Oct 28, Colombo: Nearly half of the 2014 budget expenditure has been allocated to the ministries under the President and his brothers, Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) charged today.
"47 percent of the budget has been allocated to three Ministries handled by the President, Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa," General Secretary of UNP Tissa Attanayake said today at a press briefing held in Colombo.
Commenting on the Appropriation Bill for 2014, Attanayake said that a staggering Rs. 724 billion has been reserved for the Ministries under the three Rajapaksas out of the entire budget of Rs. 1.54 trillion.
The UNP General Secretary said that the President's expenditure for 2014 has been increased to Rs. 8.56 billion from Rs. 7.42 billion last year while slashing the Prime Minister's expenditure by Rs. 20 million to Rs. 300 million.
Attanayake said it is laughable that the President has allocated Rs. 362.56 billion for the Finance and Ports and Highways ministries which are directly under the President.
The UNP General Secretary said that Rs. 106 billion has been reserved for Ministry of Economic Development handled by Minister Basil Rajapaksa and Rs. 253.9 billion has been reserved for Defense and Urban Development Ministry that UNP says run by the Secretary of the Ministry Gotabhaya Rajapaksa although it is under the President.
He noted that only Rs. 624 billion has been allocated for all important ministries including Petroleum Resources, Foreign Employment, National Languages, Resettlement, Parliamentary Affairs, Public Administration and Private transport, and Telecommunications.
The opposition MP said the government has not revealed the expenses to pay the loan installments and the interests in the 2014 Appropriation Bill. However, in 2013, the government has paid nearly Rs. 1.2 trillion for loan payments and with that amount as an estimate the total government expenditure will exceed Rs. 2.72 trillion for this year.