Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) MP Bimal Rathnayake yesterday (7), called for the immediate resignation of National Integration and Reconciliation Minister Maithripala Sirisena, Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Minister D. M. Swaminathan and National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan.
Alleging that the three Ministries, which play a critical role in solving the national problem in Sri Lanka, had failed to spend at least 50% of the funds allocated to them from Budget 2017, Rathnayake stressed that if these Ministers cannot utilize the funds given to their Ministries, they should immediately resign as they are of no use to the country.
Rathnayake noted, "From the Budget 2017, Rs 19,782 million was allocated for the Ministry of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs. It received Rs 10,167 million from the allocated money. However, until 30 September 2017, this Ministry had spent only a sum close to Rs 6,000 million."
Rathnayake said that the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation, which is under the President, had received Rs 325 million although the original budget allocation was Rs 3,532 million. This Ministry has spent only 9% of the received funds, he added. Moreover, from the Rs 1,063 million allocated from the Budget 2017 to the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages, it received Rs 473 million. But had only spent 45% of that sum, the JVP MP said.
He stressed, "I obtained this information from the report prepared by the Treasury. These Ministries bear a crucial role in solving the national problem. This country faced a 30-year war and still faces such as racism, which created it are there. But these Ministries do nothing to solve the problems of the country. I do not ask them to waste public money. But if they cannot utilize the funds given to them properly, what is the point of having them, in the Parliament as Ministers? If the Parliament has the power, I would have asked that these Ministers be fired because they are of no use to the country. "
Responding to Rathnayake, in his turn, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs D.M. Swaminathan vehemently refuted the JVP MP's allegations.
"I am not interested about how MP Rathnayake got this information. But I would like to ask him to not make false statements and mislead the general public. My Ministry has spent from 93% - 95% of the funds given to us. Rathnayake is talking as if we have not done anything in this year. But we did much work. He can verify with the MPs who come from the North. He should at least have the courtesy to check what we have done," Swaminathan lashed out.