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Lack of a Vote on Account: Development projects on hold

Major development projects that are currently ongoing as well as those planned to commence shortly have been stalled following the failure to extend the vote on account (VoA) in Parliament last week, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Government Spokesperson Minister KeheliyaRambukwella said that while key areas such as healthcare would be funded continuously, major development projects would have to be put on hold.

“Just like the previous Government did, we too are now compelled to hold off on financing development projects until the elections are over,” the Minister said.

The Government last Thursday (20) withdrew a motion to increase its spending and borrowing limit by amending the VoA.

The decision was taken after the Opposition declined to extend its support citing it was not agreeable to grant approval to increase the country’s borrowing limits.

“Because the Opposition declined its support, we are withdrawing the proposal to stop even more harmful side effects,” Leader of the House Dinesh Gunawardena told Parliament last Thursday (20).

According to Article 150 Subsection 3 of the Constitution, the Consolidated Fund can be used for a period of three months and that too only for recurrent expenditure.

It is widely believed that Parliament would be dissolved on 2 March and the Government would not have another opportunity to go for a fresh VoA as a result.

Rambukwella said that while some areas would be given funding, other sectors would be deprived of funds until the election was held and the current Government was able to get a majority in Parliament.

“We will make sure that salaries of the government sector are paid and we have allocated some funds for road development,” he said, adding that once the election concludes, the new government would present a budget for 2020.