The loss of SriLankan Airlines alone had put each citizen in a debt trap of Rs.23,000,”Megalopolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said in Parliament yesterday.
“The 4 percent VAT increase would not support to fill the loss incurred by the SriLankan Airlines alone,”he said. Minister Ranawaka said another reason for the debt trap is that the increase in commercial loans. He added that there was only one percent commercial loans in 2000 while the rest were relief loans. He added that by 2010, the rate of country’s commercial loans increased to 55 which was unbearable.
The total society debt of the country is Rs 3,449 billion in 2015,Minister Ranawaka said.
The minister told the House that this amount in 2015 had increased in addition to the government debt.
He said that the debt of society is the total loans taken by the people in addition to the loans obtained by the state from domestic and foreign sources..
He made these observations yesterday joining the adjournment debate moved by UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha on the massive waste and corruptions made at the Sri Lankan Airlines during the previous regime.
He also said that the debt services is high in many countries. “In Japan debt services is 227 percent of the GDP but that it only accounts to 15 percent of that country’s revenue,”Minister Ranawaka said. “But, in Sri Lanka the total debt services is 90 percent of the revenue,”he added. Minister Ranawaka said mal-investments made during the previous regime have entangled the country into a debt trap.
He said the Mattala Airport had suffered a loss of Rs. 4,478 million, Hambantota Port Rs. 4,949 million and the Puttalam Power Plant Rs 75,000 million during the past few years as a result of mal investments.
He said that most of those projects do not bring profits to the country. “But the then government had invested in them despite the fact that there were many other projects that could have been profitable had had they been implemented.
“The rate of tax in 1978 was 28 and it has been reduced to 10 by during the previous regime as that government granted tax reliefs to the rich people.
“The Mahinda Rajapaksa regime reduced the number of rich tax payers from 700,000 to 500,000”, Ranawaka said.
“If the government maintained the Tax policy in 1990 until today we could have presented a budget without a budget deficit.”
Sandasen Marasinghe and Disna Mudalige