The Interim Budget 2022 (Appropriation (Amendment) Bill to the Appropriation Act No. 30 of 2021) was passed in Parliament on Friday (2), with amendments and without holding a vote.
The second Reading of the Bill was passed with a majority of 115 votes. 120 members voted in favour and five against, while 43 MPs abstained. The SJB and SLPP MPs, who recently sat in the Opposition, abstained from voting.
All the three Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB) MPs and MPs G.G. Ponnambalam and Selvarajah Kajendran of the Illankai Tamil Arasukatchi (ITAK) voted against the Bill.
MPs Thushara Indunil Amarasena and Prof G.L. Peiris announced, on behalf of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) and the SLPP group that sat in the Opposition, hours before the vote that they would abstain from voting.
JJB Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake requested for a division during the Second Reading of the Bill.
Prof. Peiris claimed that the interim budget proposals presented by President Ranil Wickremesinghe contain several negative proposals that could be harmful for the country.
“Our group does not want to disrupt IMF discussions. But we were not given an opportunity to speak on this Interim Budget. Because of these two reasons we decided to abstain from voting,” he said.
MP Amarasena said the interim budget document contains no proposals that the SJB can support, but though there are grounds for opposing it, the party will not be so ‘cruel’ as to send the wrong message to the international community.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of Finance presented the Interim Budget 2022 on 30 August.
BY Methmalie Dissanayake