Moragoda wants the 13th Amendment repealed to abolish “dysfunctional, expensive” Provincial Councils
ECONOMYNEXT – Former Cabinet Minister Milinda Moragoda, is calling for the abolishing of the Provincial Councils which he says are “superfluous, expensive, divisive, and fraught with inefficiency.”
Moragoda who now runs the Pathfinder Foundation which advises President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, called on the political parties to make their stand on the Provincial Councils clear before the Parliamentary General Elections due on August 5.
He said that parties must “clearly state their positions on the Provincial Council system in their policy platforms for the forthcoming general elections.”
He urges the parties to repeal the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing the PCs.
Moragoda pointed out that the nine councils have been dissolved some of them for more than two years.
“The population at large would be able to judge as to whether they have missed their presence during this period” he said in a Media Statement.
The original intent of the creation of the PCs was to grant greater provincial autonomy “in order to address Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem.”
Instead this structure has proved to be “superfluous, expensive, divisive, and fraught with inefficiency,” he said.
The former Economic Reform Minister was also one of the principle negotiators with the LTTE during the peace process in 2002.
Moragoda argues that the PCs be replaced with “an empowered senate/upper house, that could address critical issues concerning religious, ethnic, and regional diversity.”
He says that such a second chamber would provide a viable democratic framework to deal with the increasing ethnic, religious and regional polarisation in our society.
He also proposes that “power be directly devolved to empowered and reconfigured local, urban and municipal councils, since these bodies operate closest to the citizenry, and are thus in a better position to address and solve community-level problems.”
“Finally, the Provincial Council system costs Sri Lanka over 250 billion rupees annually and there is little doubt that significant savings and improved efficiency can be achieved through their abolition this dysfunctional mechanism,” he added. (Colombo, June 29, 2020)
Reported by Arjuna Ranawana