New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa with President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda soon after his swearing ceremony as a Cabinet Minister
- Appointed as Finance Minister but no economic development as senior Mahinda gets new Ministry of Economic Policies and Planning
- Basil admits challenging times ahead but expresses confidence in Govt. overcoming and steering country towards growth and prosperity
- Insists main responsibility is to serve people and Govt. has identified priorities
New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa signs the first document after assuming duties
Amidst internal and external challenges, seasoned political campaigner and results-oriented Basil Rajapaksa yesterday assumed the key portfolio of Finance Minister, promising to deliver economic growth and prosperity to people.
After much speculation and reservations among some, the all-important Ministry of Finance was handed over to Basil by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a subject most of the time held by the head of the Government or Parliament except during the Yahapalanaya regime.
However, the much-discussed subject of Economic Development wasn’t added though Basil handled it exceptionally well previously. Instead, the President felt it right to create a new ministry called the Ministry of Economic Policies and Planning, the mantle of which was given to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Basil began the day with blessings from the Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya, and after being sworn in as Minister, travelled to Parliament to be sworn in as a National List MP, made possible by the willing resignation of Jayantha Ketagoda.
“It is a challenging task ahead of us,” Basil told the media after assuming duties at the Finance Ministry. “But we have a proven track record of overcoming both political and economic stumbling blocks thanks to our well-wishers,” Basil added.
He called on friends in the media, trade unions, labourers, fisherfolks, farmers, State employees, professionals, and the entire workforce to extend their support to ensure the progress of Sri Lanka.
He also stressed that he needs the support of all public representatives from the Parliament to Provincial Councils, Local Government and Municipal Councils.
“Our priority is to serve the people. We have identified all the key priorities and requirements of the general public. However, at times we will have to take certain unpopular decisions, just like how a father would for the betterment of his children and family. But these out-of-favour decisions are taken with so much honesty and consideration for the betterment of the entire nation. Therefore, I urge you all to support our efforts in these trying times,” Basil appealed.
He extended his gratitude to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and everyone in the party for giving him the opportunity to enter the Parliament and subsequently swear in as a Minister. The guidance and leadership of the President and the Prime Minister are paramount to make headway.
In Parliament, Basil Rajapaksa was greeted warmly by MPs on the Government side as he was escorted to his front-row seat by Serjeant-at-Arms Narendra Fernando.
“Congratulations Basil Rajapaksa for assuming pivotal responsibility and taking over the Finance Ministry at a critical time for Sri Lanka’s economy. We stand by you in this journey and commit to supporting the vision of a prosperous Sri Lanka,” Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) said in a Tweet.
This is the third time that he represents Parliament. Parliamentarian Basil Rohana Rajapaksa was elected to Parliament from the National List of the United People›s Freedom Alliance in 2007. In the 2010 Parliamentary Elections, he was elected from the Gampaha district by obtaining the highest number of preferential votes in Sri Lanka. He gained a record 425,861 preferential votes.
He was the Cabinet Minister for Economic Development from 2007-2010 in the sixth Parliament and 2010-2015 in the seventh Parliament. He has held a number of positions as Senior Advisor to the President and head of Presidential Task Forces.
Basil spearheaded a number of Government initiatives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and played a major role as a member of the Committee to Combat COVID-19. He is also the Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation and the Presidential Task Force on Creating a Green Sri Lanka with Sustainable Solutions to Climate Change.
Rajapaksa was first elected to Parliament as a National List MP from the United People›s Freedom Alliance in 2007. In the 2010 Parliamentary Elections, he was elected from the Gampaha district by obtaining 425,861 preferential votes.
He was the Cabinet Minister for Economic Development from 2007-2015.
Born in 1951 in Giruwapaththuwa, Hambantota, Basil Rohana Rajapaksa is the Head of the Presidential Task Force for Economic Revival and Poverty Eradication and the Presidential Task Force on Creating a Green Sri Lanka with Sustainable Solutions to Climate Change.
He was educated in Isipathana College Colombo and Ananda College.