Former State Finance Minister Eran Wickramaratne said that many people will be pushed below the poverty line as the economy continues to take a downward spiral.
Addressing a press briefing today (28), he pointed out that certain people still continue to steal and rob the country as the public is faced with loss of employment and food security issues.
Speaking on the alleged fraud pertaining to the coal tender that was exposed recently, Wickramaratne said that exorbitant prices are being paid to import coal and petroleum into the country.
He expressed his dismay over the government for importing Russian fuel from Singapore with additional premiums attached instead of directly purchasing from Russia on lower prices.
“One company has been allowed to import petrol from Russia as the prices in Russia has come down due to war. There are lots of unanswered questions as to why Russian petrol is being actually purchased from Singapore by the government. On the face of it, it appears clearly that there is a corruption involved in this deal.
We will ask the subject minister to give an explanation to the country as to why the government imports Russian oil at a higher price from a third party when there is an opportunity to import at a lower price directly from Russia,” he declared.
On the issue of governance, he said that the government recently appointed 38 State Ministers and the president is being pressurized by Rajapaksas to appoint 12 more cabinet Ministers.
“Then one third of the members in Parliament are the Ministers, a situation which is unheard of in any democratic country. About 30 years ago, an Administrative Reforms Committee appointed in 1988 had recommended as to how the Ministers should be appointed on a scientific basis. But the present government gives more priority to ensure the wellbeing of its parliamentarians rather than the needs of the people despite difficulties faced by the country. These difficulties are not a matter for the ruling family and their cronies," he added.