- MP Prof. Charitha Herath calls for amendments in Budget relating to land and reforming of State enterprises
- Says his group will not vote for Budget if requested amendments are not made
- Calls on Govt. to explain the rationale behind the move to privatise profit making ventures
MP Prof. Charitha Herath
MP Prof. Charitha Herath yesterday said members of the Freedom People’s Congress will vote against the Budget if amendments are not made on points of contention.
Herath told a media briefing that provisions in the Budget on the disposal of Government lands and the reforms of State-owned enterprises must be revisited and reviewed.
“They must be amended. The President may say who cares especially in a situation where he claims to have no concern for even the MPs who voted for him. Therefore, he will not heed what those of us in the Opposition have to say. But we would like to tell the people of this country that this is an attempt to carry out a great fraud,” he said.
Herath said within these provisions lie issues relating to lands owned by Sri Lanka Land Development Corporation as well as the Sri Lanka Telecom and the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.
“None of these actions are being taken with any thought or care. Policies are changing overnight. There is a list of State enterprises including SriLankan Airlines that must be reformed. The Government has set those aside and instead chosen profitable businesses to be reformed instead. We call on the Government to stop this act,” Herath said.
“If the citizens of the country approve absolute privatisation of State agencies, we will not oppose this. But no one is calling for profit making State enterprises to be sold off. These are mere whims and fancies of leaders,” he alleged.
Herath also called on the three provisions to be amended immediately. “The people’s mandate is not a blank cheque. It is the approval of the people for a distinct program. No Minister or MP has the right to lift their hands and vote against the mandate of the people,” he added.
Herath said loss making ventures must be reformed and studies have been done on the subject in the past. “But a responsible party in the Government must now reveal why it has chosen to reform profit making enterprises instead. We will continue to oppose these moves,” he said.