UNP National List MP D. M. Swaminathan on Wednesday (Oct. 29) accused President Mahinda Rajapaka of not allocating funds for the Northern and Eastern Provinces through the Budget 2015.
MP Swaminathan was participating in the second reading stage debate on budget 2015. The UNPer demanded to know why Northern and Eastern Provinces were being treated as ‘no man’s land’.
Swaminathan alleged that the government had deprived the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) run Northern provincial Council of required funds. The government’s policy as regards the Northern Provincial Council was contrary to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and, therefore the current situation wasn’t acceptable, he said.
While noting that Budget summery had tabulated Rs. 56 billion as “Provincial Tax sharing and devolve revenue”, MP Swaminathan sought a clarification from the government as to what that amount was being utilized for.
“Turnover Tax has been abolished in the Provincial Councils and there has been a subsequent direct taxation that is levied by the Central Government which is levying taxes that should be exercised by the provincial councils by doing so the provincial council is deprived of their mode of taxation and as such their revenue.”
He stressed that though the government had taken an arbitrary decision to restrict foreigners from entering the Jaffna district, it had thus far failed to explain the rationale behind the decision.
“In this Budget the Northern and Eastern Provinces have not been given any funds. Re-settlement of refugees, the 85,000 widows living in the Northern Province and the 12,000 orphan children who are living in the said areas have not been provided with any funds. They have treated the Northern and Eastern Provinces as if they were ‘No man’s Land’. These are factors that the Tamil speaking population will have to consider regarding the treatment by the government towards the Tamils. The restrictions of foreigners’ entry to the Jaffna District is totally illegal and the government has not yet given any reason why this restriction has been introduced. In the same manner estate workers had a provision that 50,000 houses will be built for them, but no provision has been made in this Budget as far as the welfare of the estate workers are concerned.”