The Sri Lankan division of the world’s largest professional accounting body for management accountants, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants of United Kingdom (CIMA –UK) is planning to establish much-needed management and financial discipline through increasing the number of CIMA members and students in the state sector, according to a top official from the CIMA Sri Lanka board.
According to the newly appointed CIMA Sri Lanka Board Chairman Manjula de Silva, CIMA professionals have much to offer to revive the country’s ailing public sector but have still not identified a model to build up the link to bridge the gap.
“At the same time, we should try to obtain much-needed technical inputs for the public sector from the immense pool of talent that we have in CIMA and this is something we have been talking about for some time. But I don’t think we have still figured out a good model for delivering this,” said de Silva, who is also the Chairman of state-owned National Insurance Trust Fund Board.
As a precursor, he will work towards opening up internship opportunities for CIMA students and exam completed students in the public sector, which was hitherto not even remotely considered as an avenue to provide training for an aspiring management accountant.
“Also, I think we can facilitate internships in public sector organisations for CIMA students and for those who have completed exams,” said de Silva, who is also the former Managing Director of HNB Assurance PLC.
Sri Lanka’s public enterprises are marred by poor financial management, governance and lack of direction.
Sri Lanka’s public enterprises are a main area of instability and non-productivity in the economy and thus economists suggest improving their administration by recruiting professionally qualified managers in the least, if the privatization is politically challenging.
It was only recently the former CIMA Regional Director Middle East, South Asia and North Africa Bradley Emerson said the discussions were taking place on revamping its syllabus to suit the public sector administrators.
“The discussions are taking place on structuring the syllabus where you pull out certain subjects and including subjects in the areas of public sector accounting,” Emerson said last September.
CIMA-qualified professionals are currently present in a few state sector enterprises including the Central Bank, Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Trust Fund management boards and in state banks.
Meanwhile, addressing CIMA’s 2016 board induction, the outgoing board Chairman Vipula Gunatilleka said CIMA further expanded its ties with the state sector during his tenure.
“Our relations with the state sector continued to grow and CIMA signed many Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with the state universities and other state institutions including Sri Lanka Army,” he said.
According to Gunatilleka, CIMA Sri Lanka has seen over 4,000 student lapses in 2015 due to uncertainty over the syllabus change and the online assessment structure introduced last year.
“Last year was a very challenging year in terms of student registrations. Our new registrations grew by 3,000 plus. However, we recorded 4,000 plus student lapses as an early reaction to the syllabus change and the introduction of the online assessment system,” said Gunatilleka, who is also the Group Chief Corporate Officer/Director of Aitken Spence Group Limited.
CIMA Sri Lanka in 2015 held three convocations, up from two, which saw over 800 exam completed students and 450 associate and fellow members being conferred with certificates.