Former Finance Minister Ali Sabry, PC said he had not made a single cent by engaging in politics, adding that he is now fed up with politics.
Joining the adjournment debate on the recent incidents that took place in the country, he said that when his home had been attacked, during May 9 unrest, some lawyers in the judicial field had rejoiced. He questioned how such things could happen in a Buddhist country.
“People are suffering due to the depreciation of the Rupee.
This is not only a political crisis but also an economic crisis. That is why it is said that all Parties should work together. People ask me if I’m scared. Yes, I am scared. I did not come to politics to fight a war. I am scared for my children and my parents. I have not earned a cent by engaging in politics.
Prior to accepting these ministerial posts, I have paid Rs.42 million as income tax during the past five years. I have paid every cent. I have not received even 10% of my income from politics and its privileges. I came into politics with the intention of doing something for this country. Is this a country where people rejoice when others houses are being attacked and burnt down? What is this? When you burn down another’s house does the issue get resolved? I am not afraid for my life, but I am afraid of my children’s future.”
He noted that the country’s expenditure is 3.4% of its income. “So, this issue is serious. When this country gained Independence in 1948, there was only one public servant for every 113 people. Today there is one public servant for every 13. This is a serious problem. How can the Public Service make money? There are three main types of foreign exchange earnings. All those have collapsed by now. The tourism sector generated about US $ 4.4 billion in revenue in 2018 and 2.3 million tourists visited the country. Now all that is gone. There is no point in pointing fingers at each other. We need to rebuild the tourism industry. I had discussions with Harsha de Silva when I was the Finance Minister and explained the situation as it is. The IMF has now given a positive answer and I believe that Rs. 4 to 5 billion will be received in the next three years.”
He added that not just the politicians, but others should also pay their taxes. “See that others pay up their taxes too. Especially the Customs and others. Our total income is Rs. 1.4 trillion and our expenses are Rs.3.4 trillion. This is where the problem lies. It is pointless to protest and build castles in the air. This problem will not be resolved. As for me I don’t want to even look towards the Parliament, I am so fed up. We don’t want this. My children or family have never come here to obtain our meals or anything. In fact, my children have not even come to my Ministry. We must all take responsibility. We must all work tirelessly, otherwise, our future generations would be saddled with this debt burden.” He called on all Sri Lankans to do their part for the country and it is then that the country could be developed. He said focus was placed only on chasing away one government and bringing in another, but no one cared about building up this country. Sabry also called on the Opposition Leader to join hands in bringing this country out of its current dire predicament.