The Cabinet today approved a ‘Vote on Account’ (VoA) for the government to cover State expenses for the time being and it would be presented in Parliament shortly for approval, Government Spokesman and Ports and Shipping Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said today.
Minister Samarasinghe noted that the government did not have a problem on the government expenditure for the rest of 2018 as the funds had been already allocated from the Budget 2018 and through the Appropriation Bill and therefore the VoA would be to allocate funds for the first three months of 2019.
Addressing the weekly SLFP news briefing at the party office, Minister Samarasinghe said the President had powers to obtain funds from the Consolidated Fund for State expenditure for three months if and when an election was declared but that fund allocation had to be approved soon after Parliament met.
Meanwhile, Minister Samarasinghe said the government's parliamentary group would decide today whether to participate in the debate on the motion tomorrow, handed over by the Opposition seeking to curtail allocations for the Office of the Prime Minister.
“First of all we must decide whether this motion could be tabled in Parliament as it questions the actions taken by President Sirisena and releasing of two presidential gazette notifications.
Vocational Training and Skills Development and Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera interjected to say that he asked Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to consult the Attorney General on the motion as he was in the opinion that the motion was subjudice.
“The tradition and the process of separation of power dictates that the legislature and judiciary does not trespass each others territory. Here, there was clear evidence that the motion has done that mistake, Therefore, I think Parliament cannot entertain this motion in the first place,” Minister Jayasekera said.
Commenting on the remarks made by the Chairman of the UNP, parliamentarian Kabir Hashim on allegations levelled against former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe before foreign correspondents at the week ends by President Sirisena, Minister Samarasinghe said President Sirisena had never criticized Mr. Wickremesinghe singularly.
“President Sirisena explained to foreign correspondents the challenges he confronted during the ‘Yahapalana Regime since 2015 and corruption he had to endure, that included the biggest ever fraud in the State sector, the central bank bond scam, bringing the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank under Ranil, the privatization scandal of the Hilton Hotel and Grand Hyatt – Colombo, selling of Edirisinghe Trust Investment Company to a foreign bidder bypassing a local investor who offered a higher bid etc are a few to name as large scale corruptions that took place under the previous regime,’ Minister Samarasinghe stressed.
Minister Samarasinghe pointed out that his friend, Mr. Hashim had said in his statement that President Sirisena had talked about a Wickremesinghe government it was totally wrong and President Sirisen had never mentioned about a Wickremesinghe government.
“When President Sirisena said he would not appoint Mr. Wickremesinghe in his life time as the Prime Minister that was only an average statement in the oft used vernacular parlance. All subject Ministers of the ‘Yahapalana Government’ must individually take the responsibility for the shady deals that took place under them. President Sirisena is going to take most appropriate step on these alleged corruptions by appointing a Commission of Inquiry which we will support fully,” he stressed.
Minister Samarasinghe said no one could put the blame on the current economic, political and social dilemma on the doorstep of the current regime as it is only one month old and all misdeeds were done in the last three and half years. (Sandun A Jayasekera)
Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana