Nov 17, 2016

Media secretary opposes ‘rent-a-car’ proposal Featured

Parliamentary affairs and media ministry secretary Nimal Bopage has strongly objected to a finance ministry decision to give jeeps for 56 MPs supporting the government, through his ministry.

Bopage alleges there is no need to provide the MPs with the vehicles and claims a lack of transparency in the related process.

He has not budged despite several letters sent to him by the finance secretary and his deputy following cabinet approval for the proposal.

Fifty UNP, four SLFP and two minority party MPs who are with the government, but do not have ministerial portfolios, are to be given the jeeps.

In order to justify it, they are to be appointed chairmen of regional development committees.

The government will incur huge expenses by obtaining these vehicles on lease.

During the previous regime, Basil Rajapaksa’s economic development ministry gave vehicles to MPs, but they later came to be owned by the state.

Govt. will not own the jeeps
For the jeeps to be given this time, a much higher amount than their actual value has to be spent, but in the end, the leasing company will own the vehicles.

The chosen leasing company has been rejected by procurement and other committee, but an economic affairs committee under the prime minister has selected it under very questionable circumstances.

The proposal to give the jeeps was made around six months ago, and until such time, the parliamentary affairs ministry pays the MPs a monthly allowance of Rs. 200,000.

At a recent meeting of ministry secretaries, chaired by secretary to the President P.B. Abeykoon, Bopage maintained that he would not allow the proposal to be implemented as long as he remained in the position.

Abeykoon responded by saying the President would take a decision with regard to ministry secretaries who failed to obey decisions.

However, the President has now referred the matter to the ministerial committee on economic affairs and ordered to follow the cabinet procurement committee procedures.

Accordingly, ministers Gayantha Karunatilake and Ravi Karunanayake are to discuss the matter and submit a new cabinet paper.

Given below are the cabinet paper to obtain the jeeps on lease and the President’s letter to the cabinet:

Cabinetdocs 600px 16 11 17