September 18, 2019
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    Govt. agencies failure to act on COPE recommendations

    June 20, 2019

    Committee on Public Enterprises Chairman Sunil Handunnetti (JVP) yesterday hung out the public sector’s dirty linen for all to see. Even as he blasted major state institutions like SriLankan Airlines, the National Medicines Regulatory Authority, and the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation for failing to report back on their compliance with COPE recommendations given months ago, he had at least Agriculture Minister P. Harrison scurrying to reassure him that one such institution under his purview would respond in a fortnight.

    The COPE Chairman, however, was scathing: several government institutes have not acted upon the recommendations given to them by COPE as far back as January this year. Handunnetti told Parliament that the recommendations were in the COPE report dated January 24, 2019. According to him, the said institutions have been given 08 weeks’ time to comply with the recommendations and report back to the Committee. However, Handunnetti observed that 16 weeks have elapsed with no response from these institutions.
    Handunnetti stated that the said government institutions include Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute, National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA), National Medicines Regulatory Authority, State Pharmaceutical Corporation, Sate Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Corporation, SriLankan Airlines and Regional Development Bank. At this juncture, the Agriculture Minister P. Harrison informed the House that he will take necessary measures to send the report of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Instittute to the COPE within the next two week.
    Speaking further, Handunnetti pointed out that both COPE and the Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) spend much time and resources to conduct investigations in to the financial and other conduct of government establishments. All that effort was wasted if the agencies concerned did not act upon the recommendations given by the two Parliamentary committees.

    The COPE Chairman also requested the Speaker of the House to strengthen the Standing Orders under which the two committees operate to make them more effective. “We strengthen SO to quicken the response time of the government institutions. Now this report was submitted in January. They are supposed to respond to us by March, but now it is June. There is no point in conducting investigations if they do not achieve something at the end. I would like to draw your attention to this matter,” Handunnetti told the Speaker of the House.

    Handunnetti commended the Road Development Authority, Sri Lanka Institute of Advanced Technological Education, MILCO, National Livestock Development Board and Paddy Marketing Board for responding the COPE recommendations on time.

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