President plays Santa with Chief Ministers

... gives back what Ravi took away


President Maithripala Sirisena had pledged yesterday that he would make sufficient provisions to the provincial councils in addition to the funds allocated by Budget 2017, Chief Minister of the Southern Province Shan Wijelal de Silva told The Island.

The President had given the assurance at a meeting with Chief Ministers at the Parliamentary complex following complaints that provisions for the provincial councils except the Northern Provincial Council had been drastically pruned in Budget 2017, CM de Silva said.

Chief Ministers of all nine provinces, including Northern CM C.V. Wigneswaran attended yesterday’s meeting.

Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, Secretary to the Treasury and top officials of the Finance Ministry were also present.

The Northern Chief Minister pointed out that the Provincial Councils had not been granted the permission to charge stamp duties.

Chief Minister of the North Central Province Peshala Jayaratne said there was a huge scarcity of desks and chairs in schools in his province.

The Souther Province CM requested from the President to make sufficient funds available for developing hospitals under the purview of the provincial councils.

"President Sirisena agreed to all the proposals made by the Chief Ministers and pledged that he would ensure that necessary financial allocation would be made. He also said additional funds would be made available to the provinces next year," de Silva added.

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