Parliament | Daily News


Government confident about Udaya’s capabilities: Aluthgamage

Udaya Gammanpila is an experienced and capable minister, and the government is confident that he would develop the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation during his tenure, said Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage, joining the No-Confidence Motion Debate in Parliament, yesterday.

“The Opposition is questioning why we haven’t punished the corrupt so far.

“I say to them, be patient. We will conduct proper investigations and then charge them with proper evidence,” he added. Adding that there are many allegations against Rishad Bathiudeen, he challenged the Opposition to oust him from their party. He asked the Opposition whether the Motion was moved due to the increase in fuel prices or because of the taxes.

Aluthgamage said that the government would forge ahead through the pandemic and provide 24 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public.

By October, a programme to vaccinate those over the age of 12 would begin, he said.

Government will defeat No-Confidence Motion: Dr. Gunawardena

Trade Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said in Parliament yesterday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Cabinet Ministers, and the Cost of Living Committee had reached a joint decision on oil prices. Therefore, the Government shall defeat the No-Confidence Motion against the Minister of Energy in unison.

He said so joining the day one of the debate on the No-Confidence Motion brought by the Opposition against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila. Dr. Gunawardena also pointed out that during 2015/16, there was considerable profit for the then government due to fuel prices. However, people were not given any relief despite the extraordinary advantages, he added.

The minister said that the total revenue of every post-independence government was not sufficient to sustain the day-to-day running of the country.

“Minister Udaya Gammanpila is a good minister; the House needs such intelligent MPs,” Dr. Gunawardena said.

Ranil should reflect on why the public lost their faith in him: Rohitha

Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe should reflect on why he lost the confidence of the people in Colombo, who used to vote for him for a long period of time, Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena said in Parliament yesterday.

He was responding to MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, who proposed an amendment to the No-Confidence Motion against Minister Udaya Gammanpila. Wickremesinghe said that the Motion should be moved against not only Gammanpila, but also against the Government and Cabinet.

Minister Abeygunawardena, in response, said Wickremesinghe should reflect on the Colombo voters’ loss of confidence in him, instead of talking about moving the No Confidence Motion against the government.

Speaker ratifies Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced in Parliament yesterday that he has ratified the Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Amendment) Bill.

The Speaker had recorded his certification on the 15th. The bill was passed on July 6, without a vote in Parliament.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya moves No-Confidence Motion against Energy Minister

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) moved the No-Confidence Motion against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament, yesterday.

SJB MP S.M. Marikkar said that the Motion against the minister was also one against the government, as it has failed the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marikkar noted that the government may defeat the Motion, but it has already lost the confidence of the public itself.

MP Marikkar said, “We are bringing in this No-Confidence Motion against Minister Gammanpila because the decision he made to increase fuel prices has adversely affected the public that was already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Meanwhile, SLPP Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam said that the decision to increase fuel prices was a move to discredit the government. He went on to say that it was a conspiracy against the government. Therefore, in reply, Minister Gammanpila said that the Finance Minister made the decision. That would mean that the Prime Minister was to blame. Is that why Basil Rajapaksa was made the Finance Minister now?” he asked.

State Minister Wimal Weerawansa asked, “Can you tell us who created a price formula and increased the fuel price in your previous government? Was it the Energy Minister or the Finance Minister?”

“During our time, when the government was held responsible for the Central Bank Bond Scam, we, the backbenchers, rose against those who were involved in it. Two ministers were pressured to step down from their ministerial posts,” Marikkar replied.

“The then Prime Minister had to give up his ministerial post as well. We would like to see how this government’s backbenchers respond to the No-Confidence Motion. Let’s see how MPs who go around giving voice cuts respond to it,” he added.

MP Kabir Hashim seconded the Motion.

‘Fuel price reduction would benefit the public’

Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Eran Wickremaratne said in Parliament yesterday that the Opposition requests the Government to reduce fuel prices for the benefit of the people. “We are presenting this No-Confidence Motion on behalf of the people,” he added.

Wickremaratne said so joining the debate on the Motion against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila. Wickremaratne alleged that the government has no way out, as the economy is ruined.

He added that the banking system was in danger as well. Wickremeratne said that the previous government introduced the oil price formula to avoid any discrepancies when international fuel prices fluctuated.

Kerawalapitiya Power Plant issue 

Dissanayake raises concerns over House rejecting his question

National People’s Power Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake raised concerns as to why he was not allowed to raise a question under Standing Orders 27 (2) yesterday in Parliament, despite the fact that he had submitted the request on time.

Dissanayake said that whatever the decisions made between other parties in the Opposition does not validate the NPP’s consent, and any agreement should be made with the NPP separately. He also pointed out that he submitted the question prior to 12:00 p.m., as per the regulations.

“I have submitted the question to the Secretary-General of Parliament and have forwarded a copy to the Leader of the House, as well as the Opposition Leader’s Office,” he said.

The MP also requested the Speaker to allow his question under the Standing Order 27 (2) as the oral questions round was not scheduled for Monday’s session. “This question is directed at the Minister of Energy, Udaya Gammanpila; I don’t think he is the kind of person to dodge any questions.

Therefore, I would like to pose this question,” he added. Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena said the request submitted by Dissanayake had been finalized at 4:05 p.m. on the day it was submitted. Dissanayake pointed out that the question was on the Kerawalapitiya Power Plant being handed over to an American company; and that if the minister was ready to discuss it, the question could be taken up.

In reply, the Leader of the House said that the Opposition was focusing on the No-Confidence Motion against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila, and that it was the matter that needed to be discussed at the time.

Speaker of the House, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said MP Dissanayake’s question should be taken up today.

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