Tuesday, 9 May 2023 01:44 –      – 97

 

  •  Says newly proposed CBSL Bill has not yet gone through CoPF
  •  Stresses finance-related bills must go through CoPF before going into debate and passage in house
  •  Claims appointment of temporary chair for bill is in violation of parliamentary rules
  •  Independent MP Prof. Charitha Herath proposes tabling of CBSL Bill be delayed to next week

Parliamentary Comm-ittee on Public Finance (CoPF) chair nominee MP Harsha de Silva has slammed Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardane for indefinitely postponing the meeting of the Committee of Selection resulting in the further delaying of his appointment to the post. With the Government set to present the Central Bank Bill in Parliament this week, de Silva taking to Twitter yesterday noted that it has not yet gone through the CoPF.

The SJB MP stressed that all finance-related bills must go through the CoPF before going into debate and passage in the house. However, he said a temporary chair will now be appointed in violation of parliamentary rules and the bill will be approved without any critical debate since January 2023.

MP de Silva’s appointment as CoPF chair has been delayed on four previous occasions and each time de Silva condemned the failure to confirm him in the post, accusing the Government led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) of purposely preventing it. De Silva noted that the CoPF is the only committee reserved to be chaired by the Opposition.

De Silva was first appointed to the post in August 2022 but was not among the members reappointed to the committee in the fourth session of the ninth Parliament. Instead, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mayantha Dissanayake was appointed as the new Chairperson of the CoPF in February this year. However, days later Dissanayake resigned from the post after other SJB members cried foul over his appointment. De Silva was nominated to replace Dissanayake, but his appointment has not been confirmed yet.

Meanwhile, independent MP Prof. Charitha Herath says the proposed Central Bank Bill should be delayed to next week. “The Government is going to rush the CBSL Act. It is scheduled to be tabled on 11 May. Yet it is still not clear whether the Supreme Court determined points were carefully studied and the draft was amended accordingly,” he said.

The MP pointed to several facts that should be cleared before the house votes on the proposed bill. Among them, he said there should be clarity on the role of the Central Bank and if it should only focus on price stability as proposed in the draft or should be mandated for financial policymaking as well. He also said it must be explained how the Central Bank will be independent of fiscal policymakers. “Can we agree on a structure in which CB could be independent of the executive (President) but accountable to the legislature (Parliament)?” he asked.

 

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