Landlords and apartment building owners are being reminded that candidates in municipal elections are entitled to campaign in apartment buildings. Nova Scotia’s municipal elections officer, Vi Carmichael, said she has received reports of candidates being denied entry into apartment and other residential buildings. “The law is on the candidates’ side,” said Ms. Carmichael. “The Municipal Elections Act is very clear: landlords and building owners cannot prevent candidates or their representatives from canvassing in apartment buildings. “The occupants of the individual apartments may, of course, choose to let the candidate into their units or not, but the candidates have the right to be in the building during reasonable hours.” Candidates in federal and provincial elections also have this right. In addition, the law upholds the right of apartment renters and condominiums owners to display election campaign materials from their units. The Investment Property Owners Association of Nova Scotia has advised its members that the law entitles candidates to campaign in apartment buildings and that to prevent them is an offence punishable by a fine of $2,500 or imprisonment of up to six months.
The Government says it has increased the Samurdhi allowance in 2015. Allocation made to pay Samurdhi allowance in 2014 was Rs.15 billion and, it has been increased up to Rs.44 billion in 2017. The minimum Samurdhi allowance paid in 2014 was minimum of Rs.210 and the maximum was Rs.1, 500. It has now been increased to a minimum payment of Rs.420 and a maximum payment of Rs.3, 500.Since the President has declared 2017 as the year of poverty eradication, the fertilizer subsidy that has been granted for paddy has been extended to cover tea, rubber and coconut from next year in order to uplift the agricultural economy. Additional Rs.1, 500 million has been allocated for this purpose in the Budget 2017. At the same time, a new subsidy scheme has been introduced from 2017, with the allocation of another Rs.450 million to give subsidy for domestic milk powder manufacturers as part of making the country self sufficient in milk. “None of the allocations already made available for subsidies on fertilizer, Samurdhi and school uniforms have been reduced. In-fact the payment for school uniforms are now being distributed to students at schools without any haphazard. The replacement of giving fertilizer at subsidized price and school uniforms to students with cash payment has not only brought the advantage of bringing down the use of chemical fertilizer but also streamlined the process with efficiency eliminating the middlemen whereby reducing the cost incurred on fertilizer and school uniforms. The special interest rate paid for the first Rs.1.5 million fixed deposit by senior citizens and Rs.2000 monthly payment for needy senior citizens introduced in 2015 after this government came in to power has not been reduced or removed as certain opposition politicians try to mislead the people,” the Finance Ministry said. After Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake presented Budget 2017 in Parliament on November 10, the Finance Ministry has observed that certain politicians have made baseless allegations claiming the Government has cut back on public subsidies and welfare payments. No subsidy or other welfare facility that have been increased for the people after the Government came in to power has been slashed or removed, the Finance Ministrt said today.The Ministry said that despite huge allocations made for development projects in the Budget 2017, Rs.403 billion has been allocated for subsidies and welfare expenditures. This is an increase of Rs.143 billion when compared with Rs.260 billion allocated in 2014. Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has established a Welfare Beneficiary Board to ensure that the subsidies and welfare payments are being given to the needy and actual beneficiaries without being duplicated. This particular monetary board has been preparing a data base incorporating the particulars of the beneficiaries of all kind of subsidies welfare payments. (Colombo Gazette)