Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has displayed his immaturity by blocking the Government’s efforts to obtain loans to settle the soaring debts and his action will cause immense hardships for the masses in the months to come, Information and Media, Higher Education , Technology and Innovation Minister Bandula Gunawardene told a media conference at the Information Department yesterday.
“Had Ranil Wickremesinghe been the Opposition Leader today, he would have supported the Government to pass the Vote on Account to obtain Rs.367 billion to provide relief to the people,” he said.
By refusing to support the Government, Premadasa has displayed his immaturity, when it came to dealing with such an important national issue. He has shown that he is a political novice unable to grasp the need for measures that should be adopted to resolve a national issue.
Through the resolution, the Government sought to increase the debt ceiling and increase the expenditure as stipulated in the Amendment brought to the Vote on Account. This would have enabled the Government to raise loans, had the Opposition supported the Amendment.
Minister Gunawardene who is also the Cabinet Spokesman, said that the Opposition was thwarting the Government’s efforts to bring relief to the people. The Opposition is preventing us from proceeding in a legal manner to obtain the additional funds.
Even at this late hour, if the Opposition supports the Government to pass the Vote on Account, it should request the Speaker of the House to call Parliament and help the Government to pass the Bill. Then, we could settle the outstanding debt. Else, the public would have to wait until we present our Budget, the Minister said.
The Opposition is accusing us of trying to take political advantage. If that is the case it should support the Government to obtain the extra funds to settle the debt, the Minister said.
“We can tell the people that the Opposition is unconcerned about the plight of the people. Since the Opposition is refusing to support the Vote on Account we would be unable to settle the outstanding debt of Rs. 367 billion. This debt has been left by the previous Government.
There are about 150 contractors, supporters of the UNP, who had launched projects such as, Gam Peraliya; Hondama Paasala. They had borrowed money for those projects by obtaining loans from the banks. They have to settle the bank loans on time to avoid getting blacklisted, the Minister said.
The Minister said that they had called at his residence yesterday morning and wanted him to help them settle the banks loans. I told them to meet the Opposition Leader and tell him, what they had told me, he said.
Director Information, Nalaka Kaluweva was also present at the media conference.