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Oral Questions - Wednesday 22nd July 2009

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QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS

To be raised by the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake when
Parliament meets on Wednesday 22nd July 2009




1.    0008/’09
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, – To ask the Minister of Tourism, –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the number of overseas trips that the Minister of Tourism had undertaken for the last three years;

Answer:

2006 – 07
2007 – 06
2008 - 07


(ii)    the countries visited; and

(iii)    the total cost of each trip along with the tickets and hotel charges separately?

Answer:

2006

Country/Countries: Nepal, Kathmandu
Cost of Ticket: -
Hotel Charges: 39,617.25
Total Cost for the Tour: 39,617.25

Country/Countries: Indonesia
Cost of Ticket: 145,314.00
Hotel Charges: 150,269.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 295,583.00

Country/Countries: Germany, Hungary, Austria, Sweden
Cost of Ticket: 190,000.00
Hotel Charges: 411,257.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 601,257.00

Country/Countries: United States of America
Cost of Ticket: Free
Hotel Charges: 179,271.50
Total Cost for the Tour: 179,271.50

Country/Countries: China
Cost of Ticket: 204,310.00
Hotel Charges: 278,813.84
Total Cost for the Tour: 483,123.84

Country/Countries: United Kingdom
Cost of Ticket: Free
Hotel Charges: 360,779.52
Total Cost for the Tour: 360,779.52

Country/Countries: Thailand
Cost of Ticket: 52,400.00
Hotel Charges: 87,855.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 140,255.00

2007

Country/Countries: Israel
Cost of Ticket: 199,653.00
Hotel Charges: 38,616.90
Total Cost for the Tour: 238,269.90

Country/Countries: Iran
Cost of Ticket: 116,907.00
Hotel Charges: 21,546.03
Total Cost for the Tour: 138,453.03

Country/Countries: South Korea
Cost of Ticket: 344,900.00
Hotel Charges: 74,070.26
Total Cost for the Tour: 418,970.26

Country/Countries: China
Cost of Ticket: Free
Hotel Charges: 57,750.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 57,750.00

Country/Countries: Germany, United Kingdom
Cost of Ticket: 388,000.00
Hotel Charges: 148,682.03
Total Cost for the Tour: 536,682.03

Country/Countries: France
Cost of Ticket: 322,800.00
Hotel Charges: 177,450.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 500,250.00

2008

Country/Countries: India
Cost of Ticket: 127,900.00
Hotel Charges: 68,929.77
Total Cost for the Tour: 196,919.77

Country/Countries: United States of America
Cost of Ticket: 419,400.00
Hotel Charges: 226,899.40
Total Cost for the Tour: 646,299.40

Country/Countries: England, Norway
Cost of Ticket: 346,711.00
Hotel Charges: 140,883.89
Total Cost for the Tour: 487,594.89

Country/Countries: United States of America
Cost of Ticket: 470,500.00
Hotel Charges: 166,866.73
Total Cost for the Tour: 638,366.73

Country/Countries: United Kingdom, Iran
Cost of Ticket: 373,000.00
Hotel Charges: 189,400.00
Total Cost for the Tour: 562,400.00

Country/Countries: India
Cost of Ticket: 408,019.00
Hotel Charges: 85,783.09
Total Cost for the Tour: 493,802.09

Country/Countries: Singapore
Cost of Ticket: 114,200.00
Hotel Charges: 79,110.66
Total Cost for the Tour: 193,310.66


(b)    Will he state –

(i)    the number of persons accompanied;

(ii)    their names and the cost incurred on them separately; and

(iii)    the main reason for each overseas trip?

Answer:

2006

Late Hon. Anura Bandaranaike

Country: Nepal/Kathmandu. Indonesia
No. of Persons: 03
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Gamini Gunaratne – Rs. 287,236.53
Mr. R.D. De Soysa – Rs. 256,796.87
Mr. R. Katawalage – Rs. 256,796.87

Purpose of Trip:
To attend BIMST-EC – Tourism Ministers Workshop

Country: Germany, Hungary, Austria, Sweden
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. A.H.M. Onais – Rs. 428,766.00
Mr. Gamini Gunaratne – Rs. 428,766.00

Purpose of Trip:
To attend ITB Travel Fair, UTAZAS Travel Fair, Tour Operator and Media Meeting, TUT Travel Fair.

Country: United States of America
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Gamini Gunaratne – Rs. 159,029.00
Mr. A.H.M. Onais – Rs. 148,629.00

Purpose of Trip:
Take part at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit

Country: China
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Gamini Gunaratne – Rs. 184,092.30
Mr. Madhava Perera – Rs. 169,768.00

Purpose of Trip:
To attend UNWTO Conference

Country: United Kingdom
No. of Persons: 01
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Gamini Gunaratne – Rs. 192,150.40

Purpose of Trip:
To attend the Refreshingly Sri Lanka Food Promotion as Chief Guest

Country: Thailand
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. A.H.M. Onais

Purpose of Trip:
To attend a meeting with the Travel Press

2007

Hon. Milinda Moragoda

Country: Israel
No. of Persons: 01
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Dilip Mudadeniya – Nil

Purpose of Trip:
To attend an Official meeting on the invitation of the Government of Israel.

Country: Iran
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Palihakkara – Rs. 20,059.88
Mr. Gamini Godakanda – Rs. 135,760.00

Purpose of Trip:
To make necessary preparations for His Excellency the President’s Official visit to Iran to have bilateral negotiations with the Iranian counterparts.

Country: South Korea, China, Germany, United Kingdom, France
No. of Persons: Nil
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Nil

Purpose of Trip:
South Korea –
To explore the possibilities available for promotion of Tourism between the two countries.

China –
To attend the celebrations of the 50th Diplomatic relations between China and Sri Lanka

Germany, United Kingdom –
To take part at the ITB Travel Fair

France –
Attend re-launch in French Market.

2008

Country: India, United States of America, England, Norway
No. of Persons: Nil
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Nil

Purpose of Trip:
India –
Attend Confederation of India Industry Partner Summit

United States of America –
Bilateral visit connected with the Minister’s additional responsibilities in terms of the appointment letter dated 29th March 2008 on “Co-ordination of External Defence Matters” made by His Excellency the President.

To have discussions with the World Bank to arrange the US$ 20.0 Million Loan package for tourism development which is now being finalized for signing agreements.

England, Norway –
To attend promotional events.

To work out a consultancy support project with the Commonwealth Secretariat in the event the New Tourism Act was promulgated in 2007 and the new Institutional infrastructure was being set-up.

Country: United Kingdom, Iran
No. of Persons: 03
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. K.A.D. George Michael – Rs. 68,477.00
Mr. Renton De Alwis – Rs. 573,672.00
Mr. Dileep Mudadeniya – Rs. 631,751.00

Purpose of Trip:
To attend the World Travel Market 2008 Travel Fair and meet Travel Agents in Iran.

Country: India
No. of Persons: 02
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Mr. Renton De Alwis – Rs. 212,000.00
Mr. Amal Gunathilake – Rs. 212,000.00

Purpose of Trip:
A visit to Gujarat on an invitation extended by Chief Minister

Country: Singapore
No. of Persons: Nil
Name of Persons & Total Cost Incurred:
Nil

Purpose of Trip:
To arrange with the Singapore Tourism Authorities a Bench Mark Project financed by Commonwealth Secretariat for Sri Lanka Tourism for which an official delegation is scheduled to go to Singapore soon.

To attend session with Tourism Promoters in Singapore


(c)    Will he also state –

(i)    the budgeted allowance; and

Answer:

For Hon. Minister and Hon. Deputy Minister
2006 – 3,000,000.00
2007 – 3,000,000.00
2008 – 3,000,000.00

(ii)    the supplementary expenditure provided for such trips?

Answer:

Not applicable.


(d)    If not, why?

Answer:

Does not arise.




2.    0009/’09
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake, – To ask the Minister of Irrigation and Water Management and Minister of Ports and Aviation, –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the number of dry lease and wet lease aircrafts being used by Mihin Air;

Answer:

One Dry Lease Aircraft and One Wet Lease Aircraft are been used by Mihin Lanka (Pvt) Limited


(ii)    whether they were selected through a tender process;

Answer:

No.


(iii)    if so, names of the companies quoted and the selection process; and

Answer:

Not Applicable


(iv)    the person who decided that?

Answer:

Not Applicable



(b)    Will he state –

(i)    the cost being charged per month from dry or wet lease basis;

Answer:

Airbus A320 – Fixed monthly installment is US$ 300,000 (Wet Lease)

Fokker F27-500 – Fixed monthly installment is US$ 21,500 (Dry Lease)
(Dry Lease Aircraft used only for the Regulatory requirement)

Monthly cost is variable to the rate of the US$.


(ii)    whether the interviews were held;

Answer:

No.


(iii)    the Panel and their recommendation for the final selection approved by the auditors;

Answer:

Not Applicable


(iv)    the number of staff members, working;

Answer:

Number of Staff as at 1st June 2009 was 156


(v)    their salary scales and the impact to the company, per month basis;

Answer:

Salary Scale (Rs.): 0 – 25,000
No. of Staff: 118
Total Amount (Rs.): 1,952,000.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 25,001 – 50,000
No. of Staff: 16
Total Amount (Rs.): 552,500.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 50,001 – 75,000
No. of Staff: 08
Total Amount (Rs.): 450,000.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 75,001 – 100,000
No. of Staff: 07
Total Amount (Rs.): 645,000.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 100,001 – 125,000
No. of Staff: Nil
Total Amount (Rs.): Nil

Salary Scale (Rs.): 125,001 – 150,000
No. of Staff: 3
Total Amount (Rs.): 450,000.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 150,001 – 175,000
No. of Staff: Nil
Total Amount (Rs.): Nil

Salary Scale (Rs.): 175,001 – 200,000
No. of Staff: Nil
Total Amount (Rs.): Nil

Salary Scale (Rs.): 200,001 – 225,000
No. of Staff: Nil
Total Amount (Rs.): Nil

Salary Scale (Rs.): 225,001 – 250,000
No. of Staff: 02
Total Amount (Rs.): 500,000.00

Salary Scale (Rs.): 250,001 and above
No. of Staff: 2
Total Amount (Rs.): 700,000.00

Total No. of Staff – 156
Total Amount paid as Salary (Rs.) – 5,249,500.00

Almost 76% of the employees are drawing less than Rs. 25,000.00 per month. Further, during the non-operational period most of the high salaried employees have taken a salary reduction. Hence impact is minimal.


(vi)    the accounts of the Mihin Air to-date;

Answer:

Mihin Lanka did not operate its Flights during the period of 30th April 2008 to 1st January 2009. Accordingly, A Financial Statement of Mihin Lanka for the period ending 31st March 2008 was tabled.

Financial Audit for the year ended 2008/2009 is in progress.


(vii)    the date and the amount transferred to Mihin Air from the Government;

Answer:

Rs. 250.0 Million were transferred for Mihin Lanka from the Government on 15th December 2006.

(viii)    the Head that the money transferred from and the date that the Parliament approved the payment; and

Answer:

From Head 240-02-02-2501-11 to Head 1-01-04-2301-11
Date: 15th December 2006.


(ix)    the Head under which, the Mihin Air got the allocation of funds in the years 2006 and 2007 through the Appropriation Acts?

Answer:

No released were made to Mihin Lanka Limited in 2006

For the year 2007 –
From Head 240-02-02-2501-11 to Head 1-01-04-2301-11



(c)    Will he submit to this House the names of the key officers of the Treasury and Mihin Air, who were involved in Mihin Air Limited financial transactions?

Answer:

Mihin Lanka is a Company incorporated under the Government Act and the financial transactions are carried by the company itself.

From the Treasury,
Secretary to Treasury
Director General of National Budget
Director General of Treasury Operations



(d)    Will he admit that the money has not been legally allocated and therefore all the officers are subjected to misuse of public funds?

Answer:

No.

The moneys were allocated strictly in terms of the Appropriation Act No. 47 of 2006.


(e)    If not, why?

Answer:

Does not arise.




3.    0021/’09
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition, –

(a)    Will he inform this House on yearly basis for the last 04 years to-date, the total cost of each hired vehicles to the Ministry and for any company, owned by the Ministry and the total cost spent on hired or rented office space?


(b)    Will he state for the above period –

(i)    the cost of fuel of the above usage and the same as a percentage of the total recurrent cost of the Ministry; and

(ii)    the cost per square foot for the above rented office space?


(c)    Will he inform this House the period that the building has been taken for on lease along with the advance paid as a deposit?


(d)    If not, why?