News & Updates
Both news media and general public can find important information
about updates, alerts and events that impact human rights in Sri Lanka

Main opposition of Sri Lanka claims hosting Commonwealth meeting will be a loss with a poor return

2013 Aug 07

Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne says that Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Colombo this November will cost the country its hard earned dollars with a poor return on investment.

He observed that additional taxes will be inevitable to fund the CHOGM expenditure.

While some argue that the expenditure on CHOGM would be an investment, it would be good if the returns on this investment could be articulated by the government, so that the public who have to invest will be satisfied, Wickramaratne noted.

"Pride and prestige has no price, only costs. There are many ways to stand tall in the League of Nations, buying our way may not be the wisest," Wickramaratne said.

He explained that while expenditure estimates for the CHOGM were not made in the 2013 budget presented last year, some estimates are now appearing.

Among the figures that are now doing the rounds is that the CHOGM would cost the country Rs. 2.5 billion and Wickramaratne however feels that the Rs. 2.5 billion expense for CHOGM is an underestimate.

"Transport of Heads of States alone both by air and ground would require a few more helicopters and 50 - 60 limousines at a minimum. Some of these items may be absorbed in the defence budget and other ministries. Whichever way, CHOGM is going to cost hard earned dollars. The return on investment will be poor," he said.

"That's why few countries bid for such events. Every bidder country needs to ask itself the question, do the returns justify the expenditure? Sri Lanka has answered affirmatively. Now it's time to pay the bill," Wickramaratne added.

External Affairs Minister Prof G. L. Peiris recently said that CHOGM stands to bring to the country as against the costs involved.

He said the previous CHOGM summits held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2009 and Perth, Western Australia in 2011 brought in money to those countries particularly consequent to the Commonwealth Business Forum and to generate those resources expenditure must be incurred.

Search News & Updates