Prez has final say in making IMF agreement available to MPs
Posted on September 10th, 2022

By Saman Indrajith Courtesy The Island

It was up to the Minister of Finance Ranil Wickremesinghe to decide whether to present the government’s agreement with the IMF to Parliament, Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said yesterday.Earlier, Chief Opposition Whip, Lakshman Kiriella, said that at the next business of the committee meeting, he was planning to ask for a debate on the agreement the government had entered into with the IMF.

We need a copy of the agreement. This will help the debate. These reforms need the support of the Opposition, and the people, to be successful. You know there is no point in hiding this and we would like to support the government to carryout the agreement. We understand the state of the economy. You need to show us this agreement before the debate. We must have something on the table. We must know what the government wants to do,” Kiriella said.

In response, Speaker Abeywardena said that he had a discussion with the Governor of the Central Bank about this and the Governor had said he had no objection of presenting the agreement to the Parliament.

He is ready to give us the agreement but its up to the Finance Minister to take a final decision. There are tax sensitive proposals in the agreement and apparently these can’t be discussed in public. The Governor asked me to talk to the Minister of Finance,” he said.Kiriella replied that the Parliament has finance power and if the government tries to implement the agreement, in secret, people will oppose.

We are left clueless about the state of the economy. Apparently, a few months ago, our usable reserves were down to 20 million US Dollars. Did you know of this as the Speaker? We didn’t know. At least you should know,” he said.The Speaker said he will speak to the Minister of Finance about this.

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