Government reinstated financial powers vested with the legislature – Premier

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says the current unity government was able to reinstate the financial powers with the legislature which in the past lost the financial control.

He further said that if the financial administration of the country is left to be forgotten, the entire country would have to bear the consequences of such an oversight.

The Prime Minister made these observations while participating in the award ceremony held yesterday in parliament to recognize the institutions that showed a high level of performance for the financial year 2015.

Commending the chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts of the Parliament (COPA), the Premier thanked the Speaker for strengthening the financial power of the Parliament.

“This is a historic moment, Parliament has three main functions -make laws, check government and financial control of government spending. In the past the parliament’s power to control government’s finances collapsed,” the Premier said.

“Therefore, in the last presidential election we declared that the financial power of the parliament will be restored,” he said adding that the good governance regime was able to reinstate the financial powers to the parliament.

He said the lawful spending of finances is part of good governance and it is parliament’s duty now to control the spending.

The Premier noted that value of the money spent for some projects in the past is more than three times the worth of those projects. For example, the debt of Sri Lankan Airlines is USD 740 million and USD 400 million out of that if from state banks.

He noted that a Public Finance Committee was formed and the Parliamentary Budget Office will be started.

The current government is working on regaining financial control and it is expected that this will happen in the next two year, the Prime Minister said.

“We can reduce this debt burden by 2020 and increase the country’s wealth. These loans can’t be passed on to the next generation,” the Premier stressed.