Written by Tharushan Fernando
01 Mar, 2016 | 10:07 pm
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake announced that a cabinet sub-committee would be appointed to probe an additional debt burden of Rs.5.4 billion.
The Minister added that the International Monetary Fund had been invited to conduct a forensic study on the matter. At a media briefing held in Colombo on Monday evening, Minister Ravi Karunanayake revealed that the ministry had found an additional ‘unexpected’ expenditure of Rs.5.4 billion, which will shoot up the total government expenditure.
The Minister of Finance stated that the total debt from December 31, 2014 to date, is 1146 billion rupees. This ‘unexpected’ expenditure was disclosed by a letter sent by Minister S.B. Disannayake and the figure was 5423 million rupees , or 5.4 billion rupees and there are additions to our calculations.
He added that even the IMF was not aware that there was such an undisclosed amount of debt in the country, and they had to accept it.
“I do not approve of this. I must mention this to the cabinet” said the Finance Minister, who further added that the issue is not the non-payment of the 5400 million but how to generate revenue to re-pay that.
“Are we to increase taxes and cut-down on the expenses?” he asked, adding that before this amount is added to the total debt it must be known how this happened and who is involved. And until December the total expenditure was 1146 Million rupees but with this new addition, government has to pay a total of 1,151 million rupees
Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, S.B. Dissanayake noted that the Divineguma Department was created by the Samurdhi Authority, the Up country Development Authority and the Southern Development Authority and these institutions were merged and the Divineguma Department was formed.
He further added that the Minister of Economic Affairs then, Basil Rajapaksa, based on the conditions that were reached – provided many opportunities for employees, to join as new employees, to join as old employees, to provide them with bonuses, to remain in the employee provident funds, and to arrive at a pension scheme if they wanted to, and compensation needs to be provided to some opportunities that were provided.
He further noted that those who are retiring from the authority need to be paid with a special bonus – and a part of this has been paid very wrongfully by the Samurdhi Banks. And that is a serious mistake and that cannot be done. But when this department was sanctioned, the total amount that needs to be paid to the employees who extended their stay, who went on pension and those who joined the public sector is around 5.28 billion.
“What I requested from the Ministry of Finance was that that these people need to be paid a compensation or else we will have to pay a fine at the Labour Department”, said Minister Dissanayake.
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