New election system to double Local Govt. representatives – at what cost? Rs. 2.16 billion

New election system to double Local Govt. representatives – at what cost? Rs. 2.16 billion

Written by Lahiru Fernando

22 Oct, 2017 | 10:25 pm

The Local Government Elections – a topic that has been discussed extensively in the recent past while the election continued to get postponed, over and over.

While the uncertainty surrounding the election is still continues to light up the political stage, there was a story in the newspapers which caught our eye.

Several weekend newspapers have reported on the additional cost the Government of Sri Lanka will have to bear to hold the election.

As per the amended laws, there will be a new election system for the following

  • Municipal Councils
  • Urban Councils
  • Pradeshiya Sabha

However, the gazette notice announcing the amount of representatives who will be elected to each body, has not been published.

The amendment ti the Municipal and Urban council ordinances and Pradeshiya Sabha act says that 60% of representatives of each body will be elected on a ‘first past the post basis’ while the other 40% will be elected under a system of proportional representation.

Adding up to that, there is also a quota of 20% for female representatives being introduced.

New Local Government Bodies

Four new bodies are to be established in the district of Nuwara-Eliya.

The move would increase the number of Local Government Authorities in Sri Lanka to 329.

Meanwhile the new election system for the Local Government will increase the number of representatives by a two-fold.

That is an increase of around 8,346 representatives.

At what cost?

According to the 2016 budget, recurrent expenditure for the Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Council was Rs. 170,168 million. Capital Expenditure stood at Rs. 50.921 million.

Monthly allowances of Local Government Members

  • Mayor of a Municipal Council – Rs. 30,000
  • Deputy Mayor – Rs. 25,000
  • Member of the Municipal Council – Rs. 20,000

Allocations are also made for telephone and transport expenses.

So, how much does all these total up to?

  • Monthly: Rs. 90 million
  • Annually: Rs.1.08 billion

*Local government authorities have a term of 4 years.

With the doubling up of representatives under the new system, the total will increase to;

Rs. 2.16 billion each year

Is it worth spending such a whopping amount of state funds to maintain a large amount of representatives?

Aren’t these funds mean to be used for the welfare of people?

For your attention.

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