Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has requested the government to reveal all details of the sudden visit of Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa to India.
Speaking in Parliament this morning, former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said a sudden visit of a Finance Minister to India is concerning while Parliament is debating on financial allocations of the country for next year.
The former Premier said no Finance Minister has left the country while the Budget is being debated. Leader of the United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe noted that the government and the Finance Minister have a responsibility to present all financial details and the roadmap for the economic recovery of the country to Parliament.
Former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also noted that he requested the government to present the current foreign reserves of the country to Parliament a number of days ago, however the document is yet to be tabled.
The former Prime Minister stressed that before providing information on the country’s finances, the foreign reserves and other economic data to foreign powers, such details should be presented to the House first.
Former Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also raised concerns that the Finance Minister has not been present in the House while the Budget debate is underway.
In response to the concern, Leader of House Dinesh Gunawardena said the Finance Minister has been part of the Budget debate frequently while attending to other pertinent matters.
On a separate note, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe urged the government to make a statement pertaining to the imprisonment of ousted Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Yesterday, Aung San Suu Kyi found guilty of inciting dissent and breaking Covid rules, in the first of a series of verdicts that could see her jailed for life. In the first verdict in a series of cases, she was sentenced to two years in jail.
Speaking in Parliament, former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said Aung San Suu Kyi won the last election but was prevented from functioning in her office.
The former Premier said as an Asian democracy, Sri Lanka cannot remain silent over the matter. The former Premier stressed that it is important that the country stands in solidarity with democracies in Asia.
Minister of Trade Bandula Gunawardena calls for a national discourse pertaining to slip-ups of governments and officials related to the national economy.
Speaking in Parliament today, Minister Gunawardana said Sri Lanka’s economy was at a commendable state in 2014.
The Minister claimed after the war, during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Presidency, Sri Lanka reached new heights in several economic rankings. Minister Bandula Gunawardena noted that no other government in history managed to achieve such feats.
The Minister said however, the economy has taken a downturn in recent times. He said all governments have to work based on data provided by officials of the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister said therefore it is important to evaluate the data provided by officials and take remedial actions. He said it is important that the country is taken forward based on a common agenda and ensure economic prosperity.
Meanwhile, several opposition Parliamentarians boycotted today’s Parliament sittings.
They were demanding the Speaker of House to ensure the safety of opposition MPs.
Although they were in the Parliamentary complex, they failed to participate in the Committee Stage Debate on the 2022 Budget.
Speaking during a media briefing, protesting MPs claimed they are hoping to raise the matter with international parliamentary organisations.
Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella claimed the Speaker of House has been acting in a partisan manner. He said even during the party leaders’ meeting, the Speaker failed to acknowledge that unruly incidents had occurred within the chamber last week.
MP Lakshman Kiriella noted that the Chair should act independently and direct the proceedings in an orderly manner.
He also said the Speaker and those occupying the chair have not been listening to the speeches made by members in the House which goes against the traditions of Parliament.
MP Kiriella said if unrelated matters are mentioned or inappropriate language is used, the chair should immediately intervene and remove them from the Hansard.
He said however such practices have been ignored leading to unnecessary incidents.
Meanwhile, Parliament is currently debating on the expenditure heads of the Ministries of Environment and Ministry of Wildlife and Forest Conservation and several State Ministries.
Parliament convened at 9.30pm while Day 13 of the Committee Stage Debate on the 2022 Budget commenced at 10am.