SJB’s No-Faith Motion baseless – Gammanpila

By Thameenah Razeek | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 18 2021

By Thameenah Razeek 

The SJB’s no-confidence motion against him has several baseless conclusions and there are many flaws in it, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday (17). He said the SJB has placed their trust in SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, who holds no official position in the Government.

“Also, the SJB still lacks the mental capacity to comprehend what has actually occurred, even after the President clearly stated what has occurred. They do not have a legal understanding as well. According to Section 66 of the Petroleum Corporation Act No. 28 of 1961, fuel prices can be increased with the Finance Minister’s consent and without Cabinet approval,” the Minister said. 

The second charge in the no-confidence motion stated that the Energy Minister had breached the principles of directing public policy as well as the fundamental duties outlined in Article 27 and 28 of the Constitution. “The SJB alleges that I failed to inform Parliament about how much profit the CPC and the Government made during the drop in global oil prices. I do not know what they believe. 

But we did not get any profit during that period. The CPC merely earned revenue. The Central Bank report 2020, which has already been tabled in Parliament, details how much profit the CPC made in 2020 as well as how much revenue it generated from oil taxes. So it is very clear that those who signed this motion have not read the Central Bank Report 2020 properly,” he stressed. 

Furthermore, the SJB, in the motion charges that the Government failed to honour its pledge to lower the costs of vital food items and provide the people with the benefits of decreasing oil prices. In response to this, Gammanpila stated that he had not made such a pledge to the public. 

Responding to the sixth allegation in the no-confidence motion, that there was a pledge not to raise fuel prices for two years and that was broken, Gammanpila asked who made such a pledge, claiming that he had never made such a promise. 

The sixth charge of the motion said that the fuel price stabilisation fund was created but the public was not informed about what transpired. “This fund was not set up by me. Establishing such a fund was decided on 30 March 2020. I wasn’t a Minister at the time. 

In addition, my ministry did not even submit that Cabinet Paper. But I must admit that I was the one who informed the public that such fund was not maintained. I’ll tell the same thing again because the SJB members didn’t get it the first time,” he asserted. “The Government did not keep its commitment to free the CPC from debt by using earnings from the drop in global oil prices, according to the seventh claim of this motion. 

I did not make such a pledge. I challenge the MPs who signed this so-called motion to make the audio recording of his promise public, if they have such a thing.” In 2013, the price of diesel rose to Rs 121 while the price of petrol rose to Rs 162, Gammanpila noted. “No one, however, filed a no-confidence motion against the Minister of Energy then. 

Instead of raising fuel costs, what should we have done? We urged the SJB to propose the alternatives without criticism. They have failed to do so.” The SJB also said that the Government failed to follow through on pledges made during its appointment. So why should I leave for that when the Government had been elected for five years? At the conclusion of that time, the people, not the SJB, should decide on the success of the administration,” he stated. “This no-confidence motion is childish. 

The SJB should go through the no-confidence motions against Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Former Ministers Rishad Bathiudeen, and Rajitha Senaratne if they want to know how a no-confidence motion is formed. I have done nothing wrong. Their allegations are baseless,” Gammanpila concluded.

By Thameenah Razeek | Published: 2:00 AM Jun 18 2021

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