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Number of Parliamentarians should be reduced

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We learn from the media that moves are afoot to increase the number of seats in the Parliament from the present 225 to 250. At the outset, we as members of the civil society and taxpayers who foot the already astounding costs of our political machinery, reject such a deplorable move hatched in the womb of sheer political expediency. It is indeed a crime to expand the existing political administration structure which has become a money spinning industry in a small developing country such as ours. It is a colossal waste of public funds and will lead to enhanced levels of fraud and corruption.

As a result of Indian intervention, we are already saddled with a low-productive, high-cost Provincial Council Administration structure. Since it is in existence for the last 28 years, it has become a necessary decentralized administrative tier for obvious reasons. Thus, the more prudent step is to empower them adequately and improve their performance and productivity in order to derive maximum benefits for the people. In such a scenario, it is ridiculous to increase the number of Parliamentarians when, in fact, it should be reduced. As taxpayers, we consider such additional investment, highly unwarranted, unproductive and wasteful.

At this juncture, it is pertinent to reflect on the huge investment that the taxpayer is already making to sustain the existing, unproductive political machinery which has become the bane of this country. Presently, we have 225 MPs, 455 Provincial Councilors and 4,486 politicians in the Local Government (Municipalities, Urban Councils and Pradeshiya Sabahs).They total up to 5,166. In addition to meeting their salaries and the umpteen number of allowances, if we consider the huge cost of support staff, buildings, furniture and fittings, motor vehicles, electricity, water, telephone and stationery, etc. we would be compelled to treat such costs as mere unproductive expenditure rather than a prudent investment.

No doubt, employment opportunities will be created but unproductive. We must also bear in mind that an increase in the number of Parliamentarians also tends to justify an increase in the number of Cabinet Portfolios. The attendant increase in cost has to be reckoned. Further, we have to consider the enormous cost of maintaining an Executive Presidency.

We earnestly appeal to political analysts and the Civil Society activists to work out and reveal to the taxpayer, the enormous cost of this investment/expenditure to maintain the country’s political machinery.

It will surely educate the taxpayers to decide whether they should invest any further in the ‘political industry’ to enable errant politicians to perpetuate their industry/business with enhanced numbers!
It is a cardinal feature of ‘Good Governance’ to promote citizen’s ‘Right to Information’.
Bernard Fernando

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