- Budget passed with 119 votes in favour and 74 against
- TNA, SLMC and CWC vote with Govt.
- Joint Opposition, JVP, and some SLFP members vote against
- Majority of SLFP MPs absent during vote
- Previously defeated expenditure heads of Ministers also passed
- Month-long Budget sessions end; next sitting on 7 May
By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
The vote on the third and final reading of Budget 2019 was passed in Parliament by a majority of 45 votes yesterday.
The vote, taken last evening, received 119 votes in favour and 74 votes against.
The TNA, SLMC, and CWC voted with the Government while the Joint Opposition, JVP, and some SLFP members voted against.
A majority of SLFP members were absent when the vote was taken, thus signalling that the call by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) backed by Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa to vote against the Budget, had gone unheeded.
A vote by division was called for by UPFA MP Dinesh Gunawardena, as the Appropriation Bill 2019 was put to the House.
Appropriation Bill 2019 was presented to Parliament on 5 February, and approval was sought from the House to raise and spend Rs. 4.47 trillion during the year. The Bill set the limit on borrowing at Rs. 2.16 trillion. The highest recurrent allocation, of Rs. 393 billion, is for the Ministry of Defence, and the lowest, of Rs. 185 million, to the Non-Cabinet Ministry of Public Distribution and Economic Reforms.On 5 March, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera presented Budget 2019 under the theme ‘Empower the People, Nurturing the Poor’, focusing on sustainable development strategy, whilst taking ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ forward, a strategy to re-awaken the entrepreneurial spirit of the country.
The second reading of the Appropriation Bill (2019) was passed on 12 March by the House with a simple majority of 43 votes, with 119 voting in favour and 76 opposed.
The third reading of the Appropriation Bill, or the Committee Stage Debate, which debates the expenditure heads for each Ministry, commenced on 13 March, and continued until yesterday.
During the Committee Stage of the debate, the expenditure heads for the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, and Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government, were defeated. The supplementary estimates presented for the two Ministries were passed yesterday evening, after the vote.
When the two expenditure heads were taken, the TNA informed Parliament that it would abstain from voting for the Ministry of Internal and Home Affairs and Provincial Councils and Local Government. Nevertheless, the expenditure heads were passed.