Parliament approves BOI bill

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 December 2002, 17:28 GMT]
The Board of Investment Bill was passed in parliament Wednesday with a majority of fifty-one votes amidst vehement opposition to create one economic commission for the entire northeast province. An amendment brought by the main opposition People’s Alliance (PA) and Sinhala hardliner Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to have separate economic commission for the north and east was defeated by a majority of forty-nine votes.

When Minister G.L.Peiris introduced the draft Board of Investment bill in parliament Wednesday, opposition parliamentarians raised objection to debate it without getting assent from provincials councils in the country as defined in the Constitution.

Thrice parliament was suspended when opposition members staged a sit-in protest in the well of the house. Due to unruly behaviour of some parliamentarians, the Chairman of Sub committees Mr.Andrhadi Handunetti adjourned the house.

Finally around 12.30 when parliament resumed its sittings the Speaker allowed the government to go ahead with the debate on the draft Board of Investment Bill as it was consistent to the constitution.

PA and JVP parliamentarians during the course of debate proposed an amendment to Section 27 of the BOI bill. The amendment wanted two separate economic commissions one for north and other for east. Proposing the amendment JVP parliamentarian Mr. Vijitha Herath said one economic commission for northeast would mean a compulsory merger of the north and eastern provinces.

The Leader of the Opposition Mr.Mahinda Rajapakse said one commission for two provinces would not be able to cover these provinces effectively. "Separate commission should be established in each province," demanded the Opposition Leader.

Minister Mr. G.L.Peiris in reply said there is no political motive behind the establishment of a single economic commission for the merged two provinces except for convenience and practical implementation.

The JVP parliamentarian Nihal Galapathi wanted the bill be put to vote. 121 parliamentarians including of Tamil National Alliance, Eelam Peoples Democratic Party and People’s Liberations Organisation of Tamil Eelam voted for the draft bill and sixty-one voted against.


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