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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Rajapaksa Troika, 20 percent of anticipated spending allocated to the President and his two brothers

The Appropriation Bill 2012, which was moved recently for Parliament approval outlines Rs. 2.22 trillion as next year’s anticipated spending by the UPFA government, although it leads to a budget deficit of Rs.1.105 trillion. Out of this massive fund, over 20 percent has been allocated to the President, several Ministries, and some statutory institutions that come under the direct control of the Rajapaksa family.

The Presidential Secretariat is allocated a massive Rs. 6.161 billion. There are three ministries and 32 statutory institutions listed under the Executive President. The Ministry of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order, and Urban Development, Ministry of Finance and Planning, and Ministry of Religious Affairs are all under President Rajapaksa. The Ministry of Finance and Planning, a part of the President’s portfolio has been allocated Rs. 124.22 billion.

The Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI), National Education Commission (NEC), Udarata Development Authority, Strategic Enterprises Management Agency (SEMA), Reconstruction and Development Agency (RADA), National Salaries and Carders Commission, Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP), National Research Council (NRC), Telecomm-unication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC), Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA), Human Rights Commission (HRC),

J. R. Jayewardene Centre, Office of the Cabinet of Ministers, Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman), Department of Elections, Auditor General’s Department of Sri Lanka, Public Service Commission (PSC), National Police Commission, Constitutional Council, Finance Commission, Commission to Investigate Bribery and Corruption, Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS), National Procurement Agency (NPA), National Council for Economic Development (NCED), Tsunami Housing Reconstruction Unit (THRU), Land Reforms Commission (LRC), Ceylon German Technical Training Institute, Public Enterprises Reforms Commission (PERC), Sri Lanka Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (SLRDC) are the statutory bodies that come under President Rajapaksa. According to sources, many of these Ministries and statutory institutions will also receive additional allocations through Parliament approval and the subsequent budget proposal to meet specific programmes and expenses.

The Ministry of Economic Development, which comes under Basil Rajapaksa was established to formulate policies, programmes and projects with regard to the subjects of poverty alleviation, tourism, investment and all subjects that comes under the four institutions – Department of National Zoological Gardens, Department of Botanical Gardens, Department of Commissioner General of Samurdhi, and Department of Up-Country Peasantry Rehabilitation. His ministry will receive Rs. 104.57 billion next year.

Last but not least, the Defense Ministry where Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is the all powerful Secretary has received the lion’s share from the Appropriation Bill. Among the 55 key ministries and institutions allocated funds in the Appropriation Bill, the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development is one of the biggest. Although the 30 year fight against separatism ended a few years ago, the UPFA government has allocated approximately Rs. 230 billion for next year, compared to Rs. 215 billion the Ministry received in 2011. This is an increase of over 5 per cent.

There are ten state institutions directly listed under the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development. These include the Ministry itself, Army, Navy, Air Force, Police, Department of Immigration and Emigration, Department of Registration of Persons, Department of Coast Conservation, Department of Civil Security, and Department of Sri Lanka Coast Guard. From the entire list of institutions, the Sri Lanka Army will receive Rs. 111.78 billion for recurrent expenditure and Rs.1.4 billion for capital expenditure. It is reported that these monies will be used to maintain an army of over 200,000 for the repayment of loans taken to buy weapons and ammunition during the war. Sri Lanka’s war against terrorism happens to be Asia’s longest running ethnic conflict that claimed over 100,000 lives during the past three decades.


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