Some remarkable recommendations had been made with concern to increasing the efficiency and promptness of implementing the COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) report recommendations, when the report was tabled in the parliament last Thursday by MP DEW Gunasekera.
A recommendation has been made by the Committee on Standing Orders in consideration of the problems raised in previous COPE reports, that standing order No: 126 should be amended in order to ensure the government either follows the recommendations promptly or, within a mandatory period with effect from the date of presenting the report to the parliament, explain reasons in writing, as to why the particular public institution failed to comply with the recommendations. It is to be submitted along with a description of the remedial action that will be taken with regard to the recommendations that were not duly implemented.
Meanwhile it has also been pointed out that the Treasury is to note any adverse audit opinions that have been expressed by the Auditor General on the final accounts of any given institution to curb the practice of continuing to engage in financial corruption and misappropriation.
During the tabling of the report on Thursday, it had also been recommended for the Auditing of limited liability companies to be assigned to the Auditor General’s Department and for a mechanism to be established through which, the Auditor General would receive the audit reports of private Auditors with regard to subsidiary companies.
It has been recommended that the minimum qualifications of the members of Boards of Directors of Institutions should be constituted and declared by the CAO of each line Ministry with the concurrence of the Treasury in order to avoid any unqualified appointments.
When a new institution/subsidiary company is established under a given ministry, the relevant CAO should be duly informed about the Committee and the Auditor General of such formations of institutions along with the details of the Boards of Directors, shareholders etc.
Where applicable, the Treasury has been advised to formulate a mechanism through which longstanding debtor balances due from one public institution to another would be settled when the annual budgetary allocations are made.
Among other recommendations is for the Accounting Officer to ensure that audit queries are replied to, within three months of the receipt of audit queries.
It has also been revealed that the current practice of transferring institutions from one Ministry to the other is wasteful and limits efficiency and effectiveness in government institutions. Therefore, following a scientific basis in the constitution of Departments and Institutions belonging to each Ministry should be allocated on a permanent basis.
The institutions are to strictly adhere to the mandatory requirement of conducting audit and management committee meetings and the relevant minutes are to be tabled during the meetings of the board of directors along with the progress of replying to all the pending audit queries.