Govt. forced to redirect Finance Ministry annual report sans AG’s opinion


By Saman Indrajith

The government was forced by the Opposition to redirect the annual report of the Ministry of Finance for the year 2016 to the Public Finance Committee without tabling it in Parliament yesterday.

The report, presented to Parliament by Chief Government Whip and Minister Gayantha Karunathilake, on behalf of the subject minister, was later referred to the Public Finance Committee by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya when the Opposition pointed out that it was incomplete.

Chief Opposition Whip and JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake pointed out that the annual report was not complete as it did not contain the opinion of the Auditor General. Dissanayake said Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe had stated in the report that he would refrain from making an audit statement as he had not been provided with details required for that purpose. "An annual report is not complete without Auditor General’s opinion. This is an incomplete report and Parliament should reject it. It should be sent back to the Ministry for the AG’s opinion to be included."

Leader of the House and Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that if any ministry had not furnished the required information, the AG should have informed Parliament of that lapse. "The fault lies with the AG. The report became incomplete because of him. He is known for not providing information to Parliament."

JVP leader Dissanayake objecting to Minister Kiriella said it was wrong to accuse the AG. "The government should not expect the AG to give his nod without scrutiny for documents sent to him."   

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said he would refer the report to Public Finance Committee for action. He added that did not wish to say who was right or who was wrong.

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