Heard In Parliament
Posted on November 30th, 2023


When confronted with a difficult question from a member of the public it is the standard ploy of a bureaucrat to throw the book of rules at him. FRs and ARs are safe havens of the unwilling bureaucrat. Recently a similar situation was witnessed in Parliament.

When the opposition asked for information on the 10 biggest defaulters on loans from the two State Banks the government response was that the Banks operate on the principle of confidentiality and there is a strict procedure in the Banks in revealing information on their customers. It was further said that the Constitution allows at Article 148 for Parliament to have full control over public finance and not private finance and added that it may be necessary to bring new laws to secure the information called for.

The tragedy is that both the opposition and the government forgot that there is a special agency the Credit Information Bureau of Sri Lanka (CRIB) established u

under an Act of Parliament (Amendment No 8 of 1995) which is specifically created to:

a)     to maintain a data bank on borrowers,

b)    to collect and collate trade, credit and financial information on borrowers,

d)    to furnish credit information on request to shareholders,

The information is already there in the data bank of the CRIB which can be accessed through a shareholder State Bank. The annual Audit Reports submitted to the Parliament on CRIB should have this information. Parliament could also request the Auditor General to submit a special report on the errant privileged borrowers.

In fact this information should be released to the public to expose these big time defaulters who are protected by politicians and Directors and Managers of Banks who may be on their pay. It is only the non-political borrower who is subject to Parate Execution when he fails to pay back the loan.


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