"Health Expenses Slashed For 2021 Even While Sri Lanka Battles Severe Pandemic": Rasika Jayakody

November 12, 2020

The government has taken steps to slash the budget allocation for the health sector at a time when the entire society is crippled by the outbreak of COVID19, Samagi Jana Balawegaya's Rasika Jayakody said.

"According to the Appropriations Bill for 2021, Rs. 159 billion has been allocated for Health. This is Rs. 29 billion decrease compared to the last budget. The last budget, presented at a time when there was no pandemic in the country, allocated Rs. 188 billion for Health. Today, we are facing an unprecedented health crisis and the government has slashed funds without considering the gravity of the situation," he said.

"To understand this a little more clearly, we need to look at the amount of money allocated to areas such as Defence and Highways. The government has allocated Rs. 355 billion for Defence and Rs. 335 billion for Highways for next year. This means Health didn't get even half of what Highways got even while the country is still battling a pandemic. Although we can understand the unquenchable desire of some in the government to build highways, are not human lives worth a dime?" he asked.

A frivolous argument that the government could make in the budget debate to cover up this ineptitude is that in addition to the Ministry of Health, money has been allocated to ancillary state ministry coming under Prof. Channa Jayasumana and the Ministry of Indigenous Medicine. But what is the contribution of these two ministries in the management of COVID19? These are pertinent questions citizens must demand answers to," Jayakody stated.

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