‘COPF to look at every cent spent through Consolidated Fund’ | Daily News

‘COPF to look at every cent spent through Consolidated Fund’

Parliamentary Budget Office Act soon
Need to do away with unsolicited proposals
Dr Harsha De Silva
Dr Harsha De Silva

Article 148 of the Constitution gives Parliament full control over public finance and the Committee of Public Finance(COPF) has the power to look at every cent spent through the Consolidated Fund and any money that would be used for anything will be questioned and investigated by the COPF, Dr Harsha de Silva newly appointed Chairman of COPF told the twitter spaces session hosted by @Parliament LK.

He said the reason the country is at its bankruptcy is because of wrong proposals such as the reduction of taxes and the ban on fertilizer imports and if proposals of such magnitude were submitted to the COPF with zero analysis to justify their worthiness, he would not sign any papers for the implementations of such projects in the future.

Dr. De Silva said there has been some talk on social media about the recent procurement of coal. The matter was raised in parliament and Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera made a statement that the COPF should investigate this matter which he has undertaken to. “So we will investigate this and then the public will get to know and that will create transparency in these transactions.”

The IMF has suggested stepping up structural reforms to address corruption vulnerabilities and he said this was the first time that the IMF has put it down in black and white in an agreement.

“This means that there is the acceptance that Sri Lanka has had a lot of corruption in procurement and in implementing projects and in taking decisions on how to spend large sums of money.”

Therefore, he said a lot more focus is needed on ensuring that corruption is eliminated, and at least in the short run brought down to a manageable level. The COPF Chairman said it was important therefore to establish an independent prosecutor’s office so that the prosecution can be free of political bias.

“A parliamentary Budget Office was on the pipeline which is an independent body.”

This was a proposal first brought by President Ranil Wickremesinghe when he was PM during the Yahapalana Government and the Parliamentary Budget Office Act would be presented to the legislature and passed soon.

He also said that the culture of unsolicited projects should stop.

“The country should have a physical well thought plan; the country needs an LRT versus a USD 110 million highest towers in South Asia that generates no revenue.”

“Everything needs to be solicited and based on a plan. This country needs a system change and we need to hit the reset button and we will do it. Also, COPF will be opened to the public and media under my chairmanship.”


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