Committee of senior UNPers to decide on strategies for next General Election | Daily News


Committee of senior UNPers to decide on strategies for next General Election

Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed a Committee comprising the senior UNP leaders to decide on the strategies for the next General Election and there is no tradition in the UNP of talking about the party at various places, party General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said.

Kariyawasam was addressing a press briefing at UNP headquarters Sirikotha yesterday.

“Currently we hear certain Ministers expressing the view that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) agreement is 70% acceptable. With the passage of time we believe the Government will accept the MCC agreement with 100% confidence. We also pose a question from the Government whether they are going to sign this agreement or not,” he said.

“We also point out that we cannot move forward by declining the support of countries like the USA and the alleged abduction of the Swiss Embassy employee has adversely affected our diplomatic standing,” Kariyawasam added.

Moreover, he pointed out the price of essential goods are rising. “Within our period we provided relief to the public by reducing the price of essential goods. Democracy and media freedom is getting disturbed. Therefore, as a party we are getting together to face and win the General Elections. We made the most popular youth leader as the Presidential candidate and now the Opposition Leader. Now it’s time to take the next step to reach the winning point,” he said.

He said there are different opinions within the party and the issues must be solved inside the party instead of taking it outside. “A party can have different opinions. It is real democracy. We have no tradition of taking the inside matters outside and creating problems unnecessarily.”

MP Wijayapala Hettiarachchi insisted on the party leader and the Opposition Leader to refrain from giving nominations to characters who insulted Buddhism and have allegations on fraud and corruption.

“Statements against Buddhism led to our defeat - as back benchers we can say that. The new Government, although they say that they had reduced the Cabinet to 15, has 53 ministers enjoying all the luxuries. If Parliament is prorogued even after January 3 we are ready to struggle for democracy,” he said.

“The VAT tax was reduced by the government and it provides relief, yet the operation fee of ports and airports has increased from 7.5% to 10.5%. Therefore, the price of all imported goods will rise,” he added.

MP Ashu Marasinghe lamented that the Sri Lanka Customs no longer operates the drive through scanner which has been in operation for two months, soon after the appointment of the new Ports Minister.

“This brings a huge loss to the country. The drive through scanner is high tech standard equipment used in many Customs Departments across the world. It helps to identify whether drugs or illegal goods are being imported to Sri Lanka. The malfunctioning of this scanner may let any illegal item to Sri Lanka through the containers. Sri Lanka also loses Rs. 2.7 Million a day, as US$ 10 is charged per day for a single container, and 1,500 containers can be scanned at the minimum rate according to the standards.”

The Minister also presented his views upon the recent tax reductions, rising price of essentials and the MCC Agreement. “The total expenditure of the country in 2020 is Rs. 4370 billion. The expected revenue of the government is Rs. 1500 billion. The challenge is to find the remaining sum. Since the MCC agreement would also bring them a considerable amount of money, they might sign the agreement.” He stated that the media and the public should question these measures taken by the government.


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