Government’s withdrawal of the proposed amendment to the Vote on Account (VoA) to raise additional funds, would not lead to any financial crisis in the country, Higher Education Minister Bandula Gunawardane said today.
He told a news conference held at the Parliamentary Complex that the amendment was brought in not to raise funds to meet government expenditure but to settle the outstanding bills of the previous government.
“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has had to run the government with funds allocated from a Vote on Account brought in by the previous government for the first quarter of 2020. All sectors of the economy is in disarray due to poor economic management of the previous government.
The government is short of funds to settle the outstanding bills of the previous government which had initiated development projects targeting the presidential election. All contractors who undertook development projects such as Gamperaliya and ‘Nearest School is the Best School’ had faced financial crisis due to non-payment of their bills. The government was planning to settle their bills by introducing the amendment to the VoA,” he said.
He said Finance Minister and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa proposed to raise an additional Rs.367 billion through the amendment to the VoA to settle outstanding bills of the previous government and to ease the economic burden of the people during the upcoming Sinhala and Tamil New Year and added that the opposition’s opportunist move to oppose it would only burden the people.
The Minister said even though the government was unable to get the amendment passed, it would not lead to any financial crisis and added that the President would be empowered by the Constitution to raise funds to meet government expenditure after dissolving the Parliament.
He said the only issue of the withdrawal of the amendment to the VoA was inability to settle the outstanding bills of the contractors who undertook development projects of the previous government.
State Minister Shehan Semasinghe said the amendment was brought in not to raise funds to meet the government’s expenditure but to settle outstanding bills of the previous government and to ease the economic burden of the people during the New Year season.
He said it was unfortunate that the opposition is attempting to disrupt the government’s moves to provide relief to the people and added that they as the opposition in 2015 supported the then government which had a minority in Parliament to pass the budget. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)