“We have chosen the right path, not the popular path”

Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva said in Parliament yesterday that the right path should be chosen and dealt with by focusing on the survival of the country and not the survival of politicians.

The Minister said that the country should be rid of the economic crisis and it should be understood that it is the need of the time.

He mentioned this yesterday during the debate on the Second Reading of the Budget.

Minister Siripala de Silva also said that the Budget 2023 has shown that it has been prepared out of the conservative and traditional document. Attention should be paid to the basic substance of this Budget. President Ranil Wickremesinghe took responsibility for this country. The Opposition Leader mentioned that they are not ready to take power to build the country by joining together with SLPP. “The President took the responsibility of building this country economically and socially.

The President mentioned that he chose the difficult and right path. The Opposition has chosen popular things today,” said the Minister. “People who have never boarded a plane pay taxes for Sri Lankans. This is unfair. So these things must stop. Economic stability cannot be built in two days. A period of time is required. We believe that this can be accomplished within that time. Various opinions are presented regarding the proposals made for restructuring public institutions. Even the media is talking about the positives here. At this time, our ideology is not popular politics. The right path should be chosen. At this moment, we should focus on the survival of the country, not our political survival,” the Minister said.


“We need a govt that has the people’s mandate to achieve economic stability”

The Government cannot deceive the youth of the country with meaningless talks or fairy tales, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar said in Parliament yesterday.

MP Bakeer Markar made this observation, opening the debate on the Second Reading of the 2023 Budget, on its sixth day.

He said that even though the Budget seems to have many liberal aspects, its politics is not so liberal.

“A government that tries to maintain its ground solely on suppression cannot be considered as a democratic government. A country that is not politically stable cannot draw the attention of foreign investors. If the country wants economic stabilization, we first need to appoint a government that has a people’s mandate,” MP Bakeer Markar pointed out. He also pointed out that the present Opposition has superseded traditional politics and is currently supporting a number of social welfare oriented projects.


“Independent Commissions will soon be reestablished”

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana said in Parliament yesterday that independent commissions will soon be reestablished.

The Speaker said that new members will be appointed to these commissions. He made these observations when the Opposition MPs raised concerns over the independent commissions.


“Most challenging Budget presented in Parliamentary history”

Deputy Speaker Ajith Rajapakse stated that if any Opposition party leader can present a better budget he should present it to the House including an explanation on its practical application.

MP Rajapakse made this observation joining the debate on the Second Reading of the 2023 Budget Proposals in Parliament yesterday.

“It is not an easy task to prepare a budget when our country is facing a severe economic crisis. Accepting such a responsibility and preparing the budget is a very big challenge to the Prime Minister, the President and the Cabinet,” MP Rajapakse stated.

“It is the responsibility of all of us in Parliament at this challenging time to contribute to a programme aimed at the development of this country, thinking about the common people, and the country’s economy, regardless of party allegiance. Therefore, I believe that the Budget we are discussing today is the most challenging Budget presented in the Parliamentary history of our country,” he said.

The Deputy Speaker also said that there are not only 225 MPs in Parliament. “There are committed public servants in Parliament. However, people entertain the notion that only 225 MPs are in Parliament. Families of these public servants cannot openly say that their mother or father works at the Parliament,” he said.


“Rs. 5,000 allowance still given”

State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe said in Parliament yesterday that the Rs. 5,000 allowance given to low-income families has not been reduced or cut.

The State Minister said this in reply to a question raised by MP S. Rasamanikkam.

State Minister Semasinghe also mentioned that this allowance has been even given to the people who were on the waiting lists in the respective regions.

He further said that despite the current crisis, the allowances have been given continuously and money has been allocated for the payments from January to April.


Annual reports and performance reports to be submitted to Parliament as e-copies

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana announce to the House yesterday that the Annual Reports and Performance Reports to be submitted to Parliament are currently being submitted in soft copies, and action will be taken to keep a limited number of hard copies of the reports in the Chamber and Library for the use of the Members of Parliament.

The Speaker further announced that this is carried out in accordance with the decision taken at the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business held on June 2, 2022.

Accordingly, as decided at the meeting of the Committee on Parliamentary Business held on September 29, 2022, Members of Parliament will be provided with soft copies even in the case of the progress reports submitted to Parliament by each Ministry/ Institution and Statutory Bodies during the Committee Stage Debate period on the Appropriation Bill of the year 2023.

Measures will be taken to keep a few hard copies of the reports as well in the Chamber and Library for the use of the Members of Parliament.


“Most payments to be digitized by March 2023”

Environment Minister Naseer Ahamed said that from March 2023, most of the Government’s payments will be made through digital systems and that time can be saved and a more efficient service can be provided to the people.

The Environment Minister said this while joining the debate yesterday, which was the sixth day of the Second Reading of the Budget.

The Minister also pointed out that in many countries including India, governments are digitizing payments to citizens such as social security allowances.

The 2023 Budget states that the country is moving towards a new Sri Lanka. Taking the economy to a new path, the Budget is presented this year for the future of the youth, Minister Ahamed said.

This year’s Budget has benefited all sections of society. There is no introduction of new taxes in this year’s Budget, he said. 

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