• while estimating the required expenditure attention should be paid to the current financial position of the country
A pre-discussion was held this morning (26) at the Presidential Secretariat under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe regarding the Independence Day celebration being held in a grand and proud manner, but maintaining minimum cost.
Accordingly, in conjunction with the 75th Independence Day celebration, many special programs are scheduled to be implemented from February 2nd to the 19th. The special Dalada Pooja and Pirith chanting, religious ceremonies of all faiths, cultural show held at the Independence Square, the traditional Independence celebration main event held at Galle Face Green, the national parks and Zoo will be open to the public free of charge, the opening of the Jaffna Cultural Centre, the Kandy republic parade, the cycle race from Dondra Point to Point Pedro etc. have also been planned.
The President advised the officials that it is their responsibility as well as that of the political authority, to pay attention to the current financial situation of the country while estimating the expenses required for these activities and in spending in a practical manner and reducing expenses.
While pointing out that there is huge opposition among the people regarding the allocation of funds for the 75th Independence Day celebration, the President emphasized that efforts should be made to minimize the related expenses.
Expressing his views further, President Ranil Wickremesinghe said,
“We must celebrate the 75th Independence Anniversary, otherwise, the world will say that we are not capable of celebrating even our independence. Similarly, we need to attract tourists and investors to our country. We need to build a positive image of our country. Therefore, let us minimize our expenditure and celebrate our Day of Independence.
It has been planned to initiate a project to create urban forests in conjunction with the Independence Day celebrations. We expect to start the activities prior to attending the Climate Summit (COP28) in Dubai. In addition, we also expect to initiate several new institutions.
By the time the relevant laws would be passed and work could commence, it could be around August. Further, we have planned to establish the University on Climate Change, which will bring long-term benefits to the country.
However, the Treasury does not have enough funds to bear the full cost of these activities. Therefore, we will have to focus on other acivities only afer allocating funds for the main activities.
Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayake, Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister Anura Dissanayake, Secretaries of Ministry of Public Administration, Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Education, Cultural and Buddhist Affairs, Media, Finance and the officials of the Treasury and the line Ministries participated at this discussion.