ECONOMYNEXT – Minister Bandula Gunewardena is blaming Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa for the government not being able to pay contractors who have carried out work for the state but whose bills have not been settled by the former administration.
Gunewardene told reporters Saturday that when the government asked the Opposition to support a lifting of the debt ceiling so that the government could borrow money to pay off the contractors, Premadasa did not do so.
“If Ranil Wickremesinghe was still the Leader of the Opposition this would not have happened,” Gunewardene said.
He said Premadasa should learn more about economics before making such decisions.
However Gunewardena admitted that the government has sufficient funds to run the administration for the next three months due to the Vote on Account that was passed before the Presidential elections.
“The President also has special powers to acquire funds for that purpose if needed,” he said.
On Friday former Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said that the government did not give a proper reply to the request made by the opposition with regard to certifying before parliament that all the unpaid payments for the development projects carried by the former government will be made to the contractors after the supplementary estimate is passed in parliament.
“Since there was no reply we realised that there was a hidden intention behind this supplementary estimate,” he said.
He also added that since the government has started development projects and recruitments in a hurry with the election around the corner, it is doubtful whether this money is going to be used for development projects in 2019 or new projects. (Colombo, February 22, 2020)