The Speaker of the House, W. J. M. Lokubandara, yesterday rejected Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe s assertions that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa had violated the Constitution and Monetary Laws of the country by presenting a Vote-on-Account for four months in lieu of the Budget. The Speaker said that the Government had fulfilled all Constitutional requirements.
Criticizing the government over yesterday s presentation of a vote-on-account for four months in lieu of the Budget, the UNP accused President Mahinda Rajapaksa of violating the Constitution as well as monetary laws of the country.
UNP and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the government had not followed the correct procedure in introducing a Vote-on-Account in the House.
Quoting the clause number 152 of the Constitution he said: `No Bill or motion, authorizing the disposal of, or the imposition of charges upon, the Consolidated Fund or other funds of the Republic, or the imposition of any tax or repeal, augmentation or reduction of any tax for the time being in force shall be introduced in parliament except by a minister, and unless such a Bill or motion has been approved either by Cabinet of Ministers or in such manner as the Cabinet of Ministers may authorize.`
Speaker Lokubandara rejected the Opposition Leader s assertion while emphasising that the government had fulfilled all Constitutional requirements.
Wickremesinghe said that the presenting of a Vote-on-Account should be preceeded by tabling it in the House in the form of a motion. He said that the government had violated the Fiscal Responsibilities Management Act by ignoring clearly laid out procedures.
Dismissing Wickremesinghe s allegations, Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that the vote-on-account was presented to the House after receiving approval from all party leaders. `This was presented at the party leaders meeting. If there are problem, you can challenge this in courts. Now, there is no point in disrupting the proceedings.` he said.
UNP MPs vociferously protested with some thumping tables with books.