Cabinet approves Rs 130 bn supplementary estimate to pay back ex-govt’s arrears

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The Cabinet of Ministers has approved a proposal to present a supplementary estimate of Rs 130 billion to the Parliament in order to pay back the arrears of the previous government.

Co-Cabinet Spokesman Bandula Gunawardena told reporters that until today the Parliament, which has full authority over state finances, works and spends funds according to the Vote on Account.

He said that the Treasury has no legal right bear a single cent more than the funds allocated to the Parliament by the Vote on Account and that this situation has worsened by the fact that contractors and suppliers are calling on people’s representatives on a daily basis seeking the moneys due to them by the previous government for last year.

He said that the former government has not paid Rs 130 billion in dues to contractors and suppliers for the programmes such as “Gam Peraliya” and “Nearest School is the Best School” as well as for the importation of fertilizer and pharmaceutical drugs.

“I believe this is a situation that no other government in Sri Lanka’s history has had to face,” he told reporters at the cabinet press briefing today (30).

The minister said that an increase in the government’s expenditure means that the amount of taxes collected from the people has to be increased. “Apart from that, there is no other miraculous system for that.”

He said that at the next sitting week of the Parliament, the Prime Minister will make a special statement and present a supplementary estimate once again seeking additional funds to pay these arrears.