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The cost of a meal for a MP in the Parliament is not as high as reported – Speaker

ECONOMYNEXT- Members of Parliament are miffed at media reports that it costs the taxpayer Rs 3,000 per meal to feed our representatives.

Some MPs said it cannot be given the quality of the meals they are offered.

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena stepped in today to give the right numbers: It is Rs 296 per head, he said.

Abeywardena’s response came today in response to a Point of Order raised by Opposition MP S M Marikkar.

The MP from Kolonnawa raised the issue after seeing a newspaper report that each meal served to the Members in the Parliamentary canteen costs Rs 3,000.

Marikkar said that given the quality of the meals served in the canteen, they cannot possibly cost that much money.

The MP said that the person who had made the statement about the cost of the meal had incorrectly calculated the amount.

“He has taken the total costs of providing food and divided it by 225, which is the number of MPs.”

“He has forgotten to add the many officials and others who are also given the same free meal,” Marikkar said.

A Parliamentary official had made this statement during the two-day orientation programme held for new MPs earlier this week and it had made it into the newspapers.

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The Speaker accepted that the official had made a mistake in calculating the cost per meal by only including the parliament members.

The Speaker also made a request to the media to report something after carefully studying the matter.

Abeywardena added that not all MPs eat the meals provided by the parliament as there are some who do not eat from the parliament as a practice.

Further, MP Anura Priyadarshana Yapa said that some action should be taken against the official who mentioned this at the orientation programme as he had made this statement without knowing the exact facts. (Colombo/Aug28/2020)

Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe