Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Patali Champika Ranawaka said today the government's development plan ‘Vistas of Prosperity’ would not be a reality as the government would not have financial strength needed for Capital expenditure amidst the economic crisis the country was facing.
Opening the debate of the Vote on Account today, he told Parliament that the government would have to sell state property to make for state financial expenditure.
He said the present economic crisis was not a result of the COVID-19 epidemic but it was a result of the government’s poor tax policy.
Mr. Ranawaka said the government had no option than to cut down on salaries of public sector employees and pensioners to come out of this economic debacle.
“The Government will not be able to raise funds from International Financial Institutions like it did in 2010 and 2014 as Sri Lanka was rated low in international credit ratings. We are financially bankrupt where we are rated B- in international credit ratings. The government will have to cut down on public sector employees and pensioners to come out of this economic crisis and sell state property,” he said.
He said government’s only strategy to face this crisis situation was to become politically stable and exert suppression on the opposition and added that there were no economic policies or strategy adopted by the government.
He went on to say that the government has been unable to present a budget for 2020 recording it in the history as a year without a certain budget.
“The government should clarify how state funds were spent between April 30, 2020 and September 1 without approval of Parliament. Vote on Account should be passed in Parliament. Neither President nor the Finance Ministry Secretary had powers to approve a Vote on Account,” he said.
He requested the Finance Minister to present a detailed report in parliament before the debate on the Vote on Account ends explaining the government's forecast of state revenue for next four months, its composition such as direct and indirect tax revenue, recurrent expenditure, capital expenditure and debt servicing.
“We hope that the Prime Minister will also reveal whether the spending of state funds between April 30 and September 1 was constitutional and the responsibility of Parliament in that matter,” he said. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)