- Says will promote accountability of SOEs
- COPE is a key committee that oversees SOEs in SL
Colombo-based free market think tank Advocata welcomed the decision by the government to open the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) hearings to the media.
“The government has enforced this timely initiative in a greater attempt to promote accountability of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs). Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, MP has officially announced the ceremony to mark the opening of COPE sessions to the media, and should be commended for this decision,” Advocata said in a statement.
The COPE is a key committee that oversees SOEs in Sri Lanka.
“The duty of the committee is to examine the accounts of public corporations and of any business undertaking vested in the government.
“Although their reports thus far have lacked comprehensiveness, they have examined a limited number of issues in a few institutions, and are a devastating critique on the State of governance,” Advocata said.
Advocata Institute’s 2019 report, ‘The State of State Enterprises: Systemic Misgovernance’, highlighted the imminent need of strengthening the COPE and COPA (Committee on Public Accounts; the second financial committee which is entrusted with the duty of examining the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet public expenditure). The report recommended that COPE and COPA proceedings be opened to the media and the public in order to enhance the transparency of financial management of public institutions and hold State institutions to account.
Advocata Institute has further urged reforms be considered seriously to improve structural failings and misgovernance that promote a breeding ground for corruption in Sri Lanka’s State sector.
“SOEs are a vehicle of large scale corruption in Sri Lanka that hasn’t caught public attention.
“Opening meetings to the public is a good first step to ensure that people understand the massive abuses by SOEs done using taxpayer money. “We urge the government to consider further reform to strengthen COPE and promote accountability of SOEs,” Advocata Institute Chief Operating Officer Dhananath Fernando said.