What a load of hot air, in a fiscally conservative budget that has NO GROWTH written all over it. In the international environment, when we have at most two more years left before world interest rates rise by 400 basis points, and we as a country will go bankrupt unless we renegotiate for the long term before that, we will have to tighten our belts and face recessions.
We should have gone all out for a growth budget, not throwing caution to the wind. Unlike much of Rajapakse policies that did not contribute to sustainable growth based public investments, for which we are dearly paying a HUGE price today, we could do something more to stimulate demand and achieve sustainable development. SDGs.
So instead of wasting Rs500M on 50 electric buses, because China would have given 100 free anyway, we should have invested US$10M immediately in getting down some solar panels from China, at knockdown rates, (before prices rise again, when the glut clears up) and told people that they would be given a subsidy of 50% of the cost (no NBT, PAL, VAT please on import) as soon as their solar plants using these panels are operational. Of course this figure is peanuts, and can be increased, with demand, as the payback is a no brainer, because we will not have to build power stations that urgently.
Just a thought, why are we talking about an oil refinery in Hambantota, when by 2040 we expect to be all electric? We should direct this US$2B investment in renewable instead (I know the CEB lobby wont allow it, but to hell with them, they are part of the problem!)
You can bet your house that within 6 months all these solar panels will be put to good use, with a saving of 200MW daily on the National Grid, because of private investment in Solar. This AMAZINGLY QUICK return on investment will win an international award for far sighted policies. NO BRIBES, NO CORRUPTION IN SOURCING, as the prices at which they are imported will be publicized in detail!
With the improvement in Battery technology, just ask Elon Musk, in time, this solar energy can be stored and used at night to balance the power needs too.
This will stimulate the Solar Energy business so fast, that others will immediately see the benefit of converting, and stimulate the Economy AUTOMATICALLY as this investment will be the catalyst that people need. Now why is a Government with advisers like Deshal de Mel, and Anushka Wijesinghe, not making these decisions? This alone, a simple investment of US$10M, which in 6months will have a payback of US$5M for a true cost of only US$5M, spur the economy by 2% to growth due to the knock – on effects, is the cheapest way to spend that money and worth 2000 Electric Buses. This money is PEANUT compared to the spend!
So who are the intellectually challenged people deciding what a budget should have? Shame shame shame for coming up with such a lame and pathetic budget, and worse that our pundits living in Colombo have even commended it, which shows the level of knowledge they have and concern they have for the Country.
We have a HUGE aspirational problem of YOUTH. They want jobs that pay more than on offer. You cannot have a lame slow growth budget & expect everything will be hunky dory, it WONT. You don’t have to lose your pants by borrowing, invest money that is wasted, like cutting down on the Ministers perks, President’s Office allocation, just to finance this growth. This is just one of a hundred such ideas I have that can easily lead to the needed 10% growth we as yet never had, and we need it before the time runs out in two years when world rates rise.