The government today revealed it is looking into whether there is a need to maintain Sri Lankan Embassies overseas, amidst the prevailing dollar shortage.
Speaking in Parliament Chief Opposition Whip Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella said several Sri Lankan Embassies are closed as they lack dollars to pay salaries for employees.
In response, State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya said the government is considering whether there is a need to maintain 65 embassies overseas adding there is no Embassy for Singapore in Sri Lanka.
State Minister Balasuriya noted he believes the government can reduce costs if they can carry out the necessary duties through another embassy in certain countries.
MP Kiriella meanwhile said the embassies in Iraq, Norway and Cyprus have closed adding there are 10,000 Sri Lankans in Cyprus.
He added however State Minister Balasuriya is claiming there is no use of having embassies, while the reason to close embassies is the dollar shortage.
Furthermore, opposition Parliamentarian Hesha Withanage said the statement made by State Minister Balasuriya cannot be accepted.
MP Withanage noted while the State Minister claimed the embassies were closed as the government is considering if there is a need to maintain them, the subject Minister claimed they were closed due to the dollar shortage.
Meanwhile MP Chaminda Wijesiri claimed the government is attempting to close all embassies and only maintain a Sri Lankan Embassy in India and China.
He charged the government of attempting to hand over Sri Lanka to India and China.
MP Wijesiri condemned the actions of State Minister Tharaka Balasuriya adding it is unwise to close embassies and cut international relations and the support provided to Sri Lankans overseas.
Meanwhile commenting on plans to organize a Pirith Chanting Ceremony to commemorate 40 years of Parliament, MP Chaminda Wijesiri said it is not a solution to the prevailing issues adding it will be an added cost.
The Parliamentarian claimed a Pirith Chanting Ceremony will not distract the public from the government’s failures while the public is blaming the Parliamentarians.
He said if a Pirith Ceremony will provide answers for prevailing issues, the All Party Conference was held in vain.
The MP urged the Deputy Speaker of the House to not allow a Pirith Chanting Ceremony to go ahead claiming it will cause public displeasure due to the waste of crucial funds.