The Yahapalanaya government seems to be focusing more on dolling out bonanzas for the benefit of the 225 members in Parliament, instead to the public, with the new benefit package for the MPs expected to cost the government at least a whopping Rs. 420 million annually.
Hot on the heels of a tax increase and flour price increase slapped on the public last week, the government has decided to offer a special package to the MPs, which includes a monthly addition of Rs.175, 000 for rent, telephones and an office apart from the current benefits they are already enjoying.
According to reports, the new package for the 225 MPs will cost the government an additional Rs.39.4 million per month, and Rs.472.8 million a year, which is in addition to the billions of rupees already been spent on these 225 MPs.
The special package also includes allowances of Rs.2,000 proposed for a sitting in the Constitutional Assembly and Rs.4,000 per sitting in the newly formed Oversight Committees.
Meanwhile, civil society has condemned this latest move. The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ), Purawesi Balaya and Decent Lanka has called on President Maithripala Sirisena for an explanation on this latest move.
“Those struggling to make ends meet have a right to know what was going on in parliament,” NMSJ convenor Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya and co-convenor of Purawesi Balaya Saman Ratnapriya said.
Prof. Wijesooriya said the government recently proposed to abolish pension rights of those recruited to the public sector beginning this year. Likewise, the government should have proposed the abolition of pension to those elected to parliament beginning this year, Prof. Wijesooriya said, alleging that politicians had turned a blind eye to suffering of the ordinary people.