Financial Profligacy Of An Omnibus Cabinet: Can Sri Lanka Afford This Scandal?

Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,MORE OPINION,Opinion |

By Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

Dr. Ameer Ali

In September last year in a piece I titled “An Omnibus Cabinet & Outvoted Parliamentarians: Can the Economy Afford to Maintain This Colony of Prodigals?” (Colombo Telegraph, September 7, 2015) I posed a question, “Can anyone tell the people the estimated total cost of this colony of artificially elevated political gentry?”. Ten months have passed since then, and the public auditors should have some rough idea to answer my question.

I raise that question once again in the light of the recent request for 1.1 billion rupees (equivalent to roughly US$ 2.5 million) allocation to import 42 “luxury cars” for some ministers and their deputies. While the government policy of economic liberalism is pushing down the throats of ordinary people the so called programs of austerity what moral right have the rulers to indulge in financial extravagance?

Sri Lanka is sinking in national debt and foreign lenders are having a strangle hold in the economy’s assets. Isn’t there a national need to economise expenditure without hurting the ordinary families? With the decline in oil prices and economic downturn in the Arab countries foreign remittances from Sri Lankan expatriates which tranquilised the economic pain of many families is also disappearing fast. It is time the country look for an alternative economic model to make ends meet and protect its independence. The reform should start at the top with the President, the Prime Minister and their coteries of political functionaries.

It is in this context that I also want to raise the issue of the economic viability of decentralised political administration in Sri Lanka. What is the actual cost of maintaining all those provincial councils, their chief ministers and their officialdom? What useful service are these political parvenus performing to deserve their status? The recent incident about the public behaviour of a provincial chief minister has exposed the danger of having too many petty chiefs consuming too much resources and power with too little knowledge about public decorum and behaviour. The periodical elections conducted to choose these chiefs and their lackeys on top of the cost of conducting national elections to the parliament obviously impose unbearable strain on the public purse with incommensurable return.

Whatever the criticisms that we may level against our former British colonial masters we should be fair to admit that they left us with an efficient public service with rules and regulations of accountability. An efficient Government Agent system with a prudently structured parliamentary cabinet will more than adequately compensate the loss of all provincial councils and their mediocre administration. In the public arena Sri Lanka is recklessly wasting too much precious financial resources for too little return.

Unlike in many developing countries Sri Lanka, thanks to an internationally competitive education system in recent past has produced a politically literate constituency of a substantial size. It has no doubt an enormous capacity and capability to initiate political reforms which will eliminate some of the injustices and economic waste in the current system. The thought provoking contributions by a wide range of talented writers to this journal are just one index of this healthy phenomenon. Unfortunately the system has given prominence to the mediocre at the expense of the talented. It is time for rationalisation of the country’s political structure and administration. Will this constituency come forward to lead the agitation?

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10 Responses to Financial Profligacy Of An Omnibus Cabinet: Can Sri Lanka Afford This Scandal?

  1. 8
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    While ROGUE Ministers Gayantha Karunathilake and Rajitha Senaratne are defending to the hilt the allocation to import 42 LUXURY CARS for them to serve the people, Three HONEST Ministers, Ranjan Ramanayaka, Dr. Harsha De Silva and Palitha Thewarapperuma have vehemently protested against this move and have refused these ministerial vehicles. We salute these three ministers. In the meantime, Ranil is giving lame excuses for not implementing the orders given by the AG’s department to arrest 6 top administrative officers one being his own Secretary woman.

    Daham
    June 9, 2016 at 1:40 pm
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      Thanks you for this analysis! Divide, Distract and Rule the masses is the name of the political game played by the corrupt political leaders of Lanka. Billions are spent to buy luxury cars for corrupt politicians, while the long suffering people of Lanka are hit by Floods, fires and massive tax increases due to bad development and governance policies by A-Yahapalanaya Sira-Ranil-Mahinda Jarapassa crooked team. The putrid political culture in Lanka of corrupt politicians in the stinking and sinking parliament are the root cause of the multiple crises that people face today. But our cunning and nasty politicians distract the moda masses from their cross party corruption by playing ethnic and religious hate politics. At the end of the day Mahinda Jarapassa, Sira, Ranil, CBK and their corrupt cronies and intellectually bankrupt advisors are all in the same CORRUPT game to DIVIDE, DISTRACT and RULE the masses. Politicians from all parties, particularly UNP and SLFP are corrupt crooks who enjoy the high life at the Diyawenna Oya Parliament MEGA PARTY circus. There is not serious inquiry in the the Panama Papers list and Arjuna Mahendran, Ranils crony at the Central Bank needs to be arrested for financial crimes. Corruption is bi-partisan in the giant Cabinet Sira-Ranil Ayahapalanay government that allocates billions for their and cronies luxury cars.

      Dodo
      June 9, 2016 at 8:02 pm
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      Corruption is trickling down from the top, where Ranil’s crony Arjuna Mahendran at Central Bank is the chieftains robbing people and economy of Sri Lanka in broad daylight with impunity and immunity. And then look at the gigantic cabinet of corrupt morons… Do not not blame provincial politicians who learn corruption and thuggery from their national counterparts in the huge Cabinet of Sirisena and Wickramasinghe. Corruption is tricking down.. the fish rots from the head down.

      Dinuk
      June 9, 2016 at 8:09 pm
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      Daham, Rajitha is person who can win argument with “hakera kata” type counter arguments. He dominated the discussion with the scribs about the ned for such luxary vehicles. The punchline of his justification for the vehicles was that to travel far away locations in difficult road conditions you need a four wheeled drive powerful vehicle, which is in this price range. OK. Let’s accept that logic of Rajitha. Yet, all Ministers all the time do not need such vehicles (for instance, Minister of Urban Development will not go on unmortable rural roads), how many of them at a given time in remote corners of the country? Why not they could buy a few of such four wheeld (or whatever engin capacity needed) vehicle to a pool and share it among the ministers. This is the arrangement in almost all other public institutions do. They share vehicles from a pool.

      Mythbuster
      June 10, 2016 at 12:03 am
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  2. 4
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    Banana Republic

    lex
    June 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm
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  3. 5
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    Mr.Clean seems to be getting soiled. Rapidly loosing his popularity!

    Diogenes
    June 9, 2016 at 5:05 pm
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  4. 4
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    RW and MS can keep on refusing to punish the culprits ,finally they themselves be Dumped by the electorates. The ancient curse of the country is in full attack. There’s no clemency from Karma the Bitch!!! SRILANKA IS CURSED. The people are cursed .!! EVEN. …. DIYAWADANA NILAME of Kataragama CANNOT SLEEP IN PEACE!! His life is in danger it appears as per yesterday’s news!!! What a sad country. It’s all due to the GREEDINESS , BUTCHERY AND ANARCHY UNDER THE GUISE OF BUDDHISM. REAL SHAME!!!

    Analyst
    June 9, 2016 at 8:38 pm
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  5. 1
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    FRYING PAN TO THE FIRE !! SHAME ON YOU GUYS !

    GERARD PERERA
    June 10, 2016 at 4:21 am
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  6. 0
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    Very pertinent question Mr. Ali

    carlion
    June 11, 2016 at 12:17 am
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  7. 1
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    Whatever we cannot afford (service national debt, food, housing, improved healthcare etc)…. we can certainly afford to re-fleet our deserving MP’s and Ministers with new vehicles every six months Thank you Hon. President, Hon. Prime Minister and Yahapalana Government !! When you took over the administration, we were really worried that you would cut all the perks and corrup…. I mean “free enterprise” .. as per your election promises We are very glad to realise that it was all a load of electioneering BS and you have no intention of changing anything Thank you once again !!!!

    maalumiris
    June 11, 2016 at 11:27 pm
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