‘President drastically cut down expenses’

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has only spent Rs.3.2 million in the last one and half years for foreign tours, cutting down all the unnecessary expenses that resulted in saving a huge amount of money for the country, Minister Mahindananda Aluthagamge said.

Agriculture Minister Aluthgamage said that former President Maithripala Sirisena has spent Rs. 3.02 billion under the Presidential Secretariat in 2019, while the current President has spent only Rs. 1.2 billion in 2020. “President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has saved Rs. 1.7 billion from the Presidential Secretariat alone during that period,” he added.

Aluthgamage was speaking at a meeting organized by the Kandy District organization of the SLPP Bar Association of Sri Lanka at the Royal Kandyan Hotel in Kandy.

Speaking further Aluthgamage said that after the passage of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, some said that the President had increased the number of Cabinet Ministers by a large number beyond the 30 limit. However, he did not take action to increase any of the Ministries and Ministers are not even allowed to purchase vehicles.

“President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother, who was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Telecom, was paid a salary of Rs. 4.2 million a month. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that no Chairman should be paid more than Rs.100,000. He did not do this in public to seek attention. But we should remind these for those who ask what the President did in the last 1 1/2 years,” he said.

“The pandemic has vastly affected the economy therefore the tourism industry is also facing a massive breakdown. Yet the Vision of Prosperity is active. Around 100,000 km of roads are being carpeted and 60,000 graduates were provided with employment. We are now working to build a productive economy free from the subsistence economy. We plan to produce everything that can be produced in this country in the next four years. It costs Rs. 250 billion a year to import potatoes, chillies and onions. It costs US $ 1 million a day to import milk powder. We must be self-sufficient in milk in the next four years,” Aluthgamage said.

Attorney-at-Law MP Udayana Kirindigoda, Senior Vice President of the SLPP Bar Association of Sri Lanka and Chairman of the Kandy District Organization, said that only when the national security drastically dropped, people realized the value of Rajapaksas.

“The MCC agreement which was detrimental to the country was cancelled after we gained power. Currently, people have no doubt about the national security because the Intelligence Units are strengthened and actively operated,” he highlighted.

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