United National Party Leader Ranl Wickremesighe tables proposal in House to strengthen Parliament ment oversight over public finance

UNP Leader MP Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday tabled in Parliament a draft proposal to revive the economy and strengthen the role of Parliament in the exercise of its powers over public finance.

These include directing the Committee on Public Finance to inquire and report on the state of public finance including amending the Appropriation Act 2022 to ensure financial provisions for the protection of vulnerable groups; as well as the Committee on Public Enterprises to inquire and report on the financial position of the State-owned enterprises.

He also proposed the suspension of all capital expenditure on new projects including expansion projects of State-owned enterprises as well as suspension of the alienations, including sales and/or leases, of State controlled and/or owned assets or enterprises.

He said any decision by the Government to dispose of the above-mentioned assets/enterprises must first be informed to Parliament.

He also called upon the Prime Minister to submit a statement on the position regarding the supply of food, medicine, fertiliser and fuel until August.

The other proposals include the appointment of several committees including a Ways and Means Committee to report on the measures necessary to mobilise additional revenue for the Government; a Banks and Financial Services Committee to report on the financial position of Banks and Financial Service enterprises and the measures needed to ensure the stability and continuance of the financial sector including a safety net; and an Economic Stabilisation Committee to report amongst other matters on the measures taken by the Government to restore macroeconomic credibility.

He also said that in order to ensure that the Monetary Board conforms to its objectives stated in Section 5 of the Monetary Law and that the Central Bank refrains from deficit financing without the approval of Parliament.

Other proposals include the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Office and appointment of a Select Committee to examine and report on the persons responsible for floating the currency, denying the unsustainability of the external debt, thereby causing bankruptcy, and to re-examine the State Accounts for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

In addition to these, the UNP MP also made several other proposals and called on the House to engage the youth protesting on the streets and invite them to discuss the current crisis and possible solutions.

The former PM, while extending his full support to the reimplementation of the 19th Amendment, called for the complete removal of the 20th Amendment.

Courtesy:Daily FT