Speaking during the budget debate yesterday, JVP MP Achala Jagoda said the budget had failed to address some of the key issues that were mentioned in the Mahinda Chinthana manifesto.
Mr. Jagoda lamented that the government pledged to provide fertilizer at Rs. 350 to the entire plantation sector but the budget allocation provided this benefit only to paddy and vegetable farmers.
He said the tea small holders were facing a severe hardship as prices of fertilizer used in tea plantations have increased with the average price of a kilo of fertilizer rising to Rs 1000 . Mr. Jagoda said tea small holders account for more than 80% of country`s total tea production and played a significant role in earning foreign currency.
?The fertilizer subsidy should be extended to them as well?, he said. Mr. Jagoda charged that the government was reducing the cess for tea smallholders as the targeted cess revenue of Rs 750 million was much less than the sum targeted in the previous budget.
He also complained that the budget had not paid sufficient attention to the gem industry in the country. Mr. Jagoda said the state workers faced difficulties when they went to obtain the proposed Rs. Three million housing loan. The MP also expressed his displeasure over the government`s decision to make changes to the housing loan eligibility of security personal.