Local News Update: Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa said yesterday that from the next budget, the government will make allocations for the most creative and innovative town and housing plans. The Prime Minister also said that a number of urban development and housing projects that have been neglected in recent years will be revived and completed in the near future, Prime Minister Rajapaksa made these remarks at a Progress Review Meeting for Urban Development and Housing Ministries in Suhurupaya, Battaramulla, where detailed discussions on the urban development sector took place.
In line with the city development programs, the Prime Minister has paid attention to proper disposal of the garbage. He also instructed officials from the Urban Development Authority (UDA) to pay particular attention to development, housing, and waste management projects that were ignored in previous years.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa also pointed out that several housing projects started by the Urban Development Authority during the last four and a half years are not being completed. He also said the money earmarked for these projects was not used for their building activities.
During the meeting, State Housing Minister Indika Anuruddha pointed out to the Prime Minister that there were many instances where money was allocated only for 100 houses while 1000 foundation stones were laid, deceiving the public. It was also pointed out that construction activities for 96,344 housing units started during the years 2017, 2018 and 2019. However, the required allocations around Rs.26,000 million were not available to complete these projects.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa noted that the Urban Development Authority and the Housing Development Authority have adopted initiatives that are not directly relevant to these two institutions, resulting in financial losses. Prime Minister Rajapaksa further indicated that the government would take measures to relieve these institutions from financial losses and reactiva.
“I think we need to find a way of reviving those institutions. Unless we run those institutions when incurring losses, we will get into trouble. So we need good administration and financial management. We can’t get any General Treasury allocations right now. We ought to wait for the next Budget. We may, however, seek financial help from other ministries, if necessary. For example, if you have additional financial capabilities in the Ministry of Health or Buddhasasana Ministry, you can get those funds after having discussions with them, “said Premier Rajapaksa.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the previous government had unfairly pursued international expertise and paid them large sums of money for construction projects. Prime Minister Rajapaksa has instructed officials to seek advice from local experts on building projects.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa has also directed the UDA to set up a hostel in Colombo for school athletes who come for outstation practices. He also ordered the relevant authorities to produce the required number of hospital beds without having to import them to government hospitals. It was also agreed to use our workforce to manufacture the doors, windows and other related equipment needed for housing project schemes.
Officials from the UDA and the Housing Development Authority said billions of rupees were expended as advertisement expenses.