NPP pledges to strip former Presidents and MPs of Govt benefits if voted into power

February 15, 2023

National People’s Power (NPP) politburo member Sunil Handunetti says that all benefits accorded to former Presidents or their widows through the Presidents Entitlements Act (No. 4 of 1986) have continuously been provided to them over the years despite the situation in the country. He noted that this includes a rent-free house, a monthly salary allowance to maintain a private secretary, an official vehicle and other benefits similar to those provided to ministers at the current time. He said while the situation remains thus, the people are being forced to suffer with the Government claiming it has no funds to provide certain necessities.

“As children study for exams through power cuts the Government claims it cannot bear the cost of electricity and therefore the people must make sacrifices. Businesses are being taxed exorbitantly. The cost of school items has risen significantly. Non-essential surgeries have been stopped. The people are facing many hardships,” he noted. The former MP said the people do not vote Presidents or Ministers into power so that they can use the post as a means of employment that would provide them benefits till their dying day.

“While asking the people to tighten their belts the Government amidst this severe economic crisis has done nothing to curtail its expenses for providing benefits to former Presidents and their widows,” he pointed out. According to Handunetti, the budget for the provision of these benefits and facilities has been increasing every year. “Despite being privileged they continue to enjoy these benefits even as the people are suffering and children are starving,” he noted. He said the budget set to maintain former Presidents and their widows in 2023 is a whopping Rs. 92.2 million.

According to Handunetti, this must be stopped and the NPP assures it will do so if it's voted into power. “The people must be educated on these matters. It is they who have been forced to shoulder these expenses,” he said, adding that the law providing these benefits must be changed.

“The law must be abolished. We will also formulate laws to strip pensions and other benefits provided to former Ministers and MPs. This will be one of the foremost tasks of an NPP Government. We strongly believe that rules should not gain any benefit not available to the common man. We will create a Government that is answerable to the people,” he said.