In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, Commissioner General of Election Saman Sri Ratnayake stated that the Election Commission has faced great difficulty in taking necessary steps to hold the Local Government Election due to the failure of the Secretary to the Treasury and other relevant officials to release required funds for the conduct of the election.
Accordingly, Commissioner General of Election Saman Sri Ratnayake urged the Supreme Court to make appropriate orders on the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and other officials to facilitate the holding of Local Authorities Election in accordance with the law and in accordance with the undertakings given by the Commission to the Supreme Court.
Saman Sri Ratnayake stated that he is submitting this affidavit in consultation with the Chairman of Elections Commission.
Ratnayake stated that the Chairman of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation in his letter dated 31/01/2023 and the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board in his letter dated 02/02/2023 have informed the Chairman of the Elections Commission about their difficulties to provide electricity and fuel for the election as requested.
He maintained that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and the Ceylon Electricity Board has a duty to ensure the provision of fuel and electricity respectively for the purpose of the election and that any move to deny fuel and the supply of electricity for the election purposes will result in a hindrance to the election process.
Ratnayake informed court that an amount of 10,000 million rupees has been allocated in the annual estimates for the year 2023 for the activities of the Local Authorities Election and this has been approved by Parliament.
Ratnayake further said though he requested the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to release the imprest for the initial arrangements of the election, the said request has not been fulfilled.
He further said by his letter dated 24/01/2023, he requested the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilization and National Policies to release 100 million rupees by the last week of January and the remaining imprest to be released in the month of February.
He stated that it is not necessary to arrange the aforementioned amount of 10,000 million rupees all at once to carry out the activities of the election. According to data from previous elections, less than 25% of the total expenditure on elections are incurred before the election.