ADB to review projects funded during former regime
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will review all ADB funded projects
launched during the former regime, ADB President Takehiko Nakao said.
The former regime came under severe criticism for misuse of funds
obtained for road and highway development projects. The Rajapaksa regime
was accused of allegedly spending colossal amounts on each kilometre of
the 126-kilometre Southern Expressway running from Colombo to Matara.
The ADB funded a section of the expressway while the rest was funded
by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and the
ADB Country Director Sri Widowati said the ADB prepared a Project
Completion Report for the project finance of the Southern Expressway and
added that contractors are selected through competitive bidding in
accordance with ADB procurement guidelines to ensure the proper use of
loans. She said the ADB reviews the process and once contractors are
decided, the payment is done in accordance with the contract which is
also reviewed by the ADB.
The project finance accounts of each project is subject to annual
audit by the Auditor General who provides reports to the authority and
the ADB. Moreover, the ADB regularly conducts review missions which may
include site visits, and the ADB has the right to access project
The ADB chief said the Bank hopes to scale up operations in Sri Lanka
with over US$2 billion in loans and equity in 2016 to 2018 compared with
$1.5 billion in the preceding three years.
“I look forward to working with the government in elaborating and
implementing its development vision and strategy through increased ADB
support. The ADB is re-orienting its operations to meet the evolving
needs of Sri Lanka as it moves to become an upper-middle-income country
in the next few years,” he said.
Nakao praised the government’s emphasis on good governance, inclusive
growth, and private sector development. With a wealth of cultural
heritage and rich natural and human resources, Sri Lanka has a lot of
potential, he said.
He stressed the importance of prudent macroeconomic management,
especially fiscal consolidation measures, for the economy to grow at 6%
or above per annum during 2016-2017. Both tax revenue enhancement and
effective management of public expenditure are urgent tasks for the
government. Nakao expressed his support for the government’s public
finance management reform initiative, which will boost the credibility
of the Budget framework and improve controls and transparency in Budget
Until recently, the ADB had focused on improving basic
infrastructure, such as national and provincial roads, electricity
transmission lines, and urban and rural water supplies. In the next
three years, ADB assistance will be further expanded to support
higher-quality transformative infrastructure, including expressways,
railway upgrades, wind power generation and building economic corridors
to accelerate industrialisation.
Nakao said apart from infrastructure, human resource development
would remain a key focus of ADB operations in Sri Lanka.