The World Bank has withdrawn its assistance for capacity development of the parliamentary oversight committees – the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the basis that the government has not agreed to bring about necessary changes in the legal structure, informed sources said yesterday.
The World Bank had agreed to provide a financial assistance package of US$494,000 to strengthen these two committees and to develop the capacity of the parliamentary secretariat dealing with them.
The project proposals included foreign training programmes for members of these two committees. The project was aimed at bringing about amendments to the laws and regulations governing public finances.
The PAC exercises oversight in the financial performance of government institutions. COPE has been established to ensure the observance of financial discipline in Public Corporations and other semigovernmental bodies. A COPE member who wished to be unnamed said the World Bank withdrew the project because certain government members had not agreed to introduce necessary changes to ensure transparency in the use and disbursement of public finances. “At the time the WB withdrew, we had spent only ten per cent of the assistance package. We lost the rest. The project that started in 2008 is to have been completed last year,” he said.
“The World Bank has proposed to amend the Finance Act for effective monitoring of public finances by Parliament. But unfortunately it did not happen,” he said.
BY KELUM BANDARA
Source: Daily Mirror – Sri Lanka