Two factions in UNP trying to gain political capital out of COVID-19 epidemic: PM

Issuing a statement, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa today said that the two factions in the UNP are vying with one another to make political capital out of the Coronavirus epidemic. He said the entire country witnessed the manner in which former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa tried to sabotage the anti-Coronavirus campaign by giving encouragement to the Sri Lankan expatriate workers who made a commotion at the airport refusing to be quarantined.

“Because they failed to cut off funding for the new government using their majority Parliament, an attempt is now being made to achive that result by concocting legal arguments about the financial powers vested in the President at a time when Parliament has been dissolved. On the day that a countrywide curfew was declared to prevent the spread of Coronavirus – Friday the 20th March 2020 – UNP Leader Ranil Wickremasinghe issued a media release stating that the previous government led by him had not passed a Budget for 2020 but that they had passed only a Vote on Account which would last till the 30th April 2020. He contends that therefore, after the 30th of April 2020, the present government would not have the legal right to allocate funds for any purpose whatsoever. Former opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has also been repeatedly making the same assertion via the social media,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. Under Article 150(3) of the Constitution, he said the President is vested with the power to allocate funds from the Consolidated Fund to maintain government services after Parliament has been dissolved. “Hence the public should not entertain any fears about the availability of funds for the anti-Coronavirus campaign and to maitain other government services,” he said.

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