The Government`s maiden Budget presented to Parliament yesterday came under severe criticism from the main Opposition UNP, which claimed that it was `a sugar coated concoction` with numerous repercussions expected in the years to come.
UNP Assistant Secretary Tissa Attanayake said the Budget looks good at a glance, but the methodology to find revenue for relief measures announced in it, was not clear at all.
Mr. Attanayake said the Government would be compelled to borrow money from various sources to finance the huge Budget deficit, and would result in an unprecedented rate of inflation next year.
However, he said they should study the Budget proposals at length before making further comments.
Former Deputy Finance Minister Bandula Gunawardane said the Government would resort to printing money as usual to cover the Budget deficit, and therefore, inflation and interest rates would go through the roof next year.
The former Minister said people would need Rs 2,000 next year to buy commodities bought at Rs 1,000 this year. ?A 2000-rupee note will be issued by the Government as a result for the first time,? he said.
He warned that the bank interest rate would rise up to 24%, and also the exchange rate of LKR to US$ to Rs 108, aggravating the present economic problems.
In contrast, the JVP, which supported the President in his election campaign, welcomed the Budget, saying that privatization had been rejected as a policy under this Government.
JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti said that they commend this Budget presented by the President.
He said that the principle of national economy was widely accepted worldwide, and this Government too had taken that aspect into consideration when preparing the Budget.
Despite supporting UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the presidential polls, CWC MP V. Puthrasigamani said they would support the Budget when it is taken up for debate, while being in the Opposition.This favourable stand was taken due to the allocation of Rs 200 million for estate housing projects and the move to set up a vocational training centre in Nuwara-Eliya, which was a long-felt need in the area.
?It is a very good Budget,? he said.
The JHU also echoed similar sentiments saying the Budget had focused more on national economic development in the country, with emphasis on Rural Development projects such as `Samurdhi` and Small and Medium-scale enterprises based in those areas.
The party`s Parliamentary Group Leader Ven. Athuraliye Ratana Thera said attention had also been paid in this Budget to inflict moral values among children with the help of temples at village level.
SLMC General Secretary Hassan Ali, however, said every Budget seems good initially. Therefore, they wanted to observe how things would be worked out practically as announced in the Budget.
Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), while calling it a ?moderate? Budget, noted that it had allocated Rs 93 billion for Defence purposes, being the highest ever in recent times. ?This gives a wrong picture to the nation, as regards the peace process,? TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham said.
He added that the implementation of any positives in the Budget will depend on the peace process and said all eyes will now be on how the President deals with the ethnic issue.