Monday, April 22, 2024

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Presidential Secretariat refutes false news on Independence Day expenditure

Colombo (LNW): The Presidential Secretariat has focused its attention on the false news circulating on social media regarding the cost of the 75th Independence Day official state event.

The spread of misinformation is clearly another extension of the narrow political agenda that forced people to boycott the official state celebration of independence due to the economic crisis.

Clearly, their aim is to mislead the people through false information, make the people hate the government and create unease to fulfil their petty political interests. 

Therefore, they have even attempted to convince the people that even providing mobile toilet facilities during the Independence Day celebration was a mistake.

However, it should be emphasized that high-ranking foreign diplomats were invited to this celebration including the Japanese Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Takei Shunsuke, Bhutan’s Minister of Education and Skill Development Jai Bir Rai, Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr A.K. Abdul Momen, Pakistan’s Minister of State for External Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan, Foreign Minister of Nepal Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal and  Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.

Further, around 3200 dignitaries including ambassadors, high commissioners of foreign countries, as well as 6670 armed forces personnel and the police attended the ceremony. Also, these mobile toilet facilities were provided for the personnel engaged in the pre-training for the Independence celebration. 

In such a background, as a measure to provide proper health and safety measures for an event where thousands of people gather, it cannot be determined as an unnecessary expense for the provision of adequate mobile toilet facilities. 

It should also be noted that not paying adequate attention to such an essential aspect at an official state event where a large number of people gather, is a disgrace to the country. 

Also, totally false news is being circulated on social media that Rs. 5.8 million has been freely spent for this event from the money allocated for education by the government. 

However, although the Ministry of Education has estimated the initial cost for this event, none of that money has been spent.

Allocating provisions for the official state ceremony of the National Independence Day celebration is also a common practice, and it should be emphasized that the amount spent on the official state ceremony of the 75th National Independence Day celebration held this year was significantly lesser than the estimated amount.

Accordingly, the government spent only Rs.11,130,011.29 on the 75th National Independence Day celebrations this year.

It should also be noted that the government has spent significantly lesser on this year’s Independence Day celebrations than on previous occasions.

Holding such a state ceremony when the country is recovering from a severe economic crisis is clearly preparing the country to rise again. On the other hand, it sends a message to the rest of the world that the country has the courage to stand up again, and that it is ready to reclaim the pride of Sri Lanka that was shattered by the crisis.

Therefore, the President’s Office regretfully rejects the false propaganda that exploits a proud state event such as National Independence Day for narrow political purposes. 

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