Connect with us

Business

Call to ensure credible implementation of budget-2021 proposals

Published

on

By Sanath Nanayakkare

In the lead up to the highly anticipated 2021 budget, Verité Research recently announced the latest results and recommendations of their annual budget monitoring study, which tracks the government’s performance and openness on key promises made in its recent annual budgets.

According to Verité Research, in the 2018 budget speech, the Minister of Finance announced that an implementation unit would be set up under the ministry to monitor the execution of the proposals. However, in response to an RTI (Right to Information) request, the Ministry of Finance claimed that such a unit did not exist. Yet, in another response, this statement was contradicted by the same ministry.

“These weaknesses in information disclosure and implementation of budget promises suggest that the budget being implemented is inconsistent with the one declared to parliament and that the government is not fully aware of how public funds are spent”, Verité said.

“For the period January – December 2017, 8% of promises tracked by our platform from the 2017 budget speech were categorised as fulfilled. At the end of the first six months of 2018, the pace of progress was slow – only 8% of promises were progressing in line with their targets. Besides, progress on 33% of proposals is categorised as either broken, neglected or undisclosed. This means that the government is either not doing what it is saying or not saying what it is doing for budget promises worth Rs. 60,200 million. The bulk of expenditure proposals in the 2018 budget (59%) is thus categorised as lagging in terms of their implementation”.

“In 2019, the platform tracked 37 promises worth Rs. 100,875 million from the 2019 budget. According to it, there is a divergence in what is said in budget speeches and what is implemented, in both expenditure proposals and policy proposals. Their analyses found that many expenditure proposals have their allocations reduced every year. In 2019, 41% of the policy proposals tracked by the platform were not implemented”,Verité has found.

Speaking at the online briefing, Lahiri Jayasinghe, Assistant Analyst – Verité Research said that the government is going to present the budget for 2021 against a background of weak global economy and challenging domestic fiscal conditions exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, and therefore an effective oversight of the budget implementation process for the Financial Year 2021 would be vital.

“The government has announced its vision for a turnaround of the public sector and elimination of waste and corruption. There’s limited fiscal space for government’s operations. In this background, we suggest that there should be a parliamentary committee or an authoritative body of the Finance Ministry to whom the oversight of the budget implementation process is entrusted in order to ensure a credible implementation process in 2021 and achieve the budget’s intended targets and goals”.

“In 2019, openness on proposals was hindered by the frequent changes to ministerial portfolios. The budget monitoring process revealed that the fragmentation of ministries had resulted in a breakdown of the lines of responsibility. Even those that were tasked with oversight of the budget were not able to provide clarity on the agencies responsible for implementing specific budget proposals”.

“In 2019, no information was available on the implementation of 32% of proposals. This is a significant deterioration from the problem of missing information in the previous year, where only 13% of the proposals fell into this category of ‘no information. For a more credible budget, we recommend the following:

1. Develop and document supporting information and analysis for each proposal prior to including it in the budget.

2. Provide timely and consistent disclosure on budget implementation on ministry websites.

3. Provide better oversight through the executive and legislature (e.g parliamentary committees and structures)

4. Reduce the fragmentation of ministerial portfolios and ensure that a clear line of accountability is maintained on the implementation of each budget proposal”, Lahiri Jayasinghe said.

Deshal de Mel, Research Director joined the session for the Q&A while the presentations were moderated by Chalani Ranwala.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Pan Asia Bank posts steady performance during FY 2023 –

Published

on

Aravinda Perera- Chairman & Naleen Edirisinghe - Director CEO of Pan Asia Bank

Profit before Tax increases by 258% amidst external challenges

Pan Asia Banking Corporation PLC reflected a steady performance amidst multitude of adversities emerging from challenging macro-economic conditions as the Bank reported its financial performance during 2023, which showed judicious portfolio management and prudency exercised in dealing with possible fallout on its asset quality in challenging times.

The Bank reported a Pre-tax Profit of Rs. 2,328 Mn for the year ended 31st December 2023, which is 258% increase compared to corresponding period last year, supported by improved net interest income, increased trading gains from government securities and reduced exchange losses.

The Sri Lankan economy has experienced some positive signs of gradual economic recovery and a measure of stability in macro-economic factors compared to the previous year, with the appreciation of LKR against USD and the IMF bailout followed by the Domestic Debt Optimization (DDO) announcement. The multiple economic scenario models used regarding collective impairment in 2022 were continued in 2023 to ensure that adequate buffers were in place to absorb any potential credit risk that could arise in the future. The allowance for overlays applied in previous year was continued and maintained during 2023 too. Meanwhile, the Bank managed to end the year with healthy credit quality matrices due to improved credit underwriting standards and concerted collection & recovery efforts despite the contraction in the loan book during 2023 which impacted the Bank’s Stage 3 Loan Ratio adversely.

Furthermore, the Bank increased impairment provision buffers held regarding investments in International Sovereign Bonds of Government of Sri Lanka (SLISBs) further during 2023 with the expectation of possible adverse outcomes of the on-going government External Debt Restructuring (EDR) programme. The Bank recognised an impairment charge of nearly Rs. 2 Bn regarding International Sovereign Bonds during 2023.

The interest income for the year 2023 rose by 39% due to the high interest rates that prevailed during the period under review compared to corresponding period of the last year and the re-pricing effect of facilities in response to the market conditions. Further, the growth in interest income was supported by the increased interest income from Rupee denominated securities of the Government of Sri Lanka (T-Bills & Bonds) due to increased investments and high interest rates offered on such new investments compared to the previous year. Consequently, the net interest income increased by 9% in 2023 compared to the last year. (Pan Asia Bank)

Continue Reading

Business

SLT-MOBITEL celebrates the season of love with exciting giveaways

Published

on

SLT-MOBITEL, the National ICT Solutions Provider, celebrated Valentine’s Day with a series of heartwarming promotions and networking activities, spreading love and joy for customers across the country.

Connecting hearts from all around the world on social media, SLT-MOBITEL invited participants to share their loving memories for a chance to win movie tickets. Customers were also given the opportunity to dedicate romantic ringing tones to their loved ones by dialling special codes.

As part of the Valentine’s Day celebrations, SLT-MOBITEL also offered a special promotion, providing a special screening for the glamorous movie ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’, powered by SLT-MOBITEL. Furthermore, customers were treated to a surprise bonus of 10GB of free data upon recharging their SLT-MOBITEL mobile numbers with Rs. 500 or more through any banking app.

Taking love to the hill country, in a special engagement event at the Kandy City Centre, fans were able to participate in activities and interact with the ‘Sihinayeki Adarey’ cast including Hemal Ranasinghe, Sheshadri Priyasad, and many others.

Through these exciting promotions, SLT-MOBITEL helped spread love and joy this season while enhancing the customer experience with exclusive activities.

To discover more of SLT-MOBITEL’s Valentine’s Day promotions, visit https://www.facebook.com/SLTMobitel.

Continue Reading

Business

Call for Proposals: Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024

Published

on

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) is inviting proposals for the Saman Kelegama Memorial Research Grant 2024. The grant is an annual, merit-based grant awarded to an outstanding undergraduate studying in a Sri Lankan university. It aims to promote policy entrepreneurs among undergraduates by encouraging policy-relevant, rigorous and innovative socio-economic research.

The grant was established in 2018 to honour Dr. Saman Kelegama’s legacy of independent research and public policy engagement in socio-economic development in Sri Lanka and the wider South Asian region. Dr. Kelegama was the Executive Director of the IPS from 1995 to 2017.

Fourth-year undergraduates studying economics or a related subject in a University Grants Commission approved university or higher education institution in Sri Lanka are eligible to apply. Proposals must be written according to the guidelines provided and emailed to tharakam@ips.lk on or before the submission deadline of 30 April 2024.

HOW WILL THE WINNER BE CHOSEN? The quality of the proposals will be judged for its policy relevance, feasibility, originality and creativity. Three finalists will be chosen and invited to present their proposals at the IPS, where the award recipient will be selected.

OUTCOMES OF THE GRANTS – The recipient will be expected to produce a Policy Discussion Brief within six months of receiving the grant. The research report can be written individually or jointly with an IPS senior researcher.

BENEFITS OF THE GRANT – The beneficiary will be awarded a one-time research grant of LKR 200,000 to carry out the proposed research and a three-month internship at the IPS. The recipient will be able to seek guidance from senior researchers and benefit from IPS resources to complete the proposed study during the internship. To enable students from all over Sri Lanka to benefit from this opportunity, the terms of the internship will be flexible. The internship can either be a fully in-house internship at IPS, or it can be an in-house plus online internship. In the case of the second option, the in-house component of the internship should be at least six weeks. To encourage research dissemination, an additional subsidy will be provided for presenting the research findings at local conferences and workshops.

Important Dates

30 April 2024 – Deadline for Submission of Proposals

01 June 2024 – Announcement of Finalists

23 June 2024 – Announcement of the Winner

Further information is available at: https://www.ips.lk/saman-kelegama-memorial-research-grant/

Continue Reading

Trending