Written by Staff Writer
23 Mar, 2020 | 10:09 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st):- United National Party leader Ranil Wickremesinghe says that the President does not have financial powers after the 30th of April until the new Parliament is convened. He stressed that this problem could be resolved only by reconvening Parliament.
In a statement posted on social media, Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed the following views with regards to curbing the spread of COVID 19.
The UNP leader says;
“Unfortunately certain decisions in the country were not made at the right time. Some decisions were delayed. Initially, there was no mechanism to quarantine those arriving from countries which had been hit by the virus. The flaws in this system coupled with the irresponsible conduct of certain people the movement of affected people among the society increased. The number of affected people who are still out in the open can increase when compared to the number of patients being reported now. The government has not revealed its entire plan to protect the country and the people. Certain urgent measures undertaken by the government to mitigate the spread of the virus resulted in some inconveniences. The manner in which trains crowded with people left Colombo last Friday is one such example of this.”
The UNP leader pointed out the importance of convening Parliament in order to allocate the required funds to curb the spread of COVID – 19.
“The first Coronavirus patient was reported in December last year. From that day until the day in which Parliament was dissolved, the government did not make a request in Parliament to allocate funds required to combat the virus. Funds were requested only to settle the bills for building contractors. Funds have been allocated for the government through the Vote on Account until the 30th of April. From that day onwards until the new Parliament is convened again, the President does not have powers to approve additional expenses. We cannot predict as to when the new Parliament would be convened. This is a crisis.”
He continued to say;
“This can be resolved only by reconvening the old Parliament and approving the required funds. Due to the coronavirus, the channels through which foreign exchange flow to the country have been obstructed. The export sector has tanked. As a result of that, the rupee will depreciate. The Cost of Living will increase while the income of the people will decrease. When the government’s revenue drops, the money allocated for essential services such as health will have to be limited.”
Ranil Wickremesinghe also commented on the importance of working in a united manner in the face of the current situation in the country.
Making a request to the government he said;
“I request the government once again to understand the seriousness of this situation. That is why I am repeatedly requesting the government to hold talks with religious and social leaders along with health experts and other relevant organisations, and to implement a common and efficient plan. We are ready to unconditionally support the government’s efforts to combat the Coronavirus. However, the government should make a decision on the basis of policy. They should face this situation with the assistance of everyone. If they conduct themselves to gain political advantage, and prioritize short-term political goals, I wish to remind the government that a country will not be left for them to achieve their political ambitions.”
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