Ven Rathana’s criticism food for thought-UNP MP

Abolition of Cess

By Shamindra Ferdinando

UNP MP Nalin Bandara Jayamaha yesterday said that UNP National List MP Ven. Athureliye Rathana Thera’s severe criticism of yahapalana policy in respect of tax and revenue proposals should provoke constructive dialogueon the issue.

Such discussions could certainly lead to consensus among the UNP parliamentary group on matters o national importance, MP Jayamaha said.

The MP defended the right of the MPs of the ruling coalition to be critical of government policies while underscoring the need to take up contentious issues within the group or other internal forums before going public.

Kurunegala District MP Jayamaha was responding to Ven. Rathana’s attack on Budget 2017 proposal to do away with the Cess. The then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake in Nov last year proposed to remove Cess on 100 imported items.

Addressing the media on Wednesday (June 7) Ven. Rathana flayed the controversial budget proposal on the import levy. Ven. Rathana alleged that those responsible for such a proposal at the expense of the local industry had not love for the country.

Alleging that the UNP hadn’t briefed President Maithripala Sirisena on the move, Ven Rathana said that previous UNP leadership introduced Cess for the benefit of local industries.

Ven. Rathana in January 2017 announced his intention to function as an independent MP following differences of opinion with the JHU and the UNP.

MP Jayamaha said Ven. Rathana’s criticism was not as bad as the unnecessary situation created by State Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena over office space allocated to him and Minister Kabir Hashim in the World Trade Centre. Jayamaha alleged that Abeywardena had been pursuing an agenda inimical to the government as state Finance Minister.

The MP condemned Abeywardena’s conduct during parliamentary proceedings on Wednesday. The MP said that Abeywardena should be grateful that he got an opportunity to enter parliament through UPFA National List in spite of being defeated at the last General Election in August 2015.

At Wednesday’s post-cabinet media briefing, Co-cabinet spokesman Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara played down the ongoing clash between Hashim and Abeywardena.

The MP said current issues could be taken up soon after Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe’s return from New York.

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