The government should take effective steps to avoid waste and extravagance and also to eradicate corruption, says the Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan.
“I do not think that it is within the power of your 90-member Cabinet to achieve this. I think, a few persons of the highest integrity, with specialized knowledge and experience should be specially empowered to examine and analyze in detail all aspects of Government expenditure and come up with plans and proposals to reduce and remove waste and extravagance. Their recommendations should be implemented. It appears to me that whatever arrangements you have now are inadequate.” Sampanthan said yesterday.
The Leader of the Opposition R. Sampanthan participating in the budget debate said; “Corruption needs to be eliminated with a firm hand. Given the fact that corruption is deeply entrenched in governance in this country, we perhaps need special laws to deal with this menace – special offences even beyond what is now available, new provisions of law relating to detection, investigation, trial and sentence pertaining to corruption which will convey the message to the whole country that the Government will not tolerate corruption in any form, and that those who are corrupt will be very sternly dealt with. There is, in my view, a need for a new initiative and a new message from the Government. I ask you in the name of the people of this country, can you permit what happened at SriLankan Airlines to be repeated?”
“Given the massive development plans that the Hon. Prime Minister outlined in his Statement on Economic Policy some days before the Budget and what has been outlined in the Budget, what action would you take to prevent repetition? If waste, extravagance and corruption are eradicated, I would think that at least one-third of this country’s economic woes would come to an end with more money being available for development for the benefit of the people. We are a country deeply in debt. A substantial part of our income is used for debt service. Our debt service ratio is high – both domestic and foreign debt. If we tolerate waste, extravagance and corruption, how are we going to reduce and eventually get rid of our debt? I would submit that stringent action needs to be taken to achieve this.” he said.
Read the full speech here