TRANSPARENCY IN A BANE TO THE DEVELOPMENT
Posted on June 9th, 2016

Dr Sarath Obeysekera

I read the article about the regulations stipulating the requirement of cabinet approval for every project, which necessarily means that government cannot invoke appropriation bill to nullify the cabinet approvals granted after following all the relevant  procedure .

And yet government can cancel the approvals granted .

Subject minister gets the cabinet papers drafted by the Secretary to the minister ,where Secretary is the authority and answerable being the chief accounting officer in the event of a suspected fraud or irregularity.

After obtaining cabinet concurrence the project gets the legally approved status . Though it cannot be questioned , successive government can either cancel or delay the project i.e port city project etc.

Argument is why bother to go to cabinet ?

Ministers always go scot free and never charged for  any wrong doing.

Best solution would be to appoint a Committee of Development Secretaries which may be chaired by either President’s or Prime Minister’s secretary and approve the project.

Ministers can then brief the status of approval to the cabinet.

Transparency is absolutely of no value  as the development processes get more and more delayed due to Bureaucracy .

Under Jayaplanaya.Premapalanaya  ,Sirima and Chadrika Palanaya transparency was monitored  .but under Marapalanaya things were getting out of control .

Now the yahaplanaya or we can call it Maithreepalanya is trying to call RFP’s or tenders  for every development project (or even to build a toilet ) to show that the  transparency is in practice  , and sadly nothing is moving ahead .

Today we see East Terminal of Port of Colombo up for grabs ,and RFP has been publicised  and Government has issued RFO for Hambanatota and Next RFP will be for Trinco .
By the time all the proposals are evaluated , it is guaranteed  that until 5 year term of the government lapses ,no project will get off the ground .

We have noted that quite a few bureaucrats and state officers have been dragged to FCID ,with no charges against the minister who is the owner of the cabinet paper .

Whenever we try to persuade a state official to expedite any project ,they tell us that they don’t want to be dragged to FCID or questioned by the Government Auditor >

Let us forget about the transparency and move ahead please  .
Dr Sarath Obeysekera

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