Written by Tharushan Fernando
21 Dec, 2016 | 9:20 pm
Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade ,Malik Samarawickrama says that the Development (Special Provisions) Bill will be presented to Parliament in February next year. Allegations have been raised against the bill in question over the creation of a Super Minister. However, the minister of Development Strategies and International Trade,Malik Samarawickrama noted that such a position is not needed nor would be given to anyone.
He added that the bill approved by the cabinet does not pave way for a super minister. “We approved that provide facilities for investors” he said The Minister pointed out that looking at the past few years just 800 million dollars in investments have been received every year.
He cited Myanmar as an example which has brought in 6.8 billion dollars this year because there is one particular agency in the country which provides the facilities for investors.
“So we are also trying to create an agency similar to that where the ministries will also be affiliated to provide the required facilities”he said.
A section of this bill says that cases cannot be filed against the officials appointed to these agencies. Minister Samarawickrama explained the need or such a provision noting that when creating an agency of this nature officials from the government as well as employees from the private sector have to be recruited.
“If we continue to work as we have for the past 68 years, it would be difficult to move forward.”he said.
He added that if there is an issue with regard to their duties, cases can be filed any time against them on fraud and corruption. The bill notes that the cases cannot be filed if it is deemed that they are working in goodwill. However there is no clear definition of ‘good-will’ and even the previous government says that they worked in good will and yet cases have been filed against them. “I do not think that would happen”, said the Minister noting that the formation of the government was done in order to make a real change and therefore it is necessary to work in a different manner and incorporating new thinking which will benefit the future of the youth
When questioned regarding the CBSL Bond Issue, and if the former governor’s conduct can be taken as good will, the minister said that there is an inquiry in progress at the AG’s Department and they will conduct their investigation to ascertain if such a thing has happened.
Provincial Councils have been saying that they are against this bill and the minister explained that the Chief Ministers opposition to the bill is due to their lack of understanding and the Prime Minister will meet with them on Friday to clarify matter .
“There is no plan to curb their powers whatsoever” he said. He added that even the president is in favour of the bill and he reiterated that ministers are not in need of super-miniserial posts.
“We are against it. We have seen the results of super ministers like Basil”, he charged.
Minister of Home Affairs, Vajira Abeywardana said that ‘there is no such thing’ as the Super Minister. He explained that the country requires rapid development and acts and bills to meet that were created on numerous occasion in the history of the country.
“We brought the Colombo Plan and thereafter the Free Trade Zones. We have now brought forth amendments that will see the development of the entire country” he said.
Addressing a media briefing held today, the Western Province Chief Minister,Isura Devapriya reassured that he would not agree to Development (Special Provisions) Bill.
“Everyone is aware that it is the Prime Minister who is interested about this the most”, he said.
He added that most of the public representatives who have studied this special bill are not satisfied with it and this has to get the approval of Parliament even if Cabinet approves it while the Provincial Councils should also approve this He further noted that this will not get the approval from all seven of the SLFP-led provinces.
The Northern Provincial Council opposed the Development (Special Provisions) Bill.
Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council,C.V.K. Sivagnanam noted that it has already been informed that the Development Special Provisions Bill violates the constitution.
“We will inform them that we oppose it and that we do not accept it. As per Article 154 G.3 We do not agree to that”, he said.
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