Written by Tharushan Fernando
03 Dec, 2015 | 9:11 pm
The expenditure heads of nineteen institutions, including those of the president and the prime minister, were passed in Parliament today.
President Maithripala Sirisena also participated in the debate held on Thursday. This was incidentally the first time that a president of the country participated in the Committee Stage debate of the Appropriation Bill and the debate on the President’s expenditure heads.
The President Maithripala Sirisena commenting on his overseas visits stated:
When comparing the status of the nation over the decades with our policy, our programme and our vision, it can be noted that we have been accepted internationally as an honest friend of all nations and organisations and a country that does not have any enemy camps, enemy states or enemy international organisations. In the past, there was a negative impression, for a state leader of Sri Lanka to meet with the leader of Great Britain, Canada and Australia in order to chair the Commonwealth. However, when I attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting , within a matter of hours, I was able to meet with the heads of states of all the three nations and build strong relations with them. When I met with the British Prime Minister, the UK assured it will support moves to help Sri Lanka regain GSP plus and remove the EU ban on Sri Lankan fisheries products. The British Prime Minister also made it clear that a fund of over six billion pounds will be given to Sri Lanka, and also support the nation
The President also requested the MPs who are representing the opposition, “to give their blessings and support for the process that we are undertaking as a nation. In the future, we hope to pass a new constitution in order to remove the powers of the presidency and also to strengthen parliament. I, personally, believe that all of the president’s powers must be transferred to parliament and I respectfully request the support of each an every one of you for the future process of that.
The President also commented on the steps taken to prevent corruption and waste. The president said:
I did not obtain a SriLankan Airline and engage in visits and did not keep the Airlines in the hangars when I made visits. However, we are aware of the reports, which is no secret.
He went on to state:
The SriLankan Airline can accommodate 280 persons, and 280 persons were included into the plane and the plane was kept for days at foreign nations. We need to be sad over the impact that had made on to the country’s economy. Then we come to the use of helicopters where ,before the elections I announced that except for official visits, my wife or my children will not be allowed to travel separately, and that is a truth even to date.
The staff of 1700 at the presidential secretariat has been cut down to 600 or 700. The staff members who were involved in the process of expressing condolences for funerals too have extorted money.
He also said:
They had cheated money from the wreath as well. But we changed that situation. But I will not blame the former president for that because this happened when managing the staff for these processes have not been monitored. I must note that we have brought an end to an era where unlawful profits were made from a simple wreath
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