Justifying the spending on the Independence Day celebrations amidst the crisis situation, the government including the President and the Prime Minister said it is an investment for the future and an event to showcase the traditional values of the country rather than an excessive spending.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament on Tuesday that it is an investment for the future and in the 25 years leading up to the 100th anniversary of independence, several new institutions and laws will be introduced for the reform programme needed by the country.
Responding to a question raised by Parliamentarian Ven Athuraliye Rathana Thera in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said the government has organized the celebrations at a minimum cost but with a series of events coinciding with the main celebrations to make it more meaningful.
The prelate said the government should not spend a large amount of money for celebrations when people were struggling to make ends meet and requested the government to hold it symbolically at a minimum cost.
The Prime Minister said a decision has been taken to hold National Independence Day Celebrations at provincial level in Kandy and Jaffna in line with the main celebration at Galle Face Green.
He said religious activities and a cultural show has been organised at the Independence Square on the previous day.
The Prime Minister said various events to commemorate national heroes who sacrificed their lives to gain independence and other events in cooperation with the Education Ministry to educate youth and schoolchildren will be held.
He said the Dalada Maligawa has organised a Perahera (procession) called ‘Janaraja Perahera’.
Meanwhile, State Minister Ashoka Priyantha said some 400 foreign dignitaries, including the Commonwealth Secretary General have been invited to attend the 75th Independence Day Celebrations.
He told Parliament that the government has planned to go ahead with the scheduled Independence Day Celebration, despite the crisis situation as it will be an event to boost tourism.
The state minister said it will be important to conduct the celebration with traditional events so as to boost tourism at a time the tourism sector is picking up.
He said it was true that the government has to spend Rs.200 million and added that private sponsors have come forward to sponsor the event. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)