Budget office to open in Parliament next year | Daily News

Budget office to open in Parliament next year

 CMA President Sri Lanka Prof.  Lakshman R.  Watawala  making a presentation to  Minister  Wickramaratne.  Picture  by Wimal  Karunathilake
CMA President Sri Lanka Prof. Lakshman R. Watawala making a presentation to Minister Wickramaratne. Picture by Wimal Karunathilake

A Budget office will be set up in the parliament by end of 2018, State Minister of Finance Eran Wickramaratne said.

This is in an effort to improve accountability and transparency of public finance. He made these views speaking at a post budget seminar, organized by the Institute of Certified Management Accountants (CMA) of Sri Lanka in Colombo yesterday.

“Over the last six to seven decades, the country had to rely on numbers provided by the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry and the parliamentarians didn’t have an independent way to double check those numbers and data given by these two institutions.”

In addition, to monitor and look at practical issues during the implementation process of budget proposals on a regular basis, a budget proposals monitoring unit will be set up at the Finance Ministry.

“From an accountability point of view, things are moving in the right direction. There are lots of legal impediments or limitations in the law that need to be amended to suit the present needs,” he said.

The Minister said it is proposed to introduce Public Finance Management Act, National Audit Act and Public Enterprise Act in the future to address issues relating to the respective sectors. The Minister also noted that there are several other Acts that need amendments and reforms which also include new Customs Act.

Commenting on public sector reforms, the Minister claimed; “one thing that is holding back the growth of the country is the public sector. Within a short period of time, the public sector was nearly doubled by the former government and it didn’t increase the efficiency or services provided by the public sector to the general public.

The Minister also noted that delays in the law are holding back the economy and that things were not getting resolved in a speedy manner. And it is also causing injustice for the people who are waiting for a resolution.The Minister also emphasised that no presently existing social programs has been curtailed or cut by the present government and all the social programs have been retained as in the past. The Minister further noted the government is hoping to bring in a new Act in 2018 which will enable the state to give ownership to other Sri Lankans who are dispossessed and don’t have the ownership of their home.


 

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