National Prosperity Development Planning and Budgets
By Ananda Ariyarathne
National Prosperity is not a condition that appears automatically as it is the ultimate result of overall inputs of national efforts made in a well-planned and coordinated manner as a combination of remedial measures that would bring in the most ideal solutions. It may be only in heaven or a paradise that prosperity need not be pursued as it is there already.
In Sri Lanka, it is a very commonly misused term and therefore, has none of the mentioned features as plans are made more as a ritualistic administrative function while annual National Budgets which have to provide guidelines required to ensure the path of progress, is more or less a glorified concoction that has given a camouflaged appearance to a kind of State sponsored extortion.
Prosperity is 'well-being' materially as well as psychologically. The psychological prosperity is the level of happiness that depends on contentment and that in turn shall depend on the availability of the bare minimum and the basic essentials such as, food, shelter, clothing, conveyance and health facilities and opportunities for the development of skills needed for survival.
That in turn shall give a sense of satisfaction with time and resources that can make members of society comfortable in spending their free time positively through entertainment which makes it a richer environment where they will have opportunities for all to live a blissful life.
That is a direct result of the level of affluence in a Nation and that in turn is linked to the revenue earning capacity, by being able to contribute their productivity so that they are assured of sources of revenue. That means that such a government can have a very effective and a people friendly taxation system in order to provide essential expenditure linked to maintaining Government facilities and services. Public services are run as serious commercial services and not as burdens which are inefficient and therefore not productive enough for self sustenance.
Taxation is geared without discouraging productivity and the continuity of revenue generation. The key to 'success' is the commitment on the efforts to optimise the productivity. Prosperity and productivity go hand in hand.
Colonial Powers like United Kingdom had wealth pouring in and its positive effects naturally resulted in the best living standards.
The trading that developed first in the capacity of 'colonial partners' continued even after 'Independence' in colonies, and all the Foreign Exchange earnings were generated resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship but tilted more towards the former 'colonial masters.' The status of 'affluence' did not change as a result of the new relationship as the 'basis for value exchange' did not change at all. The 'Colonial Masters' could still rake in more revenue with their exports into the former colonies which had to go through a continuous struggle to make ends meet. The 'export markets' for those colonies for raw material and agricultural produce had to plan for prosperity with revenue from unpredictable markets. Although not understood, it was the naked truth.
Post War Changes
The British Empire gave into the popular movements for independence, as in Sri Lanka. The Socialist Block that influenced the whole globe openly helped Anti Imperialist armed struggles in Africa and Asia. The special support given to Japan helped it became a giant industrial nation in Asia.Sri Lanka, hopeful of becoming a strong country along socialist lines imposed strict import controls and economic policies to nationalizing the Estate Sector which saw to the emergence of new African nations promoting crops like tea. In short, the little advantage Sri Lanka had with the reputation for Pure Ceylon Tea started getting clouded with new teas coming from Africa.Sri Lanka, on one hand had an increased population to look after, with fewer opportunities for Foreign Exchange earnings. The import substitution policies of Sirimavo Bandaranaike's Government was a desperate attempt to conserve the little foreign exchange while new policies to encourage exported value adding industries became a success story under the guidance of Dr. N.M. Perera. That earned a name for Sri Lanka as a quality export oriented readymade garments manufacturing nation. It opened up avenues for increased trading with USA too. The smooth run was soon over when USA imposed quota systems. Export oriented readymade garments became the largest foreign exchange earner. But with the opening up of the economy in 1977, the little reserves of foreign exchange Lanka had disappeared in no time. The free market that was left after all the changes, survived through an expensive thirty year secessionist war and international interference saw to it that Sri Lankan exports suffered too. It is now eight years since the end of the accursed war which bled this nation dry. Sri Lankan economic history in brief is something like that.
In the meantime, even those affluent Western countries also started losing due to new economic powers. With the destabilization of Western economies and uncertainties and chaotic political situations prevented Sri Lanka from taking drastic decisions.
Sri Lankan realities never improved from the time of Independence. The materialistic development that can be seen is quite deceptive as it is a result of the impact that comes connected to the efforts to stay on par with the developing standards of the world. It is an aspect which has become a kind of an additional burden, in reality. In that process, the main Sri Lankan experts have always failed to note that systems that may look and sound as indicators of success in the so called prosperous nations are not necessarily the most ideal to be accepted and followed in Sri Lanka too,.As a small nation with limited resources, Sri Lanka has a very limited scope in enhancing her national revenue which can be attempted only under two categories, namely the development of Sri Lanka's agricultural potential and through the opening up of avenues to value addition industries to be based on raw material from other countries to make the best use of human resources. At this moment it is just wishful thinking only as the planning is done without taking such serious aspects into consideration.
Due to the open economic policies and invasion of high tech agricultural machinery and the extensive prominence given to artificial fertilisers and pesticides, it has turned even domestic agriculture into a highly costly activity. It has become inevitable with the non availability of domestic farm labour.
Excessive use of farm machinery and chemicals in agriculture has been more negative and destructive than indicated. Except for natural equipment (E.g. Water Wheels made of bamboo), all others have added costs to production while affecting people negatively. Farm mechanization has made thousands of people unemployed thereby depriving them of a decent living, added costs of fuel needed for making those machines work and maintaining them. Those costs are added on to the cost of the produce up to the point of reaching the consumer markets while leaving behind sections of rural people as unemployed and not suitable for any other professions.
The extensive use of chemicals has resulted in people suffering from chronic kidney ailments which have now grown to scary proportions, while the destruction caused to flora and fauna is great. Above all those, the ever rising import prices due to the loss of Rupee value has made it costlier.At the same time, able bodied rural youth have been attracted to urban regions and even the limited numbers which have remained in rural regions have started demanding higher pay, discouraging land owners. Both ways, the possibility of reviving rural agriculture has become a very remote possibility.
The situation is further complicated by the absence of logical and strategic planning. The way national Budgets are prepared, it is obvious that the National Experts are clearly clueless. Instead of planning ways to muster locally available resources, to be utilized through a very cost effective system, the whole economy has been engulfed in cycle of self destruction.The absence of measures to revitalize local agriculture itself is an indication that even the Finance Minister has completely ignored this matter which needs priority attention. Strictly and blindly following Open Economic principles, the Budget does not have any kind of incentives offered to encourage 'Subsistence Agriculture.' The possibility of reviving the concept of 'Self Sufficient Rural Economies' has been completely ignored.
In the paddy sector alone, great strides could have been taken if proper encouragement had been planned with a focus on the mobilisation of human resources as a measure to reduce the cost of labour.
Failures of Budgets
Budgets should be the most accurate and effective tool that can be put to use, in gauging the progress achieved in national planning for prosperity. Can we think of a single instance where a Budget has reduced the burden of the people? Although there could have been some isolated price reductions, they are like some 'pain-killer balms' made available to impose some anaesthetic effect on people.
Role of Annual Budgets - To be continued
Photo Credit: Institute of Policy Studies
- Using a dog as live bait to capture Panmure leopard Environmentalists cry foul
- PRESIDENT TO TAKE OVER ECONOMY AFTER LG POLLS
- Only fraction of requested funds sent to NPC last year Lack of funds derails development plans – CM
- US Govt in shutdown
- PCoI report on Bonds issue AG holds back 103 pages
- Alarming Police statistics reveal 3 underage girls raped every day!
- LANKAN LAWS SUFFICIENT ARJUNA MAHENDRAN CAN BE ARRESTED – AG
- Once Parliament convenes on 23rd JO to grill Govt on Bonds scam When will legal action be taken?
- Sunday Leader Editor murder case Intelligence men seen loitering near Lasantha’s office CID
- Ensure a free and fair election AAGGSL Urges public to elect honest candidates
- Elimination of bribery and corruption National Action Plan discussed
- Lankan jailed in UAE after FB post
- US helping SL to counter human trafficking
- 73-election law violations and 168 election related complaints 21 candidates among 197 arrested
- Seat belts and air bags compulsory from July
- Torture and Enforced Disappearances EU-SL JC insists on zero tolerance Wants PTA repealed and CCP amended
- If Ranil removed from Premiership UNPers threaten to impeach Prez
- Prez hints at being afflicted by Mahinda syndrome
- Rupee weakens 40 cents amidst uncertainty
- Udayanga has Rs 94M in 8 bank accounts FCID
- Malaka surrenders to Court Arrest warrant recalled
- To iron out SLFP-UNP issues in Yahapalana Govt Forming of advisory council proposed SLFP and UNP Ministers to discuss this week
- Obtaining bribe to release dead body 2 fmr MoH janitors sentenced to 8 years
- CIABOC withdraws charges Aluthgamage released from Case
- Rejection of Maharagama UC nominations SC throws out SLPP petition CoA postpones 14 petitions to 24th
- NOCSL Members came out together against current regime Rohan Fernando announces candidacy for presidency
- North and South Korea to compete under one flag
- Financial irregularities of NOCSL exposed in Audit
- HNB Sponsors Millennium Trophy Golf Tournament Dr. Scarth and Niloo Jayathilake clinch top awards
- 12th ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup Ireland beat Afghanistan
- Sharapova eliminated Halep survives
- Kandy SC stay unbeaten
- Premier League club cricket – Tier A Marians crush Ports Authority
- Premier League Cricket – Tier ‘B’ Naved scores his third ton
- Bruised Sri Lanka battle to stay alive
- Svitolina ends dream of teen
- Sainz stays on Dakar title course
- Federer says get on with it
- New Zealand beat Pakistan in clean sweep
- North Western Archery C’ship Wayamba Royal International School holds contest
- ‘Singer Cup’ U-13 Division 1 Cricket Three schools advance to semis
- National athletes petitioned to IOC over controversial athletes’ commission
- Homeboys Kandy tough to beat on own turf
- Army favoured to win
- India rout Zimbabwe
- PUCSL to sue CEB
- Emergency power costs SL Rs 40B
- Tourism earnings up 2.3% Jan-Nov
- India’s Marg ERP to expand in SL
- Hemas acquires 75.1% of Atlas for Rs 5.7 billion
- SLT launches SL’s first Tier III ‘National Data Centre’
- CIMA organizes Directors’ Tax Forum 2018
- Carpetright shares crash on profit warning
- Sri Lanka achieves record exports in 2017
- Investment and employment opportunities open up in Maldives
- CCC launches ‘Economic + Sector Review and Outlook Report 2018’
- Strengthening the labour force to face the Fourth Industrial Revolution
- 100PLUS isotonic brand now in Sri Lanka
- NDB Wealth marks 2018 with website re-launch
- ABANS donates school supplies to children of staff
- BMICH nominated for Platinum award
- ‘PIONEERING LANKA’S SOLAR POWER MY BENCHMARK’
- Vallibel Finance opens in Wennappuwa
- CMA Australia completes 20 years in Sri Lanka
- MullenLowe, Quantum to list 2018 consumer trends
- Concretes & Abstracts Pitipana Committee and Public Debt
- Achieving true lasting reconciliation
- Dying art of sending postcards
- The Pursuit of Peace Starting at SCOPP
- The Oddest President Ever!
- Gang rape shakes Tissamaharama
- Threat to fauna and flora in the Wilpattu National Park region Lid blown on Gangewadiya sand mining racket Dredging of sand on such big scale poses a grave threat to wildlife
- Who are the ‘Aava’ Group? Mohan’s story
- Local Government Elections on 10 February will be largest electoral exercise in history Many firsts in LG Polls this year
- Elbow pain Is it Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow?
- Participatory citizenship is important - Rosy
- I have a master plan - Salley
- All set for Free and Fair LG Polls – Mahinda Deshapriya
- If given power We’ll develop country in two years -Chandrasiri Mahagamage
- Upcoming LG Elections a referendum
- National Prosperity Turning the Tide
- Disposable coffee cups:British lawmakers call for “latte levy”
- If only we could crackdown on the root causes to effect sustainable solutions Herein lies a Nation’s progress
- Forecast your own destiny An astrological guide
- Kala Sarpa Yoga will test sustainability of government
- TIMING OF EVENTS –CHILD BIRTH
- Season for Marriage and Construction
- Cancer Causing Vastu Defects
- “Hail, Caesar!” Silliness as a virtue
- Notes on history: The thinkers and the doers
- Reflections on a nation of non-readers
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Indu & Sanwada We have so much in common
- The Writer’s Kitchenette Vietnamese Fusion Rice Wraps
- ‘Derana Champion’ Shines with OPPO
- A Possible Fallout as US freezes Funds for Palestinian refugees
- Jungle loving President Premadasa
- How Felix Dias became Bandaranaike
- IT IS MY CHOICE
- In your own skin be the barrel you want
- Dear Patriarchy,Dilshani Palugaswewa tells it like it is in this open letter