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Parliament

Parliament adjourned early

Parliament sittings were adjourned at 11.20 am as the Government withdrew the day’s business to move them on to another date granting the Opposition more time to study the bills and also due to the absence of the member who was to move the adjournment motion.

The Government had agreed to grant more time for the Opposition to study the People's Bank Amendment Bill and hence the Government was ready to move the Tax Bills later granting the Opposition more time to study them.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced the name of Opposition MP S.C. Muthukumarana for him to move his adjournment motion as scheduled earlier, but the MP was absent from the House and the sittings was adjourned until 1 pm on September 17.

 


Speaker admonishes Ministers for their absence

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya expressed deep concern over media reports regarding the absence of ministers in the House during the round of questions for oral answers.

“The media reported that the ministers were not present in the House to respond to questions and this is a grave issue which tarnishes the reputation of Parliament. The Leader of the House had given an explanation regarding this issue in Parliament on Thursday,” he said.

Issuing a statement, the Speaker noted that eventually, the issue was discussed at the Committee for Parliamentary Affairs and having reached an agreement, the days business was carried out.

However, the Speaker noted that this is an issue that should be addressed by the Government to ensure that this is not repeated in the future. “I am deeply saddened for having to bring this matter up over the past four years, regarding the ministers’ attendance.”

The Speaker also raised the issue of members of parliament behaving in an uncivilised manner and noted that the MPs on his left had also resorted to using foul language, which degrades the standard of Parliament.

 


COPA orders CPC to increase taxes on mini-hydropower plants

The Committee on Public Accounts (CoPA) yesterday ordered the Central Provincial Council to increase taxes on mini-hydropower plants as the income from this sector is inadequate.

CoPA also instructed the Central Provincial Council to take urgent measures to recover the long overdue Rs.7.7 million taxes from six mini-hydropower plants in the Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat area.

CoPA also called for a detailed report from 38 plants presented to CoPA listing the names of owners, address, location of the mini-hydropower plants, the current tax position and the basis considered to levy tax, and the electricity generated.

Among the other matters discussed, CoPA pointed out that there is an excess number of teachers in the Kandy zone while there are 21 schools in the Nuwara Eliya zone that did not have a single principal for over two decades. CoPA ordered to table a detailed report before September 25 listing the 3,777 teachers employed in the Kandy division with the number of years they were attached to schools in difficult areas, the number of years left for retirement from service and the number of periods taught.

Meanwhile, the RDA officers who were present before CoPA accepted that on March 19 2019 three vehicle loads of files of the Road Development Authority of the Central Province were taken to the Mahawewa Forest Reserve and set on fire as per the instructions of its General Manager.

CoPA wanted investigations being conducted against the General Manager, currently on suspension to be expedited.


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