Decision on Supplementary Estimate to purchase vehicles for ministers debated in parliament

Decision on Supplementary Estimate to purchase vehicles for ministers debated in parliament

Written by Keshala Dias

25 May, 2017 | 9:20 pm

The decision taken by the Committee on Public Finance to temporarily suspend the Supplementary Estimate to purchase vehicles for ministers, was taken up for debate in parliament today.

Bandula Gunewardena, UPFA Parliamentarian:

[quote]I made this request from the ministers here as a favour for themselves, because when the funds for a supplementary estimate are allocated, another supplementary estimate is submitted for the next year under the same name saying vehicles were not purchased that year.[/quote]

Min. Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House:

[quote]As usual, you are always trying to give the wrong impression to Parliament. These vehicles are being purchased for the use of the ministries.[/quote]

Dep. Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala:

[quote]As usual, you are always trying to give the wrong impression to Parliament. These vehicles are being purchased for the use of the ministries.[/quote]

Min. Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House:

[quote]These vehicles are not being purchased for the minister, they are for the ministries. Why do you always mislead Parliament like this?[/quote]

Dinesh Gunewardena, UPFA Parliamentarian:

[quote]What the MP pointed out in this report was that vehicles are to be purchased for the members and heads of the Constitutional Council as well. This is a very serious matter and there should be an explanation. If MP Wickremeratne can explain please do. There is no mention of a vehicle being purchased for you is there?[/quote]

Min. Lakshman Kiriella, Leader of the House:

[quote]It appears as if vehicles are being purchased for Ministers but they are being bought for ministries.[/quote]

Dep. Speaker Thilanga Sumathipala:

[quote]No it was different issue which was raised.[/quote]

Anura Kumara Dissanayake, Chief Opposition Whip:

[quote]There is a concern in Parliament and the country alike over the purchasing of vehicles for ministers, so there is no need to panic about that. But the issue here is that a steering committee has been appointed to draft a constitution and vehicles are being purchased for certain members of this committee, apparently for their duties. What is this? So, a vehicle is given for his position as an MP and another vehicle since he is a member of this committee. This is the question we are asking. So where do we draw the line here?[/quote]

The government provides each cabinet, deputy and state minister with an official vehicle and two other vehicles as well as a vehicle permit.

In addition, vehicles are also provided to the personal secretary, media secretary, the two coordinating secretaries and public relations officer of every minister.

Despite such privileges, it was revealed recently that 92 MPs had sold their tax free vehicle permits to other parties.

Attorney-at-Law Nagahananda Kodituwakku:

[quote]The government has incurred a loss of over three billion rupees through this fraud. So, the people of this country loses over seven billion rupees of their tax income. Why has it fallen to this situation? The people of this country sometimes do not even have a meal to eat. This is actually a massive fraud and at the same time one that is done quite blatantly. Another vehicle has been purchased for their personal use, using public funds. This confirms that this is state sponsored tax fraud.[/quote]

Meanwhile, a cabinet paper put forward by the Finance Ministry on July 11, 2016 to purchase vehicles under two categories for the political authority, was passed.

A sum of 35 million rupees was allocated for a vehicle each, for the speaker, cabinet ministers, opposition leader, provincial governors, provincial chief ministers, state ministers, deputy speaker and deputy ministers.

A sum of 28 million rupees was allocated for a vehicle each, for provincial council ministers, provincial council chairpersons and deputy chairpersons

The prices mentioned above are inclusive of taxes and other fees.

A request made by Cabinet to increase the maximum price of a vehicle by eight million rupees and to provide funds for only one vehicle for a cabinet, state or deputy minister this year was approved.

Vehicles are being purchased for ministers and MPs in such extravagant fashion while several luxury vehicles worth millions are left to corrode at the official residence of a former speaker, Mumtaz Mahal.

Prof. Tissa Vitharana, former minister:

[quote]Obtaining money to purchase vehicles through special estimates is not a good example because people are struggling under the weight of heavy taxes. We feel that the tax payer’s money is being used in a haphazard manner in order to win over the deputy ministers and ministers. This is similar to a bribe. If a minister has an extra vehicle then handing it over to the deputy minister for his use is not something wrong..”[/quote]

Chameera Perera, Convenor – Left Centre:

[quote]”..Puchasing vehicles worth 30 or 40 million rupees only appeases their mental shortcomings. This is a massive waste of state funds. These parliamentarians receive a permit. They then then sell this permit this too causing a loss to the state. The state has lost over six billion rupees just because of this. They then submit various cabinet papers and import more vehicles. This is a serious crime. We call on the government to immediately halt these activities..”[/quote]

Meanwhile, it has been observed that there have been many instances in the past when ministers used Indian manufactured motor vehicles instead of luxury cars.

Latest News

Are you interested in advertising on our website or video channel
Please contact us at [email protected]