13 August, 2020

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O’ Mother Lanka What Ails Thee ?

By Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Though the treasury vehemently rejected the claim, that the tax revision which came into effect from March 31, was made on the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), facts were revealing. The Treasury said that the decision to raise the import tax on vehicles was taken for the economic development of the country and to save foreign exchange. The decision to increase taxes on vehicle imports was taken on a common basis and therefore taxes for three wheelers and motor cycles also had to be increased.

Increase in prices

It was pointed out that the increase in fuel prices and a large number of vehicle imports to the country have expanded the trade deficit and steps should be taken to control foreign exchange spent on imports. Well, are not these situations the background for the conditions outlined by the IMF? Increase in taxes pushed the

anger simmering around the poorer classes  in to the upper class society. Many from the bourgeois society made devastating attacks on the government. They say that the authorities must think far, before making haphazard changes which affect the business community. When investor confidence in a country is lost, it is at a cost to that country. Who would want to expose themselves to invest in a country where there is no proper policy? Apparently the business community was made to understand that the 2011 budget would consist of  remedial measures for the problems faced by them and that the policy decisions would prevail for the next decade. Having trust on that, the business community went ahead investing and negotiating transactions with foreign counterparts. Suddenly when changes have been made prior to the lapse of even six months, after announcing the set targets for the year, how can the business community have any faith in investing in this country?  What is the guarantee given to the investor to say that there is no risk in investing in this country? How can one expect foreigners to have investor confidence when local bourgeoisie has no confidence? Such lamentations were heard from all sections of the business community.
The entire country is agitated by the sudden changes that are taking place. All those who expected prosperity are made to abandon such hopes. Many are yet to come out of the shock they are faced with. How could they believe this regime that fed the fire of patriotism could play out the people so rashly? Billions of dollars are not properly accounted while the corruption and waste has come to rule the entire structure of the regime.

Slave of IMF

This intern has made the government a slave of the IMF. It is usual in countries guided by the IMF and other multilateral organizations that corrupt layers become the strongest supporters of the path proposed by such agencies. We are witnessing that scenario here. While the masses including the local business community are super exploited and plundered, the upper most rich society will live in extreme luxury. Naturally they are scared and they depend on repression and state terror against all those who take the path of agitation. Open and subtle repression of media is a primary aspect of this repression. In a climate of increasing  intolerance and jingoism, state media are conducting a malicious smear campaign against critics of the current regime, including media activists. SLWJA President G Koththigoda, for instance, has been targeted in a sinister character assassination campaign by the government controlled television channel, ITN.

Media traitors

On its news telecast on 22 March, ITN stated it would soon be exposing a ‘traitor’, while showing pictures of Koththigoda in the background. The news anchor noted that a group of ‘media traitors’ had earlier fled the country, and added that the government controlled news channel would soon be exposing another ‘traitor’ who had been a close supporter of Nava Sama Samaja party. The ITN programme is part of a government orchestrated campaign of discrediting dissenting voices. A similar attack was aimed at media union leader Dharmasiri Lankapeli, a well known NSSP leader. Following FMETU-organized protests against the suppression of media trade unions within Lake House, leaflets were circulated by Lake House accusing Lankapeli of supporting the LTTE and participating in anti-government activities. The programme Vimasuma renewed its attacks on 1 February with a report about the “Black January” campaign that highlighted Lankapeli’s role and accused its participants of not recognizing LTTE atrocities.
Given the degree of impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of attacks against media, media people are either leaving the country or have become silent about the deeds of the government. However this kind of state terror has not suppressed the mass agitation. The fourth Vipaksaye Virodhaya held in Kandy was successful, in spite of some agents of the government making an idiotic attempt to disrupt the agitation.

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Latest comments

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    Increase in prices.
    The business community has exploited the people long enough.
    Look at the plight of the vegetable farmer on the one hand and the consumer on the other. The massive margin between the prices paid to/paid by the two categories says it all.
    Slave of IMF.
    Better the IMF and its conditions than Exim Bank of China and its exorbitant Interest rates.
    Is it not better to expose details of the latter borrowings and their impact on the economy than to scream about slavery to the IMF?
    Media traitors.
    It is very clear that dissension is being strangled in this country although some are still convinced that freedom to make anti-goverment statements on Blogs is a sign of Media Freedom.

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    Yes , I think the tax policy in the GOSL is very uncertain. Earlier they said when the war is over things would come to normal, but in fact things worsened.I am not an Economist, but some one can explain the reasons?

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    ‘Erudition alone does not maketh a Man but a lot of Common Sense, does’. Trust this quote will find it’s way to the Literary circles. I find there are many a so called experts who are well educated supporting this CORRUPT MR regime, defending every action of the regime. The latest being the increase of vehicle taxes. At a discussion with an advisor to the President, when I explained it is unfair for the increase of the tax to those who have already opened LCs for vehicle imports, but should have been for any new imports, he was firmly of the view that there is nothing wrong as they can easily afford. The irony is, this very same person is getting a duty free vehicle arriving in the country next month.

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      I agree that the increase in taxes on vehicles is unfair.Wish that the government will rectify it in a democratic manner.

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        Max I am sorry these hoodlum does not understand DEMOCRACY. If they do we will not be in this plight today.

      • 0
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        Poor Max…be careful, what happened to Dr.DaYarn Jayathilake could happen to you too! ;)

  • 0
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    Very true WickramaBahu, incompetency in every field like Education,Health,Justice & Juduciarry,petroleum,Power & energy, now finance.

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      Education is a problem because we pick idiots like Bahu and educate them assuming they will help develop our education. But look what happens..when they get their education, they become mega-idiots and try to destroy the whole nation. He is a disgrace.

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      Hardy,
      You have ‘hit the nail on the head’.
      All competent experts in almost all fields have fled sri lanka as all of them were ignored, and idiotic sycophants were appointed to run all state enerprises which are all loosing massive amounts of peoples’ money.
      A good example is the former wharf clerk allowed to create and run an airline which is loosing billions. He left it to others and is now czar of the external affairs ministry
      Most of those who go abroad for postgraduate education do not return – as they can get jobs abroad which need knowledge and competency only, and not sycophancy like in sri lanka,to go up in their specialities.
      Also, their childen can get better education abroad.
      This is what ails sri lanka in the non-governmental sectors.
      Very soon only mediocrities will be left.

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    Bahu is a lost case. He could not go to Canada and he was on stage with Ranil W. He and Vasu deserve our sympathy.

    He has about 1000 people voting for him. He should go to a remote village and help build a hydro plant using his education that was given to him free by people’s money.

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      He was on stage with the LTTE all along and now with the diaspora on every single manic commemoration. We should ask our money that we spend on educating him back. He can’t build a Hydro power plant, all he could do is build a small paper plane.

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