Speaker way off mark on parliament costs

The People’s Action for Free and Fair Election (PAFFREL) Executive Director Rohana Hettiarachchi told The Island that a single parliamentary session cost Sri Lankan taxpayer a whopping Rs 25,721,413 mn and not Rs 4.6 mn to Rs 5mn as previously estimated.


The civil society activist said that the PAFFREL had recently obtained parliamentary expenses in terms of the Right to Information Law.


According to K.A. Rohanadeera, Assistant Secretary General of Parliament made available to The Island by PAFFREL, 95 sittings in 2017 had cost Rs 2,443,534,315.


When The Island pointed out that Speaker Karu Jayasuriya had estimated the cost of a single sitting at about Rs. 5 million, Hettiarachchi said obviously the accounts taken into consideration now and then were different.


Hettiarachchi said that massive expenditure the country incurred in maintaining parliament should be examined in the context of extremely poor performance of lawmakers.


Hettiarachchi said that in response to his RTI query, the parliament had acknowledged that the House didn’t maintain a record of lawmakers’ absences even on days sittings were suspended for want of a quorum, which is 20 MPs.

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