The cash strapped government continued to dole out bonanza after bonanza to Parliamentarians, this time with the government offering at least 60 MPs the choice between a Rs. 200,000 additional travelling allowance or a high end four-wheel drive Sports Utility Vehicle for which the government will have to pay a monthly rental of Rs. 590,000 per month, per MP.
According to the Sunday Times, the increased bonanza is offered to help the MPs carry out their development related work in their respective areas. The Rs. 200,000 travelling allowance is separate to another standard travelling allowance already granted to these MPs.
MPs are currently given a travelling allowance of around Rs. 75,000 a month, while Ministers are paid a monthly travelling allowance of Rs. 175,000.
The Government last week presented the revised Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill to Parliament. When passed, the public will have to pay an additional four percent tax, from the existing 11% VAT. The government has claimed that they have had no choice but to slap on the additional tax on the people as the government is cash strapped and have to pay off the billions of loans taken during the term of former President Mahinda Rajapaksas. The revised 15% will also be applicable for most of the private health care services.