By Ajith Alahakoon and Akitha Perera
The JVP yesterday called for the immediate resignation of President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation.
The JVP also called for the resignation of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan and National Co-existence Dialogue and Official Languages Minister
Mano Ganesan. JVP MP Bimal Ratnayake, participating in the third reading stage debate on budget 2018, said that the three ministries which were expected to play a crucial role in solving the national problem in Sri Lanka had failed to spent at least 50% of funds allocated for them from Budget 2017.
Ratnayake said that if those ministers could not utilise the funds given for their ministries, they should immediately resign as the country had no need for them.
MP Ratnayake said: “From Budget 2017, Rs. 19, 782 million was allocated to the Ministry of Prison reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs. It received Rs. 10, 167 million from the allocated money. However, until 30 September 2017 the ministry had spent only about Rs. 6000 million.”
Similarly, Ratnayake said the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, which was under the President, had received Rs. 325 million though the original budget allocation was Rs. 3,532 million. The ministry, however, had spent only 9% of the received funds, he said.
Moreover, out of the allocations amounting to Rs. 1,063 million from the Budget 2017, Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages had received Rs. 473 million. It had spent 45% of that amount, the JVP MP said.
“I obtained this information from a report prepared by the Treasury. These ministries are expected to play a crucial role in solving the national problem. This country faced a 30-year-war and the causes of the conflict remain. These ministries do nothing to solve the problems the country is faced with. If they cannot utilize the funds given to them properly, what is the point of having them as ministers?
Minister of Prison reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Affairs D.M Swaminathan vehemently refuted the JVP MP’s allegations. “I’m not interested in knowing how MP Ratnayake got this information. But, I would like to ask him to not make false statements and mislead the general public. My ministry has spent from 93% – 95% of the funds allocated for the ministry. Ratnayake is talking as if we had not done anything this year. We have done so much of work. He can check it with MPs who come from the North. He should, at least, have the courtesy to check what we have done before criticising us.”