President RW stresses Parliament’s authority over Govt.’s fiscal measures

Saturday, 5 August 2023 01:21 –      – 49

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 President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing at the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Coconut Growers Association

  • Says Government operates within framework set by laws of Parliament 
  • Emphasises importance of unity in propelling country forward 
  • Cautions against detrimental effects of outdated political influences
  • Reiterates potential adverse consequences of halting debt optimisation program

President Ranil Wickreme-singhe reiterated the primacy of Parliament in matters of fiscal responsibility, asserting that only the legislative body holds the authority to make decisions regarding debt optimisation measures.

Speaking at the 29th Annual General Meeting of the Coconut Growers Association, President Wickremesinghe underscored the Government’s commitment to adhering solely to Parliament’s directives, highlighting the significance of unity in advancing the country.

“The control of public finances lies with the Parliament, and the debt optimisation activities have already been approved by it. The Parliament, being the custodian of the sovereign power of the people, under Article 04 of the Constitution, exercises all the necessary powers. The Government operates within the framework set by the laws of the Parliament, and decisions can only be changed or continued with the Parliament’s notification,” stressed Wickremesinghe.

The President also emphasised the importance of unity in propelling the country forward and cautioned against the detrimental effects of outdated political influences. He assured that the Government is steadfast in its responsibility to enhance the country’s development and collaborates harmoniously with the Parliament, particularly concerning the loan optimisation program, where their accountability is paramount.

“Despite the country’s financial challenges, the Government possesses the capability to address these issues and move forward. Loan optimisation activities are underway, and discussions have taken place with leaders from various countries. The goal is not to default on outstanding loans but to gain more time to repay them while finding ways to pay off debts incurred for necessary imports. This necessitates a shift towards a highly competitive export economy,” he added.

Acknowledging the ongoing progress in debt optimisation work, with proposals presented in Cabinet, and discussions held with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and major creditor countries; President Wickremesinghe informed that after Parliamentary discussions and amendments, the proposal has been submitted for acceptance.

“The State Finance Committee of the Parliament has actively participated in this process, working diligently regardless of party differences,” he stated, expressing gratitude to the State Finance Committee for their support while hoping that the Opposition would also endorse the initiative.

Despite the initial lack of support from the Opposition, President Wickremesinghe noted that many members from Opposition parties later rallied behind the program’s continuation without objection. “However, some groups sought to disrupt the program, resorting to street protests which are ultimately unsuccessful in garnering public support. Now, they are attempting to utilise the Court for their political agenda, seeking prohibition orders,” he added.

He reiterated the potential adverse consequences of halting the debt optimisation program, as foreign countries might become less willing to engage in business with the country.

 

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