Ravi to bare true picture of Rajapaksa govt. expenses


A comprehensive report on the expenses of the previous government will be presented to Parliament next Tuesday, Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake said.

He was addressing a press conference at Sirikotha yesterday. Refuting the allegations of former President

Mahinda Rajapaksa that the current Government had obtained more loans than the former Government, the minister said he would make a special statement in Parliament revealing the true statistics. He said a debate on the statement would also be facilitated later.

The minister pointed out the facts and figures mentioned in the statement by the former President were contradictory with those stated in the accounts related to various development projects carried out by the previous Government. He stated the Police and the courts must investigate into these contradictory figures.

He said the figures mentioned in the accounts were bloated than the figures mentioned in the statement of the former President. For example, the former President had said USD 190 million (Rs 25 billion) had been obtained to construct the Mattala airport, but the amount stated in the accounts was Rs. 46.8 billion. He said likewise the amounts mentioned in the accounts related to Katunayake airport renovation and Hambantota port etc were also much more higher than the amounts mentioned in the former President's statement.

He said when the Sri Lankan Airlines was taken over by the Government on April 1, 2009, it had Rs 9,200 million profits, but within a seven year period it had incurred a loss in billions of rupees.

The minister said the country has had a massive financial loss from the import of rice from Bangladesh just before the Presidential Elections. He said the rice was imported from Bangladesh on January 1, 2015 at Rs 75 per kilogram, but was sold at Rs 45 as an election relief to the people.

He said the loss from this activity alone was Rs 8000 billion. He said the rice was imported when there were enough stocks locally. He questioned why the then Treasury Secretary P B Jayasudera and the then Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal gave consent to it.

Responding to a question by a journalist, the minister said the Port City project was given the consent to proceed because it had met all the required conditions including the SEIA report.

Responding to another question on the scheme to give motorbikes to the journalists, the Minister said he never promised to give duty free motorbikes, adding that he could not take the responsibility for what others had said. 

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