The main opposition UNP yesterday charged `the Rajapaksa brothers` now control more than 75 percent of the country`s annual budget after the appointment of Chamal Rajapaksa as the Ports and Aviation Minister.
Party frontliner Lakshman Kiriella told journalists that earlier they had the control of over 65 percent of the budget because the highest number of projects and institutions had directly come under the purview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Mr. Kiriella said this percentage increased up to 75 with the appointment of President`s elder brother Chamal Rajapaksa as the Ports and Aviation Minister.
`There is Rajapaksa poshanaya today when the people are suffering due to the high cost of living,` he said.
The Opposition warned the cost of living was poised to rise further given the economic mismanagement of the government.
Former Consumer Affairs Minister Ravi Karunanayake who told a news conference the world milk powder production had declined by 38 percent, and asked what action the government was taking to avoid a price hike in the local market.
Mr. Karunanayake said while the country`s economy was at a low ebb, the government had acquired a second aircraft for `Mihin Lanka` at a monthly rent of Rs.110 million.
`India has been able to contain its inflation rate at 3.8 percent, Singapore at 1.3 percent, Indonesia a six percent and Thailand at 1.2 percent despite being oil importers,` Mr. Karunanayake said.
He also took the JVP to task for remaining tight lipped when the people were suffering due to the high cost of living.
Asked to comment on the UNP charges, Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Bandula Gunawardane said the Cost of Living Committee met yesterday to discuss price regulations on essential items for next month.
Mr. Gunawardane said the new prices would be announced on May 26.
The Minister said the inflation had reduced from 19.5 percent in March to 16.3 in April, but ruled out the possibility of maintaining it at a single digit rate given the high defence and other recurrent expenditures.