NPP to take legal action against proposed ETB

Thursday, 23 May 2024 03:15 –      – 101

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  •  NPP’s Sunil Handunetti accuses Govt. of pushing Bill through Parliament without public demand
  • Calls on Govt. to explain decision to introduce ETB due to lack of demand from relevant entities 
  • Predicts severe crisis for local entrepreneurs, including private sector industrialists and businessmen, as consequence

NPP party Economic Council member Sunil Handunetti


National People’s Power (NPP) party Economic Council member Sunil Handunetti announced yesterday the party will take legal action against the Government’s proposed Economic Transformation Bill which it has said is aimed at bolstering the country’s economy.

Addressing a press conference, Handunetti accused the Government of rushing the Bill through Parliament without any public demand for it.

For example, Handunetti said along with the introduction of the Bill it has also been proposed to scrap the Board of Investment (BOI).

“No one, either in Sri Lanka or abroad, has called for the BOI to be abolished,” Handunetti remarked.

In reference to the Economic Council of Sri Lanka set to be established under the legislation, Handunetti said the registration of a board under the Companies Act which will supersede the law of the land is a matter of utmost seriousness.

Handunetti emphasised that as there has been no call for such legislation from entities like the Chamber of Commerce, industrialists’ associations, or representatives of the private sector, the Government should provide an explanation for its decision to introduce the Bill.

He also noted that anyone wishing to challenge the Bill in court will have limited time due to the upcoming Vesak Poya holidays. “It’s as if Ranil Wickremesinghe is pushing this law through while people are distracted, as though it couldn’t have been implemented over the past 75 years and he has suddenly remembered it now,” he said.

Handunetti pointed out that the Government’s haste in pushing the legislation is evident from the poor Sinhala translation of the Bill. “There are numerous examples within this bill that illustrate its flaws. A serious piece of legislation affecting the country’s economy has been presented in an alarmingly superficial manner,” Handunetti noted.

“While the Cabinet and the Minister have the authority to undertake these actions, it is highly doubtful that such significant measures would be implemented in the lead-up to a Presidential election,” Handunetti said.

“S. 3 and 4 of the draft include terms from the agreement with the International Monetary Fund concerning national product, debt servicing payments, and more. What measures will be taken if these clauses are violated once they are established as policy? There is nothing in this act addressing such scenarios,” he noted.

Handunetti asserted that the Bill unmistakably reveals Ranil Wickramasinghe’s strong allegiance to the goals of the International Monetary Fund, surpassing even the IMF’s own dedication. He also highlighted the clear commitment of Ranil Wickramasinghe and the MPs associated with the Rajapaksa group to these objectives.

“As a result of these actions, local entrepreneurs, including private sector industrialists and businessmen, will face a severe crisis,” Handunetti claimed.

“We are vehemently opposed to this Bill. We are collaborating with all affected parties to fight against it. We are prepared to take legal action before the Supreme Court and are actively engaging with trade unions to mount the strongest possible challenge,” he confirmed.


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