Government has spent Rs. 700 billion to battle the COVID-19 pandemic – Ajith Nivard Cabraal

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The government has so far spent over Rs. 700 billion to control the COVID-19 epidemic and provide relief to the people, State Minister of Finance Ajith Nivard Cabraal has said yesterday (29) pointing out that it was nearly half of the country’s total revenue of Rs. 1380 billion last year.

He said that the public servant should be sincerely happy that the government has not taken steps to reduce their salaries or cut their allowances despite spending so much money to control the epidemic and provide relief to the people.

In addition, the Ministry of Health has also spent a lot of money to control the coronavirus epidemic, including PCR and antigen testing, construction of new treatment centers for infected people, providing relief bags of Rs. 10,000 per fortnight to a quarantined family, as well as the services rendered by the Army and Police, the Minister also pointed out.

He said that despite spending so much money to control the coronavirus epidemic and provide relief to the people, the government was balancing other economic activities in the country while paying loan installments to foreign financial institutions.

He also pointed out that the government spending over Rs. 700 billion to control the epidemic and provide relief to the people is a historic economic management.

He noted that government has spent Rs, 560 billion including Rs. 50 billion for low income families receiving Samurdhi benefits, Rs. 90 billion for free medicines, Rs. 40 billion for disabled war heroes, Rs. 250 billion for pensions, Rs. 35 billion for fertilizer subsidies as well as Rs. 70 billion for various subsidies such as maintenance of loss making public institutions.

Cabraal said it was due to the prudent guidance and proper economic management of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the prices of consumer goods were maintained on a daily basis despite the country’s production being severely hampered due to the occasional curfew and travel restrictions imposed to control the epidemic at this difficult time.

He said that the country had not faced such an economic crisis even during the 30 years of War and that the people as a whole should be happy that the government had been able to save the people and save the economy during the last one and a half years of the epidemic.

He added that not a single head of state or government that has ruled the country before has had to face such a global crisis.

Ajith Nivard Cabraal, State Minister of Finance further stated that the people should assist the government to complete the steps taken by following proper health advice at this time.

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