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Monday, May 27, 2024

Millions allocated for former presidents in 2023, Treasury makes no cuts

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-Millions continue to be allocated for past heads of state in 2023 with a bulk of it going towards the maintenance of their state homes and vehicles

-The state has to allocate for 4 past Presidents, namely Chandrika Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Hema Premadasa, wife of the late Ranasinghe Premadasa also gets a budget allocation under this category

With 2022 bringing on an economic disaster for Sri Lankan citizens, one would expect the Treasury to reduce its budget allocations for 2023 in almost all areas where it can.

However, according to figures released by the Treasury exposing the budget allocations for 2023, little has been reduced from last year and in some instances the allocations have only increased since 2022.

One such area is the facilities offered to former Presidents. According to official figures, millions continue to be allocated for the past heads of state in 2023 with a bulk of it going towards the maintenance of their state homes and vehicles.

Currently, the state has to allocate for 4 past Presidents, namely Chandrika Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Maithripala Sirisena and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Hema Premadasa, wife of the late Ranasinghe Premadasa also gets a budget allocation under this category.

Chandrika Kumaratunga –

Official figures show that for 2023, the Treasury has allocated Rs.1 million 170,000 as retirement benefits for Chandrika Kumaratunga, which is the same figure allocated for 2022. Under an area titled ‘Other’, Kumaratunga has been allocated a further Rs.3 million 500,000 for 2023 which is an increase compared to the Rs.3 million allocated for 2022 and Rs.1.4 million allocated for 2021. Under the capital expenditure, Kumaratunga has been allocated Rs.1 million under ‘Buildings and Structures’ which is the same amount allocated for 2022.

A massive Rs.10 million has been allocated for vehicles in 2023 compared to the Rs.2 million allocated for 2022.

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Official figures show that for 2023, the Treasury has allocated Rs.1 million 170,000 as retirement benefits for Mahinda Rajapaksa, which is the same figure allocated for 2022. Under an area titled ‘Other’, Mahinda Rajapaksa has been allocated a further Rs.11 million for 2023 which is an increase compared to the Rs.10 million allocated for 2022 and Rs.6.8 million allocated for 2021. Under the capital expenditure, Mahinda Rajapaksa has been allocated Rs.1 million under ‘Buildings and Structures’ which is the same amount allocated for 2022.

A massive Rs.10 million has been allocated for vehicles in 2023 compared to the Rs.2 million allocated for 2022.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also recently shifted back to the Wijerama Road Residence in Colombo 7 offered by the state which was repaired at a whopping Rs.800 million, even amidst the economic crisis. The state residence in which he had temporarily shifted into along the Bauddhaloka Mawatha while the Wijerama residence was being uplifted has now been allocated to his brother, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was forced to leave office in July 2022 due to his mismanagement. In fact, experts say the economic crisis spiraled further out of control under his presidency with people having to stand for hours in queues for their basics including medicines and food. He now lives in a luxurious state bungalow provided by the state.

In 2022, the Treasury had allocated Rs.70 million for the Office of the Prime Minister when Mahinda Rajapaksa was the Premier under ‘Overtime and Holiday Payments’, a reduction from the Rs.74 million allocated in 2021. For ‘travel expenses both domestic and foreign’, the Treasury allocated Rs.12 million in 2022, a reduction from the Rs.37 million allocated for 2021.

Under ‘maintenance expenditure’ for 2022, Rs.229 million was allocated by the Treasury to maintain the office of the Prime Minister compared to the Rs.213 million allocated for 2021.

Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as the Prime Minister in May 2022 following nationwide protests against Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the government.

Maithripala Sirisena

Official figures show that for 2023, the Treasury has allocated Rs.1 million 170,000 as retirement benefits for Maithripala Sirisena, which is the same figure allocated for 2022. Under an area titled ‘Other’, Sirisena has been allocated a further Rs.11 million for 2023 which is an increase compared to the Rs.10 million allocated for 2022 and Rs.7.9 million allocated for 2021. Under the capital expenditure, Sirisena has been allocated Rs.1 million under ‘Buildings and Structures’ which is the same amount allocated for 2022.

A massive Rs.10 million has been allocated for vehicles in 2023 compared to the Rs.2 million allocated for 2022.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Official figures show that for 2023, the Treasury has allocated Rs.1 million 170,000 as retirement benefits for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Under an area titled ‘Other’, Gotabaya has been allocated a further Rs.10 million for 2023. Under the capital expenditure, Gotabaya has been allocated Rs.1 million under ‘Buildings and Structures’. Rs.2 million has been allocated for vehicles in 2023.

Hema Premadasa

Official figures show that for 2023, the Treasury has allocated Rs.780,000 as retirement benefits for Hema Premadasa, the wife of Ranasinghe Premadasa, which is the same figure allocated for 2022. Under an area titled ‘Other’, Hema has been allocated a further Rs.1 million 500,000 for 2023 which is an increase compared to the Rs.1 million 300,000 allocated for 2022 and Rs.770,000 allocated for 2021. Under the capital expenditure, Hema has been allocated Rs.1 million under ‘Buildings and Structures’ which is the same amount allocated for 2022.

A massive Rs.5 million has been allocated for vehicles in 2023 compared to the Rs.800,000 allocated for 2022.

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