National Procurement Council proposed to thwart ‘unsolicited’ bids

by Shamindra Ferdinando

The government has proposed the establishment of a National Procurement Council (NPC) to ensure transparency and viability of projects.

A gathering of civil society activists at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) was told on Sunday of the attempt to streamline procurement.

A key member of the constitutional affairs panel Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne, PC, said that the NPC would be established in accordance with the constitutional reforms. He pointed out that constitutional safeguards had been necessitated by the previous government having accepted many unsolicited bids.

PC Wickramaratne said that all political parties in UNP-led coalition supporting President Maithipala Sirisena were agreeable to proposed constitutional reforms, though some minor matters needed to be resolved.

The panel has also proposed a mechanism to ensure a process of consultations between the President and Prime Minister as in India.

Dr. Wickramaratne said that the panel was guided by various statements made by President Maithripala Sirisena as well as other leaders and oral advice received from time to time. He said constitution making wasn’t the sole responsibility of Constitutional Affairs Ministers appointed by various governments.

The panel has also recommended Cabinet comprising 30-members and 40 deputy ministers as well as state ministers.

As the incumbent President has sought defence, Mahaweli and environment portfolios, when issues pertaining to those subjects were taken up the Cabinet would be summoned by him.

The panel has also proposed that a government would be elected for a five-year period and the President couldn’t dissolve parliament unless he has a two-thirds majority. Hence election could be held during the last six months of the fifth year of a particular administration, the gathering was told.

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