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Monday, May 20, 2024

Curtailing State expenditure great boon to economy – State Minister Shehan Semasinghe

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The Government’s decision under the leadership of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to curtail the State expenditure taken even before COVID-19 patients were reported in the country has been a great boon to the country’s economy. The country’s economy suffered a setback due to the global pandemic, said Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self Employment and Business Development State Minister Shehan Semasinghe.

He said that a shortage of items from coffee to coal experienced by the country is not limited to Sri Lanka but to the entire world. He added that this phenomenon has been discussed in the international media like the BBC as well. He added however that the Opposition is attempting to point out that these issues have arisen because of the present Government.

Semasinghe added however that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been able to develop the country while containing the spread of COVID-19 much to the dismay and chagrin of the Opposition, which rejoiced when there was a spike in COVID-19 patients reported in the country.

He made these observations during the Adjournment Debate on the Reports of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts.

The State Minister said that the Government has taken extensive measures to reduce the flaws in revenue collection by way of introducing of modern technology to those institutions. He added that further steps are being taken to do away with ways that prevent revenue collection in the three main institutions; Inland Revenue Department, Sri Lanka Customs and the Excise Department under the leadership of the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. He added that measures will be taken to net the persons who evade paying taxes.

Semasinghe added that Opposition MPs who did not speak during the debate on the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks in Parliament expressed their views on it today covered by Parliament Privileges. He added when the Opposition including Harin Fernando and Manusha Nanayakkara was listened, it seemed not on Reports of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts, but on the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks.

He added that they questioned the evidence on the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks, not mete out justice and attempt to put the blame on the present Government. He said that they have forgotten the fact that the Easter Sunday attack took place while they were in power and they were all powerful Ministers.

He added if they can’t make a statement outside Parliament, they should independently go to the CID and make complaints. He added they do neither of them.

Minister Semasinghe said that on page 300 of the Easter Sunday Inquiry Report, it states that as to how the then Army Commander in 2016 informed of such an attack by terrorists trained in Syria. But the Good Governance Government said that he was making unnecessary fuss. When Wijeyadasa Rajapaksha said that 30 ISIS terrorists were in Sri Lanka, the Good Governance Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that it was incorrect. Minister Rauf Hakeem and MP Mujiber Rahuman of the Good Governance Government too rejected his statement. He added though Intelligence Head Nilantha Jayawardena informed of the same matter to the then subject Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara, he did not take any action.

“Now they are inquiring from us of a statement by Zaharan’s wife, about a lorry seized, the tragedy of the two corps at Vavunia, Wanathavilluwa armoury, Kaththankudi bicycle blast, “ State Minister Semasinghe said. “But they all were covered by their supportive CID head Shani Abeysekara. They should have inquired from him about these tradegies.”

He added that however the Opposition members who questioned them were in Government then and queried as to what action did they take at that time. He added that however the suspect will be penalized under this Government.

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