The Finance Commission has recommended greater control by the Central Government over Provincial Councils in a bid to frame strategies for the development of Provinces which are congruent with key National initiatives.
The Finance Commission report on recommendations on apportionment of funds to the provinces, which had been submitted to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has called for a greater influence by the central government in the development work carried out by the provincial councils.
Under section 3.2 of the report which was presented to Parliament last week a results based planning framework for provinces have been introduced by the Finance Commission to realise the government’s vision at provincial level by influencing the development planning process of the provinces. According to the proposals the financial commission has a greater say in capital expenditure of the provincial councils.
Therefore two grants, namely the Provincial Specific Development Grant (PSDG) and criteria based grant (CBG) will play critical roles. Provincial development programmes have to be discussed through the PSDG and agreed by the Finance commission. One part of the CBG is the allocation of decentralised budgeting to finance proposals made by the provincial council members.
The balance part of the CBG is allocated among the different provincial subjects. However provinces are advised to invest in the CBG following the Finance Commission guidelines. The report said the Finance Commission makes a concerted effort to frame strategies for the development of Provinces which are congruent with key National initiatives.
The strategies are broad based to achieve its mandate as dictated by the National Policy under which the Commission was established. “The Commission attempts to provide a new dimension for the devolution envisaged by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution by guiding the Provinces to achieve the National Development Goals,” it added. (Yohan Perera )