The government is making arrangements to provide 10 essential commodities at concessional rates to low income families from March 1 Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa announced in Parliament yesterday . He said the essential commodities for the low income families would be made available through the Sathosa network and also retail outlets run by women in order to support women’s entrepreneurship. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa briefed Parliament yesterday on the expenditures of the former Government and arrears that needed to be paid.
The Prime Minister while pointing out that the government has given a minimum certified price of Rs. 50 for a kilo when purchasing paddy for the maha season added that policies will be introduced to encourage and further increase in the production of grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry and milk locally. He said during the upcoming yala season farmers will be encouraged to grow potatoes, onions, corn, soya and green gram. He further said that food products like sugar, milk powder, flour, canned fish and dried fish will be produced locally without resorting to import them.
The Prime Minister further said: “The previous government which was in power until November 20, 2019 had used up all the budget allocations for 2019 by then. Therefore, the Treasury was unable to issue funds for many of the expenditure of the government for November-December.” He said that the previous government had passed an interim budget for the first four months of 2020, based on the 2019 budget allocations for the functioning of essential services only.
Without expenditure allocations, expenses cannot be put into account. As a result the entire economy has been crippled, he said. “The fertiliser companies have pulled out of the import and distribution of fertiliser resulting in the entire agriculture sector facing difficulties. The entire health sector too has been destabilised. Many of the assets of construction companies are being seized. Over half of the medium and small scale rice mills have been closed due to not being able to pay back their loans. Almost 400 tea factories have also closed down,” he added.