New parliamentary panels sought by opposition MPs

Ranil backs push for ‘oversight committees’
By Chandani Kirinde

Opposition MPs have handed in two motions to Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, one seeking the setting up of a Committee on Public Finance and another to set up Oversight Standing Committees to examine and assist parliamentary business.

The motions, signed by Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as well as MPs Karu Jayasuriya, John Amaratunga, Rauff Hakeem and Mangala Samaraweera, have been listed in the Addendum of Parliament but no date has been fixed for discussing them.

The Committee on Public Finance is to examine, among others, the collection of revenue, payments made from the consolidated fund, the utilisation and application of public funds as well as public debt and debt serving.

The MPs want an opposition member to chair the committee which would comprise 11 members. The other motion proposes the setting up of nine oversight committees namely on International Relations, National Security, Agriculture and Lands, Human Resources and Culture, Human Settlement and Energy, Human Welfare, Internal Administration, Environment and Natural Resources and Legal and Women’s Affairs.

The proposed oversight committees’ task will be to examine bills, resolutions; treaties, reports and other related matters of the subjects that come under each ones jurisdiction. They will also assist Parliament to appraise, analyse and evaluate the application, administration and effectiveness of legislation passed by Parliament as well as the enacting of new laws and changes to existing laws.

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