Budget 2015: UNP voices opposition to limitation of time for debate

Budget 2015: UNP voices opposition to limitation of time for debate

Written by Bella Dalima

08 Oct, 2014 | 9:17 pm

UNP Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne says the government has limited the time frame in which the 2015 budget is to be debated in Parliament.

UNP Treasurer, MP Eran Wickramaratne shared these thoughts:

[quote]The government noted yesterday that the budget speech would be delivered on the 24th of October and that the debate will be held until the 18th of November. A 20 day debate. In truth this is a limitation on time for debate. Usually, the budget debate is held over 26 days. The government has taken a unilateral decision in this case.

We must first state that we are completely opposed to this. Leave alone the standing orders in Parliament, the government must respect the laws laid down by the constitution. The government has the responsibility of presenting the budget, but the debate is the responsibility of the opposition.

Around the world, the budget debate is known as the debate of the opposition. We call on the government to hold a full debate. To ensure that the debate is held over 26 days.

Article 148 of the constitution notes that Parliament has power over all financial matters. This is the most important debate of all the debates held in parliament throughout the year.

The government must allow the budget debate to proceed as usual. There is only one reason for this decision. They are working as per a political agenda. They are not adhering to and working in keeping with the law, they are violating the law. We ask the government once again, to grant the full time frame for the budget debate.[/quote]

Meanwhile, Senior Lawyer, Attorney at Law, Gomin Dayasri also shared his views on budget debate time frame;

[quote]It is my belief that what he said is in line with the regulations. Section 7 of the Parliament Regulations clearly states that at least 26 days prior to the 31st of December have to be allocated for the budget debate.

I do not see any provision in these regulations to limit the time frame any further. It is not only the number of days but also the number of hours too have been stipulated.

On these days, the budget debate must be held from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1:30 to 6:30. If any other matters come up, they can only be taken up after the budget debate at 6 pm. In order to make any changes to this, it is the speaker that has the power to make a decision following discussions with both the government and the opposition in Parliament.[/quote]



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