President empowered to allocate monies from Consolidated Fund | Daily News


President’s Secretary writes to former MP Mangala Samaraweera:

President empowered to allocate monies from Consolidated Fund

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, through the Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundara has written to former MP Mangala Samaraweera, reiterating that the President is empowered to draw funds from the Consolidated Fund under the present circumstances when no formal budget has been presented for the year.

Samaraweera, in a letter to the President, had earlier urged him to reconvene Parliament to discuss matters arising out of the present situation and also to pass finances for same. Writing on the President’s behalf, Dr. Jayasundara has pointed out that under the present circumstances, the President is empowered to allocate funds from the Consolidated Fund, which has been the practice on many earlier occasions as well. He has also conveyed the President’s displeasure that the former MP does not seem to be interested in giving an opportunity to the people to exercise their franchise.

The letter also mentioned a number of errors and omissions in Samaraweera’s original letter to the President. On behalf of the President, Dr. Jayasundara noted that Samaraweera and the Opposition failed to support the passing of Rs.182 billion unpaid bills (for fertilizer, medicine, construction contractors and elder care), and proper accounting for Rs.211 billion foreign loans in Parliament which also covered a period from Samaraweera’s tenure as Finance Minister.

This could be categorized as a rejection of the mandate given by the masses to the President. This was in sharp contrast to how the then opposition behaved when the former (Yahapalana) Government was in power, the letter mentioned.

Moreover, Dr. Jayasundara has noted that Samaraweera’s letter makes no mention of the slowing down of economic growth to 2.5 percent per annum and the increase of government debt and the budget deficit during his tenure and also the failure to repay foreign loans from the sale of some national assets such as the Hambantota Port. Dr Jayasundara said it was a matter for regret that a former Finance Minister such as Samaraweera has drafted a letter of this nature, containing many inaccuracies and omissions.

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