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Sunday, 14 November 2004  
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Pensions Dept. at snail's pace

The government has announced that along with the salary increase after the budget the pensioners also would be given an increase. I suppose the increase will be paid by the beginning of next year.

But when are the pensioners going to get their pension arrears promised many months ago.

Some pensioners seem to have got their arrears. But the majority of the pensioners are still to get. The wheels of the pensions department is turning at snail's pace, perhaps, due to lack of staff to do the job.

The worst hit pensioners seem to be the local government pensioners. When I made inquiries a few months ago from the Maligawatte Secretariat I was informed that there were about 11,000 files and that somehow or other the payments would be made soon. But the October voucher also came without the arrears.

The widows pensioners are in a fix. They do not know whether they would be getting the arrears. Some who had made inquiries from the provincial secretariats had been told that no instruction had been received from the government to pay the widows.

Some have been told that they were not entitled to the arrears. Will the government announce the correct position and prevent the widows getting agitated and worried.

Arul, 
Colombo 13.

Not all professionals are hypocrites

The professional competence and integrity of the Chartered Accountants have been challenged globally. But locally it is not the case. Some chartered accountants expressed concern over the controversial tax amnesty bill not in the interest of the nation, but because it deprived them the much needed revenue from the tax defaulters.

More tax evasion means more work for tax consultants. Recently at a taxation seminar a prominent tax consultant expressed his concern that, tax holidays given to BOI companies by successive governments was a barrier to collect the much-needed revenue due to the state.

Whilst the secretary to the ministry of Finance remarked that fifty per cent of GDP comes from BOI companies.

Majority of the BOI companies are approved with foreign capital. Can someone please enlighten the readers why the foreigners should come & develop our country if they do not have tax concessions? There are no other countries that want their money?

Our high productivity considering the public holidays & closures for strikes etc? Our superior infrastructure facilities, uninterrupted power supply etc.?

Rankoth Premathilake, 
Seeduwa.

Go before the courts with clean hands

The recent amendments affecting the duty structure of vehicles imported to the country after the October 14 has made the new and used vehicle market quite an unpredictable one.

Without going into the merits or demerits of the government's decision, I wish to question the validity of the private motor vehicle traders decision to go before the courts to overturn such decision.

When used vehicle dealers realised that the government is standing steadfast by their decision they raised the prices of vehicles already in their possession, specially of Japanese origin for which they have paid the earlier prevailing duty, even beyond what the new price should be telling the desperate and or gullible customers that the Government is going to raise the prices even more through the Budget.

Reputed companies who mainly deal in new vehicles did not stoop to such low levels as to fleece the customers in that manner.

If the government change the duty structure, will the dealers who made unconscionable profits refund the additional profits made to the customers on proof of purchase.

If the dealers have a genuine desire to provide a vehicle at a reasonable cost to the general public as they profess through the media they also have a moral duty to refund the excessive prices charged on the old stocks of vehicles.

B. Mackay, 
Colombo 5.

Obeisance in Buddhism

It was nice, the recent newspaper picture of a parliamentarian in rapt adoration before Goddess Pattini.

There is not the slightest dispute with Pattini, Brahma, Leus, Osiris, Juno, Odin, etc. except to point out that whoever publicly "goes for refuge" to the Buddha, should look carefully around before falling with a thud in front of any others in worship.

As soon as a so-called Buddhist turns to another for help his link with the Buddha snaps, and he is automatically rejected from the rule of the Norm, "righteousness protects him who is righteous".

Does it not look like the present Sinhalese Buddhists have, by their own actions, thrust themselves out of that protection, to flounder in despair outside of it? What have we now? The five precepts are thrown overboard - it is considered rather sissy to stick to them.

Besides, where is the time to keep remembering?

Time there is to invade the cinema hall to see the latest blockbuster, or especially in the case of politicians, to rake off all the charms, talismen, manthras of our kattadiyas, after which to frenziedly dash across the Palk Straits for more black magic to entrench themselves in corrupt power and hopefully ward off the repercussions, as foretold by the Buddha, "If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox".

Prema Ranawaka-Das, 
Moratuwa.

BoC's contribution

In your edition of the October 31 M. T. Perera, Deputy General Manager, Support Services spelled out the steps and strides taken by the premier bank of Sri Lanka in the field of thrift and savings over a period of six decades in the service of this country.

As a former staffer of the bank staff I wish to complement his article by adding that the Bank's first initiative in this sphere during its incipient years was the introduction of "Home safes" which came in the form of box like metal tills the keys of which were in the custody of the Bank Manager.

Another new scheme was the launch of the "Childrens' Savings Accounts in 1987, which was further strengthened with the inauguration of the present "Ran Kekulu" scheme with more attractive benefits in 1993, as detailed in the article.

Merril T. M. de Silva, 
Moratuwa.

Jack of no trade!

Robin Jackman giving commentaries in the last round robin match of the recently concluded tri-nation one day series, took a lot of trouble to explain to the viewers the advantage Sri Lanka had, batting second in the 1996 world cup finals.

He went on & on, to explain how difficult it was for Shane Warne to handle the wet ball owing to the dew falling on the ground.

Basically he concluded that the side winning the toss in Lahore is the winners of the match, as they will opt to bowl first.

Our boys made Jack eat humble pie by winning the final, bowling second. Conditions were very similar to 1996. Unfortunately the Sri Lankan commentator didn't grab the opportunity to drive the point across, that our victory in 1996 had nothing to do with the dew factor.

Nimeshi Peiris, 
Colombo 5.

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