Public Accounts Committee needs more powers - Report
The first report of the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) of the eight
Parliament includes, comparatively, the largest number of investigations
conducted within the three months from January 9 to April 7, 2016 with 41
investigations pertaining to 38 State institutions summoned before the Committee
on account of the Reports of the Auditor General issued in respect of the years
2005 to 2013.
The Committee report has also made specific observations on the Employees
Provident Fund, Department of Labour, Sri Lanka Customs, Department of Official
Languages, Department of National Archives, Department of Export Agriculture,
Department of Motor Traffic, Department of Examination and Valuation Department.
The first report of COPA presented to Parliament by its Chairman, Deputy
Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna on September 22 observed that orders given by the
COPA are sometimes not implemented effectively because as per the Standing Oder
125, the Committee doesn’t have the authority to issue strict orders. Therefore,
it is essential to amend the existing Standing Orders to give more powers to the
The Committee report has revealed that the resources possessed by the Auditor
General (AG) are not sufficient to audit all the sub institutions in detailed
manner and the Committee recommends that AG’s Department should be strengthened
in physical and human resources.
The report has also revealed that although a large amount of money had been
allocated for computer information technology programs in state institutions
those computer programs have not been finalised on many occasions and the manner
the Government institutions have used information technology is not at a very
There were instances of recommendations made by the COPA not been implemented
even at the time some institutions appeared before it for the second time. There
were instances of inconsistencies among aims, expected functions and certain
activities being handled by some institutions.
Meanwhile, the Committee has observed that there are instances where public
officials are not able to carry out their duties and responsibilities properly
in the issue of misappropriation of public funds due the political and other
interferences. In addition, the successful implementation of activities of state
institutions are hampered owing to the existence of vacancies in institutions
over a long period of time.
According to the report, there was under-utilisation of annual allocations and
resources in many institutions which makes a negative impact on the
implementation of the development policies of the country.