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Don’t plunder or blunder with public funds - Editorial


25 July 2013 03:54 am - 2     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


While government leaders and their so-called economic experts continue to boast if not tell lies about high economic growth rates, per capita income and making Sri Lanka the miracle of Asia, a parliamentary committee on Tuesday issued a shocking report that that was like a thunderbolt to Parliament and the country.

The Committee on Public Enterprises--which for many years has been issuing shattering reports-- exposed the dangerous mess in state enterprises, and appealed that urgent action be taken by the Rajapaksa regime to overcome this crisis without allowing political influence or patronage to plunge the country into an economic mudhole.

The COPE Chairman, D.E.W. Gunasekera, the Communist Party leader who often speaks out strongly against corruption, fraud and mismanagement that blocked the journey towards social justice, said massive losses were likely to deal a blackout or knockout blow to vital state institutions like the Ceylon Electricity Board, the national carrier SriLankan and Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.

He warned this could have serious repercussion on Sri Lanka’s banking system and the economy as a whole. Outlining what he described as a historic report by COPE which had investigated the position in 244 public enterprises in 2011, Mr. Gunasekara made a fervent plea that the all-powerful Executive President Mahinda Rajapaksa should implement the recommendations for the common good of the country.
He said that during the 15-month probe COPE had made an in-depth study of these public institutions and was making recommendations to improve performance in terms of profit-making, operational and finance management, maintaining checks and balances, and prudent decision-making.
Mr. Gunasekara said as a result of some of the recommendations of the 2005 Committee being implemented, nine public enterprises had begun to improve their performances and 38 institutions were making profits.

According to him, good results could be obtained if the public institutions concerned were given autonomy and made accountable with little or no interference from the Executive or the ministries.
Among the main recommendations, the COPE chairman pointed out the need to appoint professional accountants at a much higher salary because at present the accounting process of many institutions was not sound apparently because the accountants concerned were not fully competent or they were under too much political influence.   
The COPE chairman said the government must move urgently to bring about higher standards of accounting and auditing in keeping with international standards.

He identified the CEB, the CPC, SriLankan Airlines and the controversial budget carrier Mihin Lanka as being among the main institutions that needed higher standards of financial management because their losses are shocking or blazing and soaring sky high.
COPE’s opposition members Karu Jayasuriya and Eran Wickramaratne who have wide experience in financial management said suitably qualified people should be appointed to top posts and that COPE report should be submitted every three months so that the people would know what was happening.  
Without giving dubious statistics and boasting or projecting delusion or grandeur, we hope the President will act fast and effectively on the latest COPE report to put Sri Lanka on a sustainable economic track before talking about miracles.

  Comments - 2

  • Sujan Thursday, 25 July 2013 10:59 AM

    Corruption is carried out by the educated people themeselves, and we blame the politicians for everything. If you do audits in all the public listed company you will find out more than 50% corrupted well educated people. Isn't that true?

    HEWASUNIL Thursday, 25 July 2013 11:59 AM

    since the President takes final decisions on all important and crucial issues,( in spite of the existence of a mega cabinet !) for the sake of the future generations of this country ,now it is high time for him to take a swift action on the recommendations of this COPE report without delay.

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