Treasury Secretary informs EC of difficulties in funding LG election
Posted on February 17th, 2023

Courtesy Adaderana

Treasury Secretary Mahinda Siriwardana has informed the National Election Commission of the difficulties in funding the 2023 Local Government polls.

The election body says that the Treasury Secretary has cited the current adverse financial situation and the administrative decision taken by the government to allocate funds only for essential services as the reasons for the inability to release the funds required for the election.

The Treasury Secretary conveyed this to the election body’s chairman, Nimal G. Punchihewa during a meeting held today (Feb 17) between the Election Commission and Finance Ministry officials on funding the upcoming LG polls.

Earlier this month, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policy, instructed the Treasury Secretary to provide funds only for essential public services.

Accordingly, the list of expenditures to be funded includes salaries, debt servicing, pensions, medical supplies for hospitals, subsidies for low-income groups, scholarships, farmers’ pensions, school nutrition programs, payments for war heroes and disabled soldiers, utility payments, food supplies for hospitals and prisons, and others. 
The government stated that this move is expected to have a significant impact on the economy, as it will prioritize the most important needs of the people while also preventing the misuse of funds.

Finance Ministry officials, during today’s meeting, have pointed out that the permission of President Wickremesinghe, needs to be obtained in order to release funds to public institutions that are not listed under the ‘essential services’ category.

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