Southern & Sabaragamuwa PCs defeat controversial bill of development

law

Dec 27, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Southern Provincial Council and Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council today morning defeated the Development Special Provisions Draft Bill.

33 Provincial Council members voted against the bill while only 14 voted in favor in the Southern Provincial Council, while 20 voted against and 13 voted in favor in the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council.

Earlier in the month, the Development Special Provisions Draft Bill was defeated at the Uva Provincial Council with nine votes in favor and 13 against.

The Development Special Provisions Draft Bill was defeated at the Northern Provincial Council while passing a resolution unanimously to not to support the draft bill.

UNP members of Provincial Councils voted for the bill while most members of SLFP led UPFA as well as JVP and TNA voted against the bill.

Even though the government says the bill seeks to create a one-stop access for investors to start investing in Sri Lanka, the opposition parties says the bill ultimately takes back the powers vested with the Provincial Councils and even with the President.

Some politicians alleged the government was trying to remove the concurrent list from the new constitution which was introduced for Provincial Councils through the 13th amendment.

Certain parties said the move is against the mandate of the people which originally intended for more power sharing with the periphery as opposed to taking back powers to the center.

Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama however rejected that this bill would create a ‘Super Minister’ as accused by opposition parties.

After meeting chief ministers of several provinces Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe last week has agreed to amend the Bill which is opposed by provincial councils in the country.

Prime Minister however has explained that the Bill will not take subjects of Provincial Councils under the Central Government but actively involve Provincial Councils in the government’s development program.

Chief Minister of Western Province Isura Devapriya said seven provincial councils led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) would not agree to this bill.

As per the constitution, Provincial Councils that defeated the bill is not abiding by the specific law even if it gets passed in the Parliament.

The Development Special Provisions Draft Bill is to be presented in Parliament in February next year with amendments.