given in addition to the Senior Minister post. Mahinda wanted to keep many important sections of the economy under the state. That is why he was eager to keep Geethanjana as the deputy in the finance ministry. Geethanjana, like so many so called socialists, supported the expansion of the state sector in the economy. It is ridiculous to find that some socialists bluntly assume state take over is progressive even if the state is undemocratic and full of corruption. In fact in many such cases the purpose of the take over is to plunder resources by the elite that in control of the state. Even to day in this country Rajapaksa is one of the most powerful families. Led by Mahinda many members of the family occupy senior positions in the Lankan state. It is claimed that the family controls around 70% of the national budget. The five main ministries controlled by Mahinda and his brother Basil are to consume nearly 45 per cent of the total 2013 budget. A sum of Rs. 604.8 billion has been allocated for five ministries coming under the president and his brother. Estimated government expenditure for 2013 is Rs. 2.52 trillion. According to the 2013 Appropriation Bill presented in parliament recently, the president’s office has been allocated a sum of over Rs.7.4 billion next year. Accordingly the day’s expenditure of the President’s office will be around Rs. 20 million per day. The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development headed by the president and handled by his brother and secretary Gotabhaya has been allocated nearly Rs.290 billion, the single highest allocation in the November 8 budget. The Ministry of Highways has been allocated Rs.131.61billion while a sum of Rs. 87.46 billion was given to the Ministry of Finance and Planning. The Ministry of Economic Development coming under Basil Rajapaksa has been allocated Rs.88.9 billion.

However inspite of this hideous undemocratic control exerted by Mahinda brothers, so called communists and Sama Samajists in the government blindly believe this concentration of economic power is progressive. Can any socio economics model based on an undemocratic and chauvinist state power bring sustained and equitable development to a society? Without taking into consideration the life of the people one cannot make an estimate of development. If not what do we mean by development. Any expansion of buildings, machines, airports and highways do not added up to development unless life pattern of the people has improved with democratic participation in decision making.

The government high level representatives have commented Sarath Amunugama has been given the Deputy Finance Ministry position to rescue Lanka from economy crisis. However critiques state, the sudden appointment given to Sarath Amunugama as Deputy Finance Minister is to obtain foreign finances. Amunugama claimed once that in Lanka, education and health facilities are provided free to the people while transport has been largely subsidized. The fertilizer subsidy has helped bring down the prices of rice and various other products. They are huge investments. Hence he argued that when the people demand salary increases, they tend to forget what is given to them free by the Government. According to him, a salaried person in Lanka does not realize that he is actually getting more than double his salary as he does not pay for his children’s’ education and health facilities. He is benefited by subsidized transport and electricity.

Dr. Amunugama exposed his loyalty to global powers when he said, “we have to think of market economy models irrespective of the label it carries and maintain financial discipline. It is good for a country to have surveillance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There are criticisms made on the US economy by the IMF on the basis of certain criteria. Today, we have a global economy. We should have an institution which will maintain surveillance and see that the failure of one country will not lead to the collapse of the system.” Clearly the state control of Mahinda regime is backed by the so called liberal states of global capitalism. Very correctly they are interested in development projects and not in human development.

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