By Sandun A Jayasekera
Information and Communication Technology State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardana said President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would get full financial powers after the dissolution of Parliament on March 2 and will have the authority to allocate funds to settle all unpaid bills of the government.
Though the opposition prevented the government from allocating funds to pay outstanding bills of development projects launched by the ‘Yahapalana’ government by refusing to extend its support to pass the vote-on-account or mini budget, President Rajapaksa would settle all unpaid bills of contractors, suppliers and investors before the Sinhala-Hindu New Year, he added.
‘The opposition got frightened to think that the government would get political mileage if due arrears were paid to workers who have been deployed in various small and medium development projects during the New Year festive season. That is why they did not support the Appropriation Bill that demanded Rs. 376 billion to settle unpaid bills,” he added.
Responding to a journalist, Minister Abeywardana said, in the aftermath of Sri Lanka withdrawing from the US–Sri Lanka sponsored UNHRC resolution 30/1 passed in 2015 and 40/1 passed in 2019, Sri Lanka would initiate its own legal probe on alleged human right violations during the final phase of the humanitarian operation.
“We are not ready to dance to the tune of foreign powers because it affects our sovereignty, self respect and dignity. But we are ready to listen to them because Sri Lanka wants to maintain cordial and close contacts with the global community. Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena would enlighten the international community and the UNHRC on Sri Lanka’s position on this crucial issue,” he stressed.
In response to a journalist, Minister Abeywardana said, the two resolutions could be illegal and violate the constitution because both resolutions had not been given the cabinet, Parliament or President’s approval.
Head of the then UN mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva Ravinath Aryasinha had not put his signature to the resolution 30/1 in 2015, because it was against the interest of Sri Lanka. But finally he had to agree and put the signature on the insistence of Premier Wickremesinghe reluctantly, he said.
“Many of the recommendations of both resolutions contravene the constitution and therefore the best solution was to put in place a domestic mechanism to probe the so called war crimes if any,” he stressed.
Replying to another journalist, Minister Abeywardana said, the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had fulfilled four main pledges given at the Presidential poll.
“We have restored national security, the collapsed economy, gaining a global recognition for the country that had been lost and the rule of law, in the last three months. We will do better after electing our own government, he noted.