President’s Media responds to Daily Mirror article on Treasury allocations | Sri Lanka News

In reference to the article carried in the Daily Mirror today titled 'Despite Economic Crisis Treasury Allocates Billions for Offices of President, PM, Ministers', the President's Media Division has issued the following clarification.

Writer's note

– The article clearly exposes figures from a Treasury report which has been allocated for the Offices of the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet of Ministers under a 'Special Spending Unit' for 2023. It reveals to the general public, the allocations made by the Treasury for these offices under this unit for 2023 which runs into billions even amidst the economic crisis and there have been comparisons with the last year figures. No where in the article is it mentioned that the allocations were made for the President, Prime Minister or cabinet alone. The writer stands by the story.

President’s Media Division Clarification

“Despite economic crisis, Treasury allocates billions for Offices of President, PM, Ministers”
The President’s Media Division (PMD) brings to your kind attention the news article published on the front page of the Daily Mirror on 31-01-2023 under the title “Despite economic crisis, Treasury allocates billions for Offices of President, PM, Ministers” which is incorrect.
Therefore, while refuting the allegations made by your newspaper claiming that the budget allocated for the President's Office, the Prime Minister's Office and the Office of the Cabinet of Ministers still remain in billions with no major cost cuts in sight, we kindly urge you to carry a clarification and rectify the error made.
The factual data is submitted below and the PMD kindly request you to give equal priority to our clarification and publish the actual facts in your esteemed newspaper.
Clarification of provisions assigned for the Office of the President and Special Expenditure Units:
The state budget makes allocations directly to the expenditure head of the relevant institution for special expenses such as the Presidential Secretariat, the Prime Minister’s Office , the Supreme Court, etc., which are not grouped under any specific ministry, and for the institutions established to fulfill the objectives of commercial services.
These provisions are reserved only for the continuation of selected essential government services, such as providing essential relief to the people, payment of government employee salaries, loan interest payments and continuation of essential development works.

Accordingly, given below is a summary of the allocations for 2023.

Rs. Billion 2023 estimates

Recurring Expenses 4,634

Employee salaries 1,110

Interest payments 2,193

Subsidies & Welfare expenditure 985

Other recurring expenses 346

Capital 1,220

Debt repayment 2,025

Total 7,879

Advance accounts 6

Total Expenditure 7,885

Under this, provisions are also allocated for institutions such as the Presidential Secretariat, the Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Office and the Supreme Court, identified under the category of special expenditure units which do not come under the scope of a ministry.
Allocations of these provisions are for maintenance and functions to be implemented under the Constitution and various laws and ordinances regardless of the government in power.
These provisions include personal allowances, stationery, water and electricity bills, building and other asset maintenance costs of the institutions which must be incurred to fulfill the statutory requirements. Accordingly, it is baseless to interpret the entire allocated expenditure as the expenditure of the President or the Prime Minister.
About 6% of the money allocated under the expenditure head of the President's office expenses, is allocated for salaries and basic facilities for the President and his staff. It is the expenses allocated for the tasks to be performed by the President as the Executive and Head of the Government.
Further, allocations are also made under the presidential expenditure head for the provision of facilities of the former presidents and their widows, the Salary and Cadre Commission, the Presidential Commission/ Task Force and the supervision of development work.
Therefore, when there is an economic crisis, these expenses cannot be recognized as a big expense compared to the tasks assigned to the executive to recover from that situation. Furthermore, it is very clear that the allocations made for these institutions have not been increased in comparison with the high inflationary background where the prices of fuel, stationery, travel expenses, auto spare parts etc. have increased several fold compared to the previous year.

In 2022, Rs. 1.4 billion was earmarked for the Prime Minister's Office, which has been reduced to Rs. 1 billion in the 2023 budget. Compared to the previous year, a substantially low provision has been allocated for all activities such as salaries, services, maintenance etc. and the capital expenditure has also reduced remarkably.

 Further, Rs. 263 million has been allocated for the year 2023 for the Cabinet Office, which has increased by 7.6% compared to the previous year. The main reason for this increase is due to the fact that Rs. 60 million has to be allocated for essential maintenance works of the building (it is over 100-years-old) in which the office is maintained, in addition to the many other activities including salaries, etc. which is significantly less in 2023 in comparison to 2022.

Dhanushka Ramanayake
Director General (Media)
President’s Media Division (PMD)


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