The supplementary estimate presented to the Sri Lanka Parliament yesterday by the Minister of Mass Media and Parliamentary Affairs, included the expenditure of several ministries and institutions, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Plantation Industries, Home Affairs & Fisheries, Highways and Investment Promotion as well as the expenditure of the Presidential Secetariat.
The Sri Lanka government said it noted questions in the media regarding the supplementary estimate to allocate Rs 180 million to renovate and refurbish the official residence of the President .
According to the Secretary to the President, the Government had to rehabilitate and improve the residence of the President by joining two old houses to bring it to a proper condition that is suitable for the use of the President.
In addition to that the Government had to provide security to the official residence of the President and to provide accommodation facilities for the security personnel of the President and also steps were taken to renovate garages at the premises, the government responded.
The Secretary to the President further stated that all the renovation works were completed by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau.
According to the government, if the President uses the President’s House in Pettah the Government would have to spend more than 15 million rupees per month for the utility costs of water and electricity in addition to the maintenance costs. President Maithripala Sirisena declined to stay in the President’s House due to its high maintenance costs, the Secretary to the President further said.
Apart from Rs. 180 million, another allocation mentioned in media reports concerned the purchasing of a BMW car and BMW motorcycles for the Presidential Security Division. However, the government noted those purchases were ordered in October, 2014 under the previous government.
Accordingly, the BMW car was brought to the port of Colombo on January 8 and the motorcycles were brought to the port on February 21. The Secretary to the President stated that these vehicles has been taken to the Government, as these vehicles could not be re-exported and the demurrage charges were increased on a daily basis .