Parliament | Daily News


No consensus yet on speaking time for SLPP Independent MPs

Leader of the House and Education Minister Susil Premajayantha yesterday proposed to the Speaker to discuss the allocation of speaking time for the SLPP MPs who became Independent in Parliament, at the Party Leaders’ Meeting to be held today (9).

Responding to a question raised by MP Dullas Alahapperuma who represents that group, Minister Premajayantha said in Parliament that the issue was also discussed at the previous Party Leaders’ Meeting and during that meeting the Chief Government Whip had tried to allocate certain time for those MPs from the Government’s time, but couldn’t reach a consensus. MP Alahapperuma alleged that the MPs who recently became Independent in Parliament along with him have been prevented from taking part in Parliamentary debates and had to meet the Speaker every morning to seek time to speak during the Parliamentary debates.

Commenting on this, JVP Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake stressed the importance of allocating sufficient time for this group of MPs with a different political view, to be able to express their views. As per the Parliamentary tradition prevailing for a long period, 40 percent of the total time is allocated to the Government and 60 percent is allocated to the Opposition.

“At the very first Party Leaders’ Meeting held after the last General Election, this tradition changed by allocating 60 percent of the time to the Government and 40 percent to the Opposition highlighting that the Government has a two-thirds majority and needs more time to be allocated for all its MPs,” he said.

MP Dissanayake stressed the urgent need for allocating sufficient time for this group of MPs and he too proposed to the Speaker to reach a final decision on this at today’s Party Leaders’ Meeting.

Chief Government Whip, Minister Prasanna Ranatunga said that the Government is ready to allocate time for this group of MPs and he urged the Opposition also to allocate time for these MPs since now they represent the Opposition.

Chief Opposition Whip and Kandy District SJB MP Lakshman Kiriella said that this group of MPs represents the ruling political party and time should be allocated to them from the Government’s allocated time.


‘Economy will stabilise by December’

The Government is confident that Sri Lanka would be able to stabilise the economy and boost growth by December this year with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund, State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said in Parliament yesterday.

Aiming to rebuild Sri Lanka’s economy affected by the Covid pandemic and certain unwanted decisions taken by the authorities, the Government has taken various remedial decisions. The decision to seek IMF assistance is the most appropriate decision taken by the Government, he said.

Rs. 35 billion is expected as revenue through social service contributions and these funds will be used to uplift the living standards of the underprivileged families in the country.

The Interim Budget presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe has allocated more than 3.7 percent of the GDP for social welfare. The Government has not slashed any expense on welfare, Semasinghe said.

He further added that the certain government entities such as the Bank of Ceylon, People’s Bank, National Savings Bank and Insurance Corporation have earned some profits this year.

But the Electricity Board has experienced a loss of Rs. 71,477 million during the first six months of 2022. Ceylon Petroleum Corporation has experienced a loss of Rs. 640,135 million and SriLankan Airlines has experienced a Rs. 248,441 million loss during the first six months of the year.

So the Government has to maintain these loss-making institutions, the State Finance Minister said.

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