Opposition wants government to give Rs 10,000 each to poor families
ECONOMYNEXT – The Opposition is calling on the government to grant the poorest of the poor in the country Rs. 10,000 per family so that they can get through the COVID19 crisis.
Curfews and curtailment of economic activity have hit these people, who are nearly half of the population, hard former Minister and one of the leaders of the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
In a Facebook post, Ranawaka said the sudden imposition of the curfew, which was intended to keep people at home without congregating outside, achieved the opposite.
“People congregated at Bus stands and Railway stations, they crowded supermarkets and grocery stores and rushed to pawn their jewellery,” he said.
The curfew and the reduction in the work available has hit the daily-wage earners he said. “We must provide relief for them.”
The government last week reduced the price of lentils (Dhal) and canned fish drastically as a measure to help the daily-wage earners.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has rejected calls for a total lockdown of the country because he is concerned about the well-being of the daily-wage earners.
But Ranawaka does not think that is enough.
“The poor need other items as well. They need Milk Powder for their children, flour and medicine”, he said.
Ranawaka went on to say that the President should reconvene the Parliament that was dissolved at the beginning of the month to “legally allocate funds for the current crisis. The President has the power to do so.”
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has drawn money from the Consolidated Fund using his Presidential powers to fight the coronavirus epidemic.
Ranawaka is calling these funds “illegal.” (Colombo, March 21, 2020)