Parliament meets to discuss the economic crisis at a time when there is no Finance Minister in the country nor a Secretary to the Treasury: . “No Minister, no Secretary and no money in the Treasury. You have brought this country to bankruptcy,” Says TNA MP Sumanthiran


By Chandani Kirinde

Parliament yesterday began a two-day debate on the worsening economic and political crisis but there was no consensus on the way forward despite an appeal from Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena and several MPs on both sides of the House to work together in this time of need.

The House also met to discuss the economic crisis at a time when there is no Finance Minister in the country nor a Secretary to the Treasury.

Even though Parliament met to discuss ways to quell the growing public unrest brought on by the shortage of essential goods and rising costs, sittings were suspended twice by the Speaker due to heated argument among Government and Opposition MPs.

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MPs staged a protest inside the Chamber carrying placards and banners calling for the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. They shouted some of the slogans that are reverberating on the streets thus leading to heated scenes inside the Chamber.

The Speaker in his address to the MPs said that economists have predicted that the current economic situation is likely to worsen in the weeks ahead and there can be food shortages in addition to the gas, fuel, electricity etc.

“We in this Parliament can act together within the Constitutional framework to address the problems of the people. If we fail to do so, it will be a failure for parliamentary democracy,” the Speaker said.

He requested MPs to put forward a common program before the House by the end of the week so that an escalation of the current situation can be prevented.
Government MPs who spoke on the debate appealed to the opposition to accept the invitation from the Parliament to join an interim government to solve the immediate problems in the country,

“We will support you to get the necessary numbers in the House. Take over the Government and do what you can to solve the problems of the people,” former Minister Bandula Gunawardena said.

However, the inability of the Government to place before the House any proposals to overcome the crisis was questioned by opposition MPs.

“We are debating the situation in the country and there is no Finance Minister in the country and nor have we been told what the government plans to do to overcome the economic crisis,” SJB MP Harshan Rajakaruna said.

Tamil National Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran said the Government has decided to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but there is no Finance Minister to hold discussions with the organisation.

“The one most important post there must be in Government today if you are to deal with the situation out there, if you are to deal with the dollar crisis, escalating prices, shortage of food, machines, it is the Minister of Finance and you don’t have a Minister of Finance. The Secretary to the Treasury too has resigned. No Minister, no Secretary and no money in the Treasury. You have brought this country to bankruptcy,” the TNA MP said.

Courtesy:Daily FT