A Cabinet memorandum seeking to give duty-free vehicle permits for the provincial council members was shelved for the second time yesterday on an objection by Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.
The Cabinet memorandum, submitted by Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Vajira Abeywardane, came up for discussion at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. It seeks to grant approval for the provincial council members of the now-defunct seven provincial councils and the functioning Uva Provincial Councils to import vehicles valued US$35,000 each under concessionary terms.
The same facility was extended to the members of the now-defunct Northern Provincial Council in 2017. Barring three, 35 other members of that council obtained this facility.
The current Cabinet memorandum also seeks to grant this facility to these three members of the north. Altogether, there are 421 members eligible for such duty-free vehicle permits.
The Minister is reported to have said the NPC members have got this benefit, and therefore it would be unfair to leave out the other PC members.
Housing, Construction and Cultural Affairs Minister Sajith Premadasa said all the parliamentarians received such permits, and therefore it should be given to the provincial councillors as well.
Minister Samaraweera responded saying the issuance of such permits to the MPs should also be stopped then. (Kelum Bandara)