Wednesday, 13 October 2004  
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Bogollagama elected COPE Chairman

Opposition Parliamentarian Rohitha Bogollagama has been elected Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises(COPE) by unanimous choice.Bogollagama who was Industries Minister during last regime succeeds Minister Jeyaraj Fernadopulle who held that position as a member of the then opposition. Bogollagama who was one time Chairman of the Board of Investment says he intends streamlining and improving the quality of enterprise performance and the Governance aspect. The idea is to hold these enterprises responsible to Parliament through it to the people.

He vowed to probe any abuse, nepotism, lethargy while highlighting the service aspect of the enterprises and introduce better financial discipline and accountability.

Towards this end the Auditor General and the Treasury will be made a part of this exercise. "We will also be going into wasteful expenditure and poor quality of management at the hierarchical level" the new COPE head said.

The COPE will next week summon the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, and will also examine the performance of the CPC in the light of the present price escalation. It would also look into the BOI alongside the Auditor General's statement in addition to the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Another enterprise to come under COPE scrutiny will be the Ceylon Fertilizer Company in the light of the current fertiliser requirements. COPE will make a direct and continuous assessment of these enterprises which have a responsibility of service to the people.

Bogollagama said all non functioning enterprises of the Public sector will be assessed to determine whether additional burdens are placed on the Treasury. This will help minimise unnecessary wastage of funds. In maintaining the top end of these enterprises at the expense of the Treasury anyone drawing fulltime salaries from enterprises including Chairman will be expected to perform a fulltime service in keeping with role expected of these officials.

In the case of Companies that have escaped the ambit of the Auditor General and not being audited the Attorney General will be consulted obtain the legal position.

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