21 September, 2020

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Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Speech Grossly Irresponsible & Misleading

By Mangala Samaraweera

Mangala Samaraweera – Former Finance Minister

Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. He also holds the vital portfolio of Finance, Economic and Policy Development. He was President of Sri Lanka for two terms and held many ministries during that time. And he has been a Member of Parliament since 1970. 

Therefore, he has no excuse whatsoever for the grossly irresponsible and misleading statement he made yesterday. It is a base political statement, dressed up to conceal its mendacity, using the official letterhead of the Prime Minister. 

In the interests of brevity, I will not respond to the entire statement. However, the claims made in relation to Parliament’s role in our Republic and its public finance function have a direct bearing on the health crisis, economic crisis, debt-crisis and looming constitutional crisis facing our nation today.  

Canard – I

“It is without getting a budget approved in Parliament that we have allocated this amount of money and given relief to the General Public.”

Any money allocated by the Government is the public’s money. It is raised by taxes and by debt – which must be paid by future taxes. It is not the largesse of any person, office or family. 

The current allocation of money is determined by the Vote-on-Account passed by a Resolution of Parliament on 23 October 2019. That Resolution determines the scheme of expenditure and borrowing for the period 1 January 2020 to 30 April 2020. Therefore, any money the Government must have been approved by Parliament. 

The Prime Minister’s claim that money is being spent without Parliamentary approval is a very serious violation of the Constitutional provisions on public finance. These provisions clearly state that Parliament has the power of the purse; including complete and undiluted control over government revenue, expenditure and debt. 

Canard – II

“The President did not have the opportunity to get the assistance of Parliament to do any of these things. Parliament did not support us when we tried to get an interim budget approved before Parliament dissolved.” 

As stated above, all the expenditure currently being spent by the Government is under the Vote-on-Account passed on 23 October. Any expenditure outside that would be a violation of the constitution. Therefore, Parliament has adequately discharged its duty of providing the Executive with necessary funds for the governance of the Republic. 

As further expenditure and borrowing is necessary in light of the Coronavirus, my colleagues across the political spectrum have made abundantly clear that they will support the allocation of additional funds and an increase in the debt ceiling. 

As to the claim that “Parliament did not support us when we tried to get an interim budget approved before Parliament dissolved”, that is a lie. The Government moved an unprecedented resolution in Parliament. It attempted, for the first time in history, to move a motion to amend a Vote-on-Account. Despite this highly irregular procedure, political parties sitting on the Opposition benches agreed to support the Government’s social welfare schemes. We did not object to increases in expenditure on health, education and other schemes. 

However, we did object to raising the debt-ceiling. As a result of the debt-fuelled growth of the 2009 to 2015 era and the utterly irresponsible tax cuts this year, Sri Lanka was in a debt-trap. If we failed to pay our debt, then we would default. This would lead us down the path of Argentina or Greece. In order to prevent this fate, we insisted on maintaining the responsible borrowing limit that had been put in place. Between 2017 and November 2020, Sri Lanka recorded its first proper primary surplus – meaning the government’s books were balanced – in 63 years. That record was repeated in 2018 and up until November 2019. This was maintained despite the Rajapaksa’s constitutional coup and the Easter Bombings. 

Canard – III

“The public who have the sovereignty ask us as to what use there is re-summoning Parliament in such a situation.”

Mr. Prime Minister, the public are concerned about their health. They are concerned about whether their food stocks will last. They are concerned about paying for their next basket of provisions. They are concerned about whether they will lose their jobs. They are concerned about the strength of the rupee. They are concerned about the health of the economy. 

They are also concerned that the rule-of-law is maintained and proper checks-and-balances are put in place. We have seen the corruption and abuse of power that arises when there is no accountability. Parliament is one of the three key pillars that constitutes the checks-and-balances that protect our government from abuse and keep our democracy – the oldest in Asia – alive and flourishing. Sri Lanka has faced many disasters: natural, like the Tsunami, or man-made, such as terrorism and insurgencies. We have faced them all successfully because we were a democracy. 

This is why the constitution clearly states that the sovereignty of the people shall be jointly exercised within a framework of fundamental rights. First by the legislature. Second by the executive. And third by the judiciary. In fact, following the passage of the 19th Amendment, the President is responsible and accountable to Parliament. Due to the dissolution of Parliament, it has been unable to provide that oversight. As the date of elections has been extended, and the country has been engulfed by multiple crises, it is the President’s duty to invoke the provisions of the Constitution relating to such a situation, including Article 70(7). 

Conclusion

The government is playing fast-and-loose with the Constitution and with the rule-of-law. It is not only putting the health of our democracy in danger, its actions are severely damaging the health of our economy. The borrowing limit is about to be breached, which means the government can raise no further funds despite the desperate need for a fiscal stimulus. We are on the verge of a constitutional crisis. There is uncertainty about the authorization to raise funds following 30 April. This cavalier attitude, combined with the myopic tax-cuts earlier this year, are key reasons why the interest rate on government debt rose to over 100% last week. Investors and financial markets have lost all confidence in the government. Even before the corona outbreak, the stock market was plummeting and foreign investors sold their assets in droves. By contrast, following the Easter Bombings we were able to raise debt in June 2019 at 5.49%. 

Many citizens are going to lose their jobs. Our industries are facing an unprecedented crisis. The rupee is collapsing. This is the time to get all arms of government working to prevent any further deterioration in the situation. It is not the time to start constitutional crises. It took the economy months to recover after the last one in October 2019. To do so then was criminal, to do so today would be the most callous case of placing a family’s private political interest over the interests of the entire country.  

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Latest comments

  • 5
    5

    What would be the scenario if they resort to a Military set up to tie over the very obvious constitutional crisis we are heading for . Can they use public money then? and what would be the repercussions with he burrowing institutions like the World Bank & IMF

    • 7
      8

      They don’t need public money, they can simply print what they need.

      • 5
        7

        Reggie,
        money is not the issue here. World market ‘s oil price sank by 50%.
        .
        So over few billions of funds should be saved.
        .
        And there was a credit being offered by US
        .
        And there was grant offered by EU

        And they also cut some funds from the poor people, as promised no such concessions to PLANTATIon TAMILS yet.
        :
        All in all BPs, make every effort to collect those funds for their ELECTION campaigns.
        :
        These bugger DUO, did the same prior to 2015, but today, PUNNAKU drinkers including you, have lost your memories.
        :
        Jesus – where are we marching today? Either CORONA COV 2 should killed RAJAPAKSHES forever, or, tsunumi or other natural and divine forces should work on them: Sooner is better.

        • 4
          2

          ‘PUNNAKU drinkers including you, have lost your memories.’
          .
          Don’t be silly. Have you tried drinking Punakku?
          .
          This too will pass and all will be well. Don’t give up hope my friend.

  • 18
    16

    The JVP leader and Samaraweera are bothe talking poppycock and making stupid statements . It is time they realised that the voters have made their choice which reflects their period in office had been an utter disaster, riddled with corruption and mismanagement , never experienced before in the history of Lanka’s
    Political scenario since Independence.

  • 17
    13

    “Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Speech Grossly Irresponsible & Misleading.”
    Not surprising because this man has a forked tongue. A snake has two prongs in its tongue but Mahinda’s tongue has multiple prongs. When he was President, he used to give a different explanation to every party. One to the Tamil parties, one to the US, one to Norway, one to India, one to the Sinhala public, one to his own party men and so on! Unfortunately, many people could not see through this.
    And now he wants a two-thirds parliamentary majority for his party. What gall this man has!

    • 5
      6

      Stan,
      Mahinda Rajapakshe has only one tongue. He said that he will eliminate Demala LTTE terrorist barbarians and he did that.

      “Not surprising because this man has a forked tongue. A snake has two prongs in its tongue but Mahinda’s tongue has multiple prongs.”

      Guys who have forked tongues are Wellala Demala politicians. They say one thing to Dalits in Yapanaya and live happily with Sinhalayo in Colombo.

  • 5
    2

    A fiscal stimulas is badly needed. We have followed the american system by giving funds to the poorThis increases demande. USA also has a high debt. chinese and japenese have investyed heavily on their treasury bills. They are also indebted to the middle meast. We should follow there path. Subsidies to will control prices and direct investment in the right path. In both the debt level has to increase. As parliment stands dissolved we may have to ask supreme court for direction. Let us unite even with a resolution by ncirculation.
    a.

  • 1
    1

    A fiscal stimulas is badly needed. We have followed the american system by giving funds to the poorThis increases demande. USA also has a high debt. chinese and japenese have investyed heavily on their treasury bills. They are also indebted to the middle meast. We should follow there path. Subsidies to will control prices and direct investment in the right path. In both the debt level has to increase. As parliment stands dissolved we may have to ask supreme court for direction. Let us unite even with a resolution by circulation.
    a.

  • 7
    18

    Unfortunately the GDP which was at 7% in 2015 was brought down to 2% within 4 years of Yahapalana Govt. This is in addition to the sale of our land for 100 years to China. Plans of Yahaplana govt. to sell Colombo Port and Mattala to India, Trinco to America were thwarted because of the Pesidential elections. This is a big achievement in the wrong direction.
    In addition there was the degradation of the security of our country not withstanding the impact of the Bond Scam. Sri Lankans are fully aware of the former Finance Minister’s achievements. The less he crows about them is better for his survival at the forthcoming elections!

    • 7
      3

      Hi Janake,
      From which report you learnt that 2015 GDP was 7% ? But as per central bank of Srl lanka’s annual reports GDP growth rates were as follows
      2013. – 3.40%
      2014. – 4.96%
      2015. – 5.01% During this year economy was controlled by my3 & RW led yahapalana
      Gang. I think you still think MR was ruling the country during 2015 also.
      M E P Perera

    • 5
      8

      Janaki

      You remind me of the Nightingale of South India Janaki the Singer. But that is where the comparison ends when you turn into a Nightmare of Gothas Lanka with your following observations.

      1) Plans of Yahaplana govt. to sell Colombo Port and Mattala to India, Trinco to America were thwarted because of the Pesidential elections. This is a big achievement in the wrong direction.

      *** NO they have all been overwhelmed and taken over by India the big Brother.

      2)In addition there was the degradation of the security of our country not withstanding the impact of the Bond Scam. Sri Lankans are fully aware of the former Finance Minister’s achievements.
      *** For your information Sri Lanka asked Singapore for Mahendran a Tamil by Birth and a Banker by Trade to be extradited but Singapore a Civilised Country refused as there was no evidence to Charge the Tamil.

      3)The less he crows about them is better for his survival at the forthcoming elections!

      *** He is not in the running. He is receiving an an Occupational Pension from what I have heard

    • 1
      2

      Janakan,

      Are you and Lathan are one and same?

    • 4
      0

      Janaki Amma

      In 2016 October COPE revealed that Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran should be held responsible for the Bond Issue Scam and legal action should be taken against him. However President Maithripala Sirisena has announced that he has appointed a Commission of Inquiry to further investigate the case.

      In March 2019, President of Sri Lanka revealed that Singapore didn’t respond to his phone call in early January in a request to return Arjuna Mahendran to Sri Lanka for inquiries and he also slammed the Singaporean government of sheltering the suspect. But the allegations were refuted by Singapore and revealed Colombo failed to provide valid documents and evidences on deporting of Mahendran to Sri Lanka.

      We all know what Sri Lankan Justice Means as we learnt from Lasanthas Murder. Extra Judicial Killing.

      Gotha

  • 7
    4

    The President appears to be eager to hold Parliamentary Election, where the Pohottuwa folks could amass a 2/3 majority to bend, break or make laws to rule this country as a family fiefdom. Coming to think of Iran, they held their Parliamentary Elections amidst the onset of Covid-19 and got into a big mess. I hope our President will be prudent and listen to reason and re-convene the Parliament, to avoid any likely constitutional crises, which is the least desired scenario that should hit us at this present moment.

  • 3
    8

    How sad the Government is ‘playing fast and loose with the Constitution’. Why doesn’t it follow the example of Mangala’s UNP and just cancel the General Election? Hold a simple referendum instead and stay in power for seventeen years. Sauce for the goose……

  • 7
    3

    MR m you were the 1 of the most unsuitable finance minister in srilanka just like Ravi who were appointed
    by RW one who was not compatible in accordance with srilankan norms …in short

  • 11
    5

    Sri Lankas future hangs in the balance under Gotha. Sri Lanka on top of the $1.3 million promised by America begged IMF for an immediate payment of $1.5 Billion for survival . The response from IMF was that it will be put on hold for another 4 months untill after the Parliamentary Election to see who is returned to Power. It is obvious IMF wont give Gotha the CRIMINAL any money and I hope MR will be elected with a 2/3rds Majority as wished by the Racist Majority so that Sri Lanks future is SEALED making Corona look an innocent Chinese Fly.
    Apparel Industry which earns $1.5 Billion a year already gone into liquidation.
    Agriculture which accounts for 7.7% GDP reeling from Curfew as 1/3 of items are rotting.
    Tourist Industry which in 2018 brought in $475 Million completely shut.

    But the Gotha Lovers oblivious to all this still Ranting and Raving with Racism. with words such as our Beloved President will save mother Lanka with his Panankoddai .

  • 6
    6

    I think this guy wants to go back to the parliament to enjoy all the privileges at the expense of Corona Virus. This guy’s father was a powerful minister and a government destroyer and this guy got his DNA because of that connection and our stupid people still vote for the cast he got easy passage to the parliament. I like to know his qualification because people say this guy even failed to get through maths at O. L. It is high time these people show their credentials to the public. I sincerely hope Matara people will consider what he did to our war heroes when voting him.

    • 3
      4

      freeda

      I am confused.
      Could you clarify whom you are talking about?

      “I like to know his qualification because people say this guy even failed to get through maths at O. L. It is high time these people show their credentials to the public.”

      Are you talking about Mahinda or Gota?
      Dr Mahinda was awarded LLD and Dr Gota was bestowed a DSc by Colombo Uni.

      • 0
        0

        I am talking about Mangala

      • 0
        0

        I am talking about Mangala Samaraweera

      • 2
        0

        Native Vedda: and shamelessly these buffoons accepted those degrees. Woe to all the graduates of the Colombo University who earned their degrees by sheer hard work and effort. Which Uni in SL conferred a doctorate on the highest imbecile in our land, Bandualla Gunawardena?

      • 1
        2

        Dear native,

        No wonder your mate did a Diploma in Dress making in London.

        Still our poor suckers who paid Tax had to pick up the Tab for tuition as well as the boarding school….

  • 4
    6

    To hell with the Country. Self first.
    All these A** Holes are after are the Perks at people’s expense.

    GOSL can hold elections in the third week of May and form a Government by 2/June.

    • 8
      2

      Sinkala THONDA

      Form a Government by 2nd June and get a reply from IMF by 2nd June MIdnight that the application for $1.5 Billion Dollars was turned down and tell people to eat Grass.

    • 3
      3

      Thondamany

      “All these A** Holes are after are the Perks at people’s expense.”

      I will have to agree with you however the other A** Holes are only interested in total fascistic control and absolute power over the people, being a psychopath enjoys committing war crimes, …. sadist treatment of ordinary people, raid and rob treasury, unashamedly going around countries with begging bowl, Hindian’s Dhana (charity) US $550, another US $1.5 billion currency swap facility, ……. US$500 million loan from China, €22 million grant from EU, $1.3 million grant from US, …… yet you A** Holes gloat as if you have sovereignty, …….

      Take care of yourself from Ranaviruses and coronavirus.
      Happy Christian, Sinhala, Tamil, … Holidays

      • 2
        1

        Dear Native,

        Did your mates give 1.3 Mil…..WOW..

        How much Mackeral and Dhall that would have bought for the UNP supporters of the new Opp Leader from Keselwatta , who advised Prez Nandasena to give the Corona Infected, Plaquine .

        And use the Yankee Guide to protect the rest from catching the Corona…

        • 1
          0

          KASmaalam K.A. Sumanasekera

          “Did your mates give 1.3 Mil…..WOW..”

          What makes you think they are my mates?
          The Europeans, the Americans, the Canadians, the Japanese, the Hindians (your distant cousins Naduvans), …… have been generously funding your life style and directly or indirectly funding your oppressive state, perhaps paying wages/salaries of Shavendra, Kamal, Gota, Mahinda, ……..and what they loot from the country.

          You should not only cover your face but also your a**e.

          Your stupid people have been complaining about WHO. Trump must have heeded your warnings, as a result he had pulled out of the international institution.

          Rather than constantly complaining about the interference of International institutions in this island or clamouring for attention your politicians and their goons should once and for all pull out of all institutions that allowed this island’s membership, including SAARC, SCO, ABD, Generous Currency Swap Arrangement with Hindia, …………………. IORA, BIMSTEC, Colombo Plan, NAM, … more than 60 institutions and with SJ’s overwhelming support beg China (peacefully rising middle kingdom) to anexe this island as being China’s another autonomous region, to protect the little islanders’ safety, security, dignity, sovereignty, food security, stupidity, Sinhala/Buddhism, ….. .

  • 4
    2

    Military personnel hold important positions, now. The northeast is cowed down by the military. Military’s puppets will win there.
    Gotabaya hopes to win by a bigger majority than at the last time and strengthen the military regime already in the making.
    Military men and women in civvies will be canvassing for votes in the coming election – the Election Commission will turn a ‘blind eye’ like what happened when the American citizen handed over papers last time.
    Puppets like Dinesh G will become ministers.
    Mangala and the few who think like him will be the opposition in parliament.

  • 9
    1

    Mangala is wasting his time writing in English in a forum that only a minute minority of people can read or understand. Very often, the voters, who seem oblivious to the major crooks who become politicians keep voting for either blue or green and lament until the next round. If a vast majority of people realised that they are constantly taken for a ride, none of these parasites will last a day in parliament.

  • 0
    3

    “Vasider Vayal Vishwamitra.”

    That is saying in Tamil. The greatest sage Vasider, known for his penance, praised Gowthama and conferred him the title Vishwamitra, saying his penance can not be achieved by anybody.

    World greatest liar Mangala is calling Old King a liar. In his last essay Mangala ended it saying, “Mahinda, I know you; you are not one of them; don’t follow them (King)”. Now Mangala is proud for Old King having accepted Mangala Request.

    Statements of Sinhala Buddhist Politics of Sinhala Intellectuals!

    Long live the Wildlife Sanctuary SinhaLE lanakwe, but please let us(Tamils) escape

  • 0
    1

    Native Vedda: and shamelessly these buffoons accepted those degrees. Woe to all the graduates of the Colombo University who earned their degrees by sheer hard work and effort. Which Uni in SL conferred a doctorate on the highest imbecile in our land, Bandualla Gunawardena?

  • 2
    0

    Since the country is facing the pandemic ,government can shift the calendar for three months back as former prz shift half an hour. It will solve the current medico politico economic crisis.

  • 1
    0

    The Sinhalese supporters of this regime are a bunch of uneducated or half baked bumpkins. Democracy and constitutions are irrelevant to this lot. The Rajapuksas have figured out how to keep this lot happy by giving them free stuff including money.

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