Monday, September 26, 2011

"Accountability!" What is that? in the context of the Municipal Council Elections

Sri Lanka is known the world over as the country of accountants. There are Sri Lankan accountants in all parts of the world, but in Sri Lanka the accountability of all Government Institutions is sorely lacking, as there are very few qualified accountants in any of the Government departments. An accounting qualification usually is no guarantee of a government job and few qualified accountants seem to want to work in the public sector.

I suppose to put it simply if I was an accountant with any degree of self respect I would not want to work in the Government as I would be asked to cook the books so that misappropriation (wholesale) by the bureaucrats and politicians take place on a daily basis with no one feeling they should be held accountable for the spending public money. The normal internal controls which are prerequisites in the Private sector, and especially amongst quoted companies that require audit by a reputable accounting firm, do not exist in the public sector.

It is the Auditor General's department that audits these institutions and I do not know if they do so of the Municipal Councils. If they do not audit the Municipal Council, then God forbid the level of corruption and wastage of public money that must be taking place in all the municipalities. The is all the public purse and as far as the local authorities are concerns and especially in Colombo, it is the rates levied on homes and businesses that fund this wastage and the ratepayers are entitled to an honest accounting of this money.

Is it any wonder that I have yet to see any manifesto asserting that the Municipalities will be subject to tight accounting controls to prevent wastage and corruption? There are too many vested interests on both sides preventing a proper review of this system. I challenge anyone asking to be elected as mayor making a solemn promise that the ratepayers funds will be spent carefully and with transparency with the use of auditors to check on the accuracy of statements made by the elected Local Council members.

I therefore reiterate that there must be top class accountability on how the rate payers money is spent, especially in times of austerity to shield the ratepayer from increases in the rates payable due to any number of reasons.  

No comments:

Post a Comment