April 25, 2019

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    Rupee depreciation: No cause for alarm: Minister

    October 24, 2018

    Depreciation of the rupee has caused an unnecessary fear among the public. It is not a big problem to the Treasury because it acquires an income almost double the debt payments it incurs from import taxes. The problem is due to the price escalation of goods imported by the people, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.


    He was addressing the gathering at the ‘Sahasak Thuru’ one million tree planting projects at the Ratnapura district programme, recently.Minister Ranawaka said the country’s current account balance stood at US $ 2 billion when expenditure on imports is deducted from foreign exchange earning.
    “We spent US $ 1,800 million on import of milk, sugar, apples, grapes and other products, some of which could be grown or produced locally. Apart from this, we spent US $ 500 million on drug imports and nearly US $ 1,000 million on vehicle imports. When you consider the people going abroad, Sri Lankan currency worth nearly US $ 1,600 million is spent abroad. We earn an income of US $ 4,000 million from the tourism industry and as such we could easily overcome this crisis,” he said.
    Minister Ranawaka said the President launched a programme themed ‘Api Wawamu Rata Nagamu’ in the past.“If we produced our own goods which could be produced locally, all that money draining out of the country could be saved. We could transform losses into gains and strengthen our economy. This could not be done by installing former rogues back in power. This was a thing which should be built up through a new journey with new hopes and aspirations,” he said.
    Minister Ranawaka said projects launched by his ministry were always projects beneficial to the country. It did not launch loss-making project such as SriLankan, Mihin Lanka, Hambantota International Conference Hall, day-night markets and Mattala airport. The government after assuming power had fulfilled most of the pledges concerning the establishment of democracy. It changed the authoritarian, Executive Presidential system. Independent commissions had been established and strengthened, he said.
    Although owners of certain media institutions misused media freedom to engage in a wicked media operation, the government did not try to torch media institutions or intimidate journalists.The Right to Information Act had enabled anyone to question the action of all state institutions and even the President and the Prime Minister, he added.

    The government had also fulfilled most of its pledges in the economic front too. Public service salaries were increased by Rs. 10,000. The members of the police and security forces would increase two-fold by 2020. There had been a corresponding increase in pension payments. The government had not resorted to abductions either, he said.
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