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Sunday, July 30, 2017
By Niranjala Ariyawansha-2017-07-30
President Maithripala Sirisena submitted a Cabinet Paper last Tuesday seeking approval to appoint a new Economic Council under his purview to take decisions on all the economic and development projects of the government.
The President had in his proposals in the Cabinet Paper emphasized that the new Economic Council must comprise the President, Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, the Secretaries to those Ministries and selected economic experts only.
A senior Cabinet Minister said the President had informed the Cabinet that he must be consulted before a final decision is taken on any economic issue and development projects before implementation.
The Minister said the decision on the Cabinet Paper had been postponed because the Prime Minister had sought time to further study the Cabinet Paper.
A Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) has been functioning under the Prime Minister ever since the Government took office. The Prime Minister's advisers R. Paskaralingam and Charitha Ratwatte are prominent members of the Economic Council.
There's been criticism from a broad cross section of society that the CCEM has even been usurping powers vested only in the Cabinet of Ministers.
Sri Lanka Freedom Party Ministers allege that even the President is unaware of certain decisions taken by the CCEM. Professionals have also accused the Prime Minister and a few so-called economic experts close to him of taking ad-hoc decisions on issues which were extremely vital to the country's interests
Against this backdrop, the proposed new Economic Council might override the functions of the CCEM, another Minister told Ceylon Today.