Just like during the previous administrations, the focus in the present ‘Yahapaalana’ government too, is on the Finance Ministry. It attracts attention of all and receives both criticisms and commendations. As a crucial factor in the country’s future, the responsibilities and the accountability it carries are no simple tasks. On the other hand, from the annual budget, the criticisms it undergoes cannot be ignored lightly. The matter worsened following the bond issue.
Even today, the Lotteries Board remains a controversial matter. However, former minister Ravi Karunanayake told the media recently that under him, the Board had earned a Rs. 300 billion profit. According to him, that profit was made due to the attacks unleashed on the hidden political hands in the Board. The portfolios have changed, but the Board remains under him.
We have received reports about questionable situations with regard to the printing of lotteries. From 2002 to May 2016, the lotteries were printed by MBA Pvt. Ltd. When comparing the rates it had submitted previously and the new rates, the losses to the Board are enormous. Under the new procurement mechanism, the annual saving in 2016 in the printing of Jathika Sampatha, Vasana Sampatha, Govisetha, Supiri Vasana Sampatha and Supiri Delakshapathi alone was Rs. 57,283,185.20. Simply put, Rs. 570 million.
MBA has been printing since 2002 and due to the political powers it enjoyed, the tender procedure was not applicable for them. Until May 2016, it had been able to have its own say. The Board has lost Rs. 636,425,053.46 due to the lotteries having been printed at high rates. That shows the strength of the political hand that had been appearing on behalf of MBA. But, remember, what has been swindled is public money.
If any party wants to make a clarification or explanation in this regard, we are ready to accommodate it.