MPs to get Rs.15 m from budget next year
State Minister of National Policies and Economic Affairs Niroshan
Perera told Parliament yesterday that each Member of Parliament would
get Rs.15 million from the decentralised budgetary allocation next year.
Responding to a question raised by Matara District UPFA
parliamentarian Dullas Alahapperuma, the Minister said the Government
would add Rs.5 million to the decentralized budgetary allocation of MPs
amounting to Rs.10 million.
MP Alahapperuma demanded to know whether the government was aware
that even though the Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake who presented
the mini-budget in January this year pledged that the decentralized
budgetary allocation (DCB) of Rs.5 million given to a Member of
Parliament would be increased to Rs.10 million with Prime Minister Ranil
Wickremesinghe confirming it to the House said no MP had received it for
the year 2015 until September 10, 2015.
MP Alahapperuma said a Member of Parliament was entitled to get a sum
of Rs.5 million throughout the history and demanded to know whether they
would get the allocation by the end of this year.
Minister Perera said, the financial allocation of Rs 0.5 million made
available in 1973 to each MP was increased to Rs.2.5 million in 1979, to
Rs.3.5 million in 2000 and to Rs.5 million in 2003. As such, the annual
allocation made available to the Members of Parliament remained at Rs.5
million for 11 years. In 2014, under then Ministry of Economic
Development, an additional allocation of Rs.10 million for development
work was made available which was confined only to the MPs of the ruling
party. The new government having taken into consideration the project
proposals received by the Members of Parliament, had decided to increase
the DCB allocation to all MPs to Rs.10 million with effect from 2015.
Asked whether not providing the DCB to the MPs amounted to breach of
privileges, the State Minister responded in the negative and said the
program of providing the increased allocation had been planned to be
implemented after the Cabinet reshuffle subsequent to the Presidential
Election in January, 2015 .
However, in view of the fact that DCB allocations had to be made
available to new Members of Parliament returned at the General Election
which was to be held in August 2015, it was not possible to make DCB
allocations twice in the same year. Further, commencement of new
projects was suspended until the election was over by the Commissioner
of Elections by his letter dated 23- 07-.2015.
“Therefore, it was planned to allocate provision for the new Members
of Parliament returned at the General Election 2015; obtain relevant
project proposals, grant approval, release funds and effect
implementation. However, the DCB allocations would not be granted this
year to prevent continuation of these projects into the ensuing year due
to the inadequate time to complete the projects this year. Accordingly,
provision to the tune of Rs. 15 million, inclusive of the forgone
allocation, will be allocated for 2016, to each Member of Parliament,
preventing the breach of privilege hitherto enjoyed by them,” the State