By Ashwin Hemmathagama
Our Lobby Correspondent
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday enlightened the Parliament the “art of the possible" be it in politics or national budgeting.
Speaking at the Committee stages of 2016 Budget, the Premier thanked all those who had helped to pass his Government’s maiden budget, and highlighted the importance of acting with responsibility in a national unity government.
“Some held this was a UNP budget but the mandate was given us to join with other parties and form a government. Now we have the strangest Parliament in Asia. This is not a UNP parliament. President Sirisena, assuming duties, first reduced his authority. Now we have the constitutional council along with many other independent commissions,” he said.
He further said that the former President had repeatedly said he was unable to appoint any of these commissions.
“We are willing to amend the Standing Orders where Ministers and the MPs should be in Parliament at all times. Parliament should be stronger. We will establish a Budget Select Committee office in the Parliament and reduce the burden of the Finance Ministry. We will be increasing the female representation to 25% in local governments,” he said listing several other new laws still in draft form. All this would increase Parliamentary oversight of the state finances, the Premier said.