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DateLine Wednesday, 22 April 2009

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Presidential election at year end

The Presidential election could be held at any time at the end of this year, Media and Information Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said at a press conference at the Information Ministry, Colombo yesterday.

The Government increased the Nation Building levy from one to three percent and this came in for criticism. But it has to be borne in mind that the Government exempted 13 essential food commodities from import duties to keep the cost of living within reach of the common man.

The Government lost over 9.9 billion by way of revenue and was a historic decision made by any government to forego such a slice of revenue to provide relief to the public, the Minister said.

At present there is an exodus of civilians fleeing the terrorist controlled areas amounting to nearly 100,000 - this could increase further - and we have to provide relief measures to these people.

As a responsible Government while looking after these people we have also to find funds for defence expenditure and development.

But the cost of living will not rise due to the increase in the Nation Building levy, he noted.

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