“This increase in debt has been incurred for no other purpose than paying for the cost of inducing people to vote for the yahapalana Government. These enormous borrowings were not spent on any development work. When Government salaries are increased, and various other concessions given, it may give the recipient the feeling that he has got something. But very soon, he finds that whatever is given by this Government with one hand is taken away by the other. Due mainly to excessive taxation and currency depreciation, any salary increase given by this Government disappears almost immediately,” he said. The Government hopes to collect Rs. 2,077 billion as taxes in 2019, twice the amount that was collected 2014, Opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa said today.He said that all that money is to be wrung out of the public in a context where the annual growth rate has declined to 5% in 2015, 4.5% in 2016, 3.1% in 2017 and it is expected to be around 3% in 2018. Rajapaksa says Sri Lanka is now caught up in a vicious cycle of increasing Government spending for the electioneering needs of the incumbent Government, heavy borrowing to finance that expenditure and increased taxation of the public to service those loans. (Colombo Gazette) He said that the total outstanding Government debt increased from Rs.7,391 billion in 2014 to more than Rs. 11,859 billion by the end of 2018 – an increase of 62%.