“If Ranil hadn’t taken up challenge, we would have become a graveyard”
If President Ranil Wickremesinghe did not take up the challenge to resolve the economic and political issues, the country would have turned into a graveyard, MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena said in Parliament yesterday.
MP Abeygunawardena made this observation joining the Committee Stage debate on the Budget Proposals 2023.
Abeygunawardena said, “During former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s rule, there was a serious protest against him. The protestors occupied the President’s house for three months. When he planned to appoint a Prime Minister there were several names proposed including Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith Premadasa, Sarath Fonseka, Anura Dissanayake and Dullas Alahapperuma. The Prime Minister’s post was basically like an auction. We agreed to Ranil Wickremesinghe’s name because he is a seasoned politician with both strong local and international relations. If Gotabaya Rajapaksa did not resign, he would not be alive now. If Ranil Wickremesinghe did not take up the challenge, this country would have turned into a graveyard. We, as the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, believed that we should appoint our then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the President. We could not allow anarchy to prevail. Whatever happens, we first need to establish democratic rule in the country.”
Abeygunawardena said President Ranil Wickremesinghe told the true situation of the country to the people. “We need to tell the truth to the people. We got things wrong by not speaking the truth. In an election, the candidate who tells lies may win, however, we cannot avoid the true situation of the country.”
Abeygunawardena also said that he approves of the idea to restructure loss-making state enterprises.
“President Wickremesinghe should be grateful to aragalaya protesters”
President Ranil Wickremesinghe should be grateful for the aragalaya protesters as he was able to become the President because of their protest, National People’s Power Gampaha district MP Vijitha Herath said in Parliament yesterday (23).
MP Herath observed that instead of being grateful, he is now hunting down the protestors and using military and police to eliminate them. The MP said that it is an unfortunate situation.
MP Herath made these observations joining the Committee Stage debate on the Budget Proposals 2023.
Herath also said that Wickremesinghe is occupying the seat of the Executive Presidency owing to the commitment of the youth in the country.
MP Herath noted that the aragalaya did not spring suddenly from nowhere and pointed out that because of it, the political arena underwent major changes.
He also said that the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was not genuinely done to strengthen Parliament. “This is done to hoodwink the international community. People of this country know very well about this. One main reason we need a new Constitution and to remove the Executive Presidency is because of the Presidential pardon. This pardon has been offered to criminals, rapists, and murderers. Ranjan Ramanayake was given the pardon but partially. He is not allowed to engage in politics. He is being controlled politically. He is only allowed to carry on with his acting career. Ranjan Ramanayake was not given full freedom. He was an MP and a deputy minister. If he was genuinely pardoned, why not allow him to engage in politics?”
“We expect to earn US$ 500 mn from gem exports next year”
State Minister of Primary Industries Chamara Sampath Dasanayake said in Parliament yesterday that gem exports are expected to earn an income of US$ 500 million from next year.
In 2021, an income of US$ 276 million was earned from the gem industry, which makes a special contribution to the economy.
The State Minister said this while replying to a question from Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa under Standing Orders 27/2.
The State Minister also said that the Government has focused on training the next generation in gem cutting and polishing. Courses of study in this field are currently being conducted in the Kaduwela and Ratnapura districts, and new courses will be started in Nivithigala and Matale Laggala and the Monaragala district next year. The State Minister also said that an amount of Rs. 15 million has been allocated for these training institutes which will begin these courses next year.
He further pointed out that no restrictions have been imposed on the import of gems and that currently only 25 cents is being charged from the exporters.
“We take 25 cents from the exporters. This year, an income of US$ 170 million has been received from the export of gems. But about US$ 1 billion dollars worth of stones have gone out of this country. But this money is not coming back to Sri Lanka,” Dasanayake said.
The State Minister also said that a discussion with the Governor of the Central Bank, the Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and the Customs will be held this afternoon regarding the repatriation of money to Sri Lanka.
Sumanthiran clarifies why TNA didn’t vote at Second Reading of Budget 2023
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M. A. Sumanthiran yesterday gave a clarification to the House as to why the TNA did not vote at the Second Reading of the 2023 Budget Proposals on Tuesday.
MP Sumanthiran said, “I wish to clarify what we did at the vote last evening, I did explain right at the end of my speech, nevertheless, time was insufficient, so therefore I’d like to say that right through the debate on the Second Reading, all members of the Tamil National Alliance criticized the Budget. Every one of us for various reasons, I don’t need to repeat that. And ordinarily, we would have had to therefore vote against the Budget at the Second Reading. However, we took a decision not to cast our votes against the Budget at the Second Reading, for one reason and that is because the President has on numerous occasions in the last few days repeatedly said that he wants to resolve the Tamil national question and has invited the Tamil parties to have discussions with him.
We have publicly expressed our scepticism about this invitation. Nevertheless when there is a hand that is stretched out from the President himself, we thought we must reciprocate in some way and therefore would not vote against the Budget as a signal of our bonafides in this matter.”