Tangled priorities and budget dreams
Daily Mirror Editorial
Nov 21, 2011

The annual budget for the year 2012 will be presented by President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Parliament today. From the third budget after the conclusion of war, people still expect the reliefs promised long ago by the government. However, their eagerness in anticipating such comforts has long died down; with the way things are going, their disillusionment is hardly unexpected.

In fact, with the obstinacy from the part of the government, which willfully ignores the cries of its people, the citizenry have lost faith in the budget and its many-promised relief. Their loss of hope is such that, even if the budget does not bring any of the expected comforts, they will swallow its bitterness without much commotion.

Despite all, the budget holds a prime importance in the countryís decision making as it reflects the focus of the policy-makers. A budget alone will tell you whether the countryís high-heads have chosen skyscrapers above its people or whether highways are chosen over poverty alleviation.

Sadly, little do they realize that there is no point building highways if the citizen canít afford a litre of petrol for his or her vehicle; nor can the carnivals be food for entertainment when people live with empty stomachs.

Every time peopleís grievances are presented, the readymade excuse is that the governmentís full focus is on the post-war development projects, but this cannot be regarded as a valid excuse anymore, for infrastructure alone does not account for sustainable development.

Perhaps, what the high-heads do not realize is that enjoying luxuries at the expense of the common man cannot last forever. By widening the gap between the haveís and have-notís, willfully or otherwise, the decision-makers of the countryís economy invite danger that can end in revolutions; signs of which can be seen right throughout the world. When it comes to exercising the peopleís power, Sri Lanka can be no exception.

At any rate, corruption in state institutions, political favoritism and massive expenditures by the state that does not fall within the budget should be stopped immediately. The magnitude of governmentís tangled priorities is such that, its extravagance beats that of rest of the world; and the bills that are passed arbitrarily scare away investors rather than inviting them in.

Thinking big is a sure sign of development; however, thinking big the wrong way can result in drastic consequences. If the government cannot genuinely consider bringing relief to its people who voted them into power, they should at least consider spending within their budget in the days to come.

After all, accumulating debts should not be our definition of development.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka