The opposition requests the government to increase the price of a stick of cigarette by Rs.20 and allocate funds to resolve salary anomalies of teachers and principals.
Speaking in Parliament, Parliamentarian Buddhika Pathirana said the price of cigarettes have not been increased after 2019.
He said if the prices are increased by Rs.20, the government will generate an annual income of Rs.50 billion.
MP Pathirana said according to reports, the government requires Rs.55 billion to resolve salary anomalies.
He said therefore, if the prices of cigarettes are increased, the government will only require another Rs.5 billion to resolve the matter.
MP Pathirana noted no one will oppose increasing prices of cigarettes as smoking kills 55 people daily which amounts to 20,000 fatalities annually.
State Minister Susil Premajayantha meanwhile assured a reasonable solution will be provided to the salary anomalies issue through the upcoming Budget.
He said all previous governments attempted to resolve the matter, while the present administration proposed to eliminate salary anomalies of teachers and principals under several stages.
State Minister Premajayantha said although there are financial issues due to the COVID-19 crisis, they have managed to set aside required funds.
He also noted the proposal to increase taxes on cigarettes could be directed to the Minister of Finance.
State Minister Premajayantha said resolving the salary anomalies issue faced an additional obstacle, since the government was unable to compromise other state services by providing inconsistent answers.