Parliament approves delayed 2020 budget amidst financial mismanagement claims

Parliament approves delayed 2020 budget amidst financial mismanagement claims

Parliament approves delayed 2020 budget amidst financial mismanagement claims

Written by Staff Writer

12 Nov, 2020 | 9:10 pm

COLOMBO (News1st): Opposition lawmakers on Thursday blamed the government over financial mismanagement and accused it of violating the constitution, as a delayed budget for 2020 was passed in Parliament.

M.A. Sumanthiran, an opposition parliamentarian, observed that funds obtained twice from the consolidated fund — the government’s purse — until a budget is presented, had been spent outside the limits specified by the constitution.

“Section 150 (2) authorizes spending out of the Consolidated Fund only for certain public services,” he said pointing out that the Parliament had approved two resolutions for this year since a budget was not presented.

Sumanthiran accused the government of using these funds to handle expenses beyond the limits prescribed in the constitution.

“You cannot do any development work. You can pay the salaries of public servants and other expenditures which are directly linked to public services,” he insisted adding that the government had used these funds for development activities.

The parliament had approved two resolutions to spend out of the Consolidated Fund this year; first covering January 1 to April 30 and then from September 1 to December 31

Last year, the previous government had not presented a budget for 2020 on the eve of the presidential election, to allow the new government to present a budget of its own.

The government, that will complete one year in power this month tabled the Rs 2.5 trillion budget on Thursday,

“With a minority government in 2015, we drafted and presented a budget within two months,” opposition parliamentarian Kabir Hashim said during today’s parliamentary debate.

He pointed out that the government has failed to provide concessions to the people, and blamed it for the decline in state revenue due to the slashing of taxes.

“The government lost revenue of approximately Rs 600 billion. However, the government paved the way for their close associates and selected groups to benefit and earn profits,” the Samagi Jana Balawegaya lawmaker claimed.

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa also echoed similar concerns.

“I remember how the ruling party, in the run-up to the presidential election, made fun of us, when we pledged to resolve the problems of the people. However, today, all the proposals we made back then, have proved to be correct,” he said.

State Minister of money and capital market Ajith Nivard Cabraal, however, said that the government will pave the way for development despite the economic constraints in the country.

“Although GDP growth has declined in 2020 while government debt and unemployment has increased, the government has implemented fresh measures to face these challenges,” he insisted.

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