I sometimes wonder what kind of sycophants live in Sri Lanka! When today’s Daily News claims a world record of the first time a Head of Govt. (HOG) of a country that is the Chairman of CHOGM for the next two years presents a budget! They sound as if it is a GOOD record to hold, how insane?
Are we a nation of idiots? After all convention has it that it is the Minister of Finance of a Country that presents its Budget, and NEVER is the Minister of Finance who doubles up as the HOG. Except of course when it is from Sri Lanka where all conventions are broken and we appear even to be proud of breaking these conventions! After all we also have a world record in the number of Ministers in our Government and some even appear of to be proud of that fact asking Guinness to add a new category, so it could be put in that infamous book of World Records.
Of course he is on his way to create unbeatable records such as the number of times he has presented Budgets consecutively that may never be broken hence!
Of course observers will say that budgets should be presented by people who are responsible for their preparation and most importantly are accountable to it, so that if they are unable to carry out the actions in the budget and its predictions fail, then usually they resign their posts and hand it over to more suitable people at the time. That will not happen here.
In our Country, we have assumed, as otherwise there would be others in this position, that the individual presenting the budget is the most suitable to do so, and has been for the past 8 years and will be for the next X numbers of years.
In my opinion, we must have a change of finance minister every three to four years, so that new ideas and thinking are added to the budget proposals. The budget presented yesterday is broadly neutral with nothing of significance except that all 14 Million phone users in Sri Lanka will pay 5% more for their use, that is an increase of 25% (a quarter more than the tax that we all now pay for telecom use) of the 20% they now pay is up to 25%. This will yield the Govt. an income in excess of Rs8B in 2014 and to my mind the one increase in cost that affects almost ALL adults in Sri Lanka. No Guinness world records for that, I am afraid. Sadly even this fact has NOT been correctly calculated and notified to the people of Sri Lanka by the Press after yesterdays budget.