Sunday, September 23, 2012

An unnecessary election for some unnecessary level of local government

The Provincial Council system offers a huge level of bureaucracy with a large number of elected people who become chief minsters, provincial ministers with bloated buildings, staff and bureaucracy that do nothing productive and add duplication to central government activity.

After all the biggest allocation from the Central Govt. budget is to the PCs and from that budget they fund the Education sector, namely Primary and Secondary Schools that are also managed by the Central Govt. which manage the 1000 National Schools, creating a further layer, a tier and worse a level of elitism, relegating the Province run schools to a second class status from the National Schools. This is just one matter I wish to bring about, but it applies to other examples of bureaucracy gone mad.

I am only in favor of the District as the decentralized level needed in addition to the Pradeshiya Sabhas or Municipal Council that must deal with very local matters and have their own revenue raising activity via rates and taxes. The provincial council taxing authority was done away with and the taxation officers transferred back to the Central government due to the huge bribery at local level that reduced the funds they received from turnover tax.

Show me ONE example of the PC system actually working! I rest my case. Why does no one in authority have the courage to get rid of it? Simply put there are too many people making money from this layer of govt. for no pressure and doing very little work and having titles, as everyone in Sri Lanka likes to be called “Manthrithuma”. This title today is applied not just to the local govt PS member, Provincial Council Members and of course Members of Parliament, the latter who are the only people I personally would prefer to be addressed as such!!

The cost of an election, which the Govt. conceded was recently held to show the world their level of popularity, is proof if you needed it that there is no manifesto or promise made to improve the lot of anyone in these provinces by these elections. It also creates local princelings and family dynasties that further erode democracy in Sri Lanka and take us back to the days of the kingdoms, where the king used local rulers to manage the empire through their personal fiefdoms. This is no different. Why are we so good at wasting money? We surely can put these resources to better use. The billions spent now from high cost borrowings from overseas have to be paid for one day!!

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