“We have money” Minister responds to opposition accusations

Highways Minister Johnston Fernando says that the government has no pecuniary problem as it has sufficient funds to continue its development work while paying the salaries of public servants.

Responding to journalists’ questions during a ceremony held at Pamankada to plant saplings along the stretch of road from the WA Silva Mawatha to the Pamankada Bridge as a part of a project to plant two million saplings along the roads and highways, the minister said that the opposition was spreading a lie that the government has no funds.

“We continue to pay the salaries of all public servants without any reduction on time even if they are at home because of the pandemic. How could we do so if we do not have funds? Our financial policies are stronger than those of the Yahapalana regime that are confronted with cash flow problems even without a pandemic. It is no secret that the revenue generation is lower than that of normal times, but that does not mean we are cash starving and on the verge of bankruptcy. It is the opposition which says so. We have sufficient funds to continue our development,” the Minister said.

Minister Fernando said that his ministry decided to plant one million saplings of environmentally friendly trees along the roads and highways as per the pledges made in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour. “We have increased our target by one more million. We are planting two million trees along the roads countrywide. When we constructed the Lankagama road, the opposition shouted of environmental degradation. Finally it was proven that not a single tree was cut in that project. We are a government that would not make any decision against the environment. Whatever allegations made by the opposition would be proven lies in the weeks or months to come,” Minister Fernando said.

As per the project tree saplings of environmentally friendly trees such as Koboneela (Bauhinia purpurea), the Golden shower or Ehala (Cassia fistula), Robarosiya (Tabebuia Rosea), Na tree (Mesua ferrea), Magul Karanda (Pongamia pinnata), and Murutha (the queen of flower tree -Lagerstroemia speciosa) are to be planted along the WA Silva Mawatha to the Pamankada Bridge.