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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 820

2013 Budget Serves Capitalist Business Interests

Colombo, 13 November, (Asiantribune.com):

In a press release, General Secretary Ceylon Federation of Labor Mr. S. Siriwardena has criticized the Budget for 2013 presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa as Minister of Finance as its serves capitalist business interests.

Mr. S. Siriwardena said this budget is in line with his earlier budgets promoting the business interests of the capitalist class, by hides more than its reveals, and the state of the economy is painted in rosy terms.

General Secretary Ceylon Federation of Labour, said the working poor, wage earners in the private sector and those who labour in the informal sector; all of whom who make a significant contribution in the local economy have been ignored in the Budget. Instead of bringing relief to these sections, they are being exhorted to submit themselves to intensified exploitation by capitalist employers to improve their businesses, Mr. S. Siriwardena said.

General Secretary of the Ceylon Federation of Labor in the Press release further pointed out:

“What is being deliberately denied in the process is the central place wages occupy in raising productivity. Wages in the private sector are increasingly and constantly under pressure with wage rates trailing behind the increase in productivity resulting in shift of gains to capital at the expense of labour. The Minister of Finance seems to be oblivious to this fact. Policy induced wage restraint in the private sector has the direct result of weakening the morale of workers leading to industrial unrest. It is by no means a strategy for economic development.

“The claim of per-capita G.D.P. at US$ 2,800 is misleading. With heavy investment in infrastructure (with borrowed money) there is bound to be GDP growth. Translating this growth into per capita GDP in US dollar and divided by the population means in rupee terms Rs. 308,000/- per year or Rs. 25,700/- per month. According to the official DCS Report for 2010 the average income was Rs. 9,104/- per month. According to the same Report the median income was lower at Rs. 5,803/-. Thus the per capita GDP means little to the larger population.

“While it is claimed that the rate of inflation is on the decline we witness the paradoxical situation of the price index rising. The very fact that the government has thought it fit to give a cost of living allowance of Rs. 750/- to public sector employees is proof and acknowledgement of the steep rise in consumer prices.

“The urgings of the unions in the private sector to get the unit value of the cost of living index publicized officially by the government to enable the unions to go for revision of their wage scales with their employers have fallen on deaf ears.

“The Rs. 1,500/- allowance for public servants and the increases given to pensioners and others are sure to be wiped out due to inflation.

“Instead of using taxation as a tool to ensure income distribution the government’s taxation policy exacerbates income inequality. Taxation ratio in Sri Lanka has been declining and remains well short of the average rate of developing countries. A noticeable feature is the increasing reliance on indirect taxation than on direct taxes heaping burdens on the least bearable sections of the people.

The plaudits the Budget for 2013 has received from capitalist business circles in the country is an indication of the interests it serves.”

- Asian Tribune -

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