Local News Update: The Government is making arrangements to provide 10 essential commodities to low-income families at concessional rates as announced yesterday in Parliament by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
He said the basic commodities for the low-income families would be made available through the Sathosa network and also women-run retail outlets to support female entrepreneurship. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday briefed the Parliament on the former government’s spending and the arrears that had to be paid.
Although pointing out that the government has given a minimum approved price of Rs. 50 per kilo when purchasing paddy for the maha season, the Prime Minister added that policies will be implemented to promote and further increase local grain, fruit, vegetables, poultry and milk production.
He said farmers will be encouraged to grow potatoes, onions, corn, soybeans and green grams during the upcoming yala season. He also said that food products such as sugar, milk powder, flour, canned fish and dried fish will be produced locally without resorting to importing them. However, the Prime Minister said: “The previous government that was in power until November 20, 2019 had used up all the budget allocations for 2019 by then. The Treasury was therefore unable to release funds for many of the government’s spending for November-December. “He said the previous government had passed an interim budget for the first four months of 2020, focused only on the 2019 budget allocations for the operation of the essential services. Expenditure allocations can not be taken into account without budget allocations.
As a result the economy as a whole was paralyzed, he said. “Fertilizer companies have withdrawn from importing and distributing fertilizer, resulting in difficulties facing the entire agricultural sector. There has also been destabilization of the whole health sector.
Many of the properties are being confiscated from construction companies. More than half of the medium-and small-scale rice mills were closed because their loans could not be repaid. About 400 tea factories closed down too, “he said.