ECONOMYNEXT – An apparent rift between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and a section of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna appears to be widening, judging by comments made by SLPP legislator Namal Rajapaksa on the president’s 2024 budget.
“We must study the budget. He had presented a lot of these proposals in last year’s budget too. They don’t seem to have been implemented,” said Rajapaksa, speaking to reporters after the budget presentation Monday November 13 afternoon.
“Those proposals have been presented again. There is the question of whether these things were implemented at the ground level,” he said, adding that some of last year’s proposals did not become a reality.
“We’re waiting to see if this year’s budget too will be limited to a presentation,” he said.
Rajapaksa said the SLPP supports “pro-people decisions”.
“Our party supports pro-people decisions. We have presented our proposals. Will do so again during the debate,” the MP said.
“Let’s see [whether] the president accepts our proposals and implements them,” he added.
The Hambantota district parliamentarian said the SLPP government was elected by 6.9 million Sri Lankans who had voted for former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was forced to resign following a series of mass protests that came to be known as the Aragalaya, or The Struggle, in 2022. The budget proposals of President Wickremesinghe, who also holds the finance portfolio, must reflect the policies of the SLPP government, according to the MP.
“Through the Aragalaya and Gotabaya Rajpakasa it was distorted, and Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe became president through the Aragalaya and became Finance Minister. He is here as the finance minister of the SLPP government. So our policies should be in the budget proposals,” he said.
“We’ll express our views on that in the debate. Let’s see how we can make it a reality in the future. There is no point telling fairy tales if it’s not practically worked on the ground,” he added. (Colombo/Nov13/2023)