Sri Lanka government withdraws motion to expand vote-on-account
ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government had withdrawn a motion to increase spending and the borrowing limit by amending four month vote-on-account after opposition declined support, Leader of the House Dinesh Gunewardene said.
“Because the opposition declined to support, we are withdrawing the proposal, to stop even more harmful side effects,” Gunewardene told parliament.
“The motion was brought to pay loans and essential spending, and the opposition is planning to obstruct it.”
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to power in a landslide, but general elections, which will give the administration a majority in the house are due in late April.
The vote on account gives power to spend and borrow until April 2020.
The supplementary estimate was to pay arrears and spending which was not accounted for, the government had said.
Former Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera told parliament the new administration has slashed taxes giving effect to ill-thought election promise and is now trying to blame the last administration for the mistake.
He said the original vote on account involved spending of 768 billion rupees and the raising of 695 billion in debt repayments. The borrowing limit was 695 billion rupees he said.
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The supplementary estimate to the vote on account would seek 156 billion in capital and recurrent spending a 357 billion more in debt, Prime Minister and Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had said.
He said it was the first time in the history of Sri Lanka that a supplementary estimate was brought to a vote-on-account.
Sri Lanka sought to expand the vote on account by 155 billion rupees and the borowing limit by 327 billion rupees. (Colombo/Feb20/2020)
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies