Money for new Sri Lanka ministers passed

June 19, 2007 (LBO) — Sri Lankan government Tuesday narrowly secured parliamentary approval to raise the national budget amidst chaos in the house when two former ministers crossed over and joined opposition ranks. The Tigers have declined to comment on the allegations that over 15 million dollars was paid to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2005. President Mahinda Rajapakse, who is also the country’s finance minister, secured legislative approval to increase the government budget by 657.56 million rupees.

The government last year secured approval to raise total state spending by 42 percent to 804.6 billion rupees in 2007.

“The estimates today were for expenditure of the ministries Supplementary Plantation Crops Development, National Heritage, Export Development and International Trade, Public Estate Management and Development, Construction and Engineering Services, Water Supply and Drainage, and Special Projects,” the President’s office said in a statement.

The statement said 107 legislators voted in favour while 87 — including members from the United National Party, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and the Tamil National Alliance — opposed the bill.

Rajapakse set up these