World Bank boost for PAC, COPE
COLOMBO: The World Bank has come forward with a US $ 494,000
financial assistance package to strengthen and enhance capacity of the
two parliamentary committees on Public Account (PAC) and Public
This was revealed at a media briefing at the Parliament premises
yesterday which was jointly chaired by the PAC Chairman, Minister of
Mass Media and Information Anura Priyadarshana Yapa and COPE Chairman
Minister of Power and Energy W.D.J. Senevirathne.
Describing the role of the two committees, Minister Senevirathne said
while PAC exercises oversight in the financial performance of Government
Institutions, COPE had been established to ensure the observance of
financial discipline in Public Corporations and other Semi Governmental
bodies in which the Government has a financial stake.
The financial assistance which comes as a donor package is expected
to enhance capacity of the two committees with regard to obtaining
documents\relevant material, interactive workshops, train manpower and
obtain advice and the conduct of awareness programmes.
According to Minister Senevirathne, US $ 284,000 would be utilised to
propagate matters pertaining to training officials and obtaining advice
with interactive workshops, seminars, recruitment etc. being organised
to build capacity.
Another US $ 10,000 is to be spent on obtaining material, documents
etc. Another US $ 200,000 would be utilised to conduct awareness
programmes and educationary workshops for relevant officers, the
Underlining the importance of the two committees which is in the
forefront of ensuring fairplay in matters pertaining to utilising public
funds on Government and Semi Government Institutions, the Minister said
with this World Bank assistance the two Committees would be developed in
accordance with the highest international standards. The World Bank has
also appointed a new Advisor to guide during the effort, the Minister
The duty of the COPE is to report to Parliament on accounts examined,
budgets and estimates, financial procedures, performance and management
of corporations and other government business undertakings. The accounts
of these organisations are audited by the Auditor-General and form the
basis of the investigations of the Committee.
It has the power to summon the relevant officials and such other
people as it thinks fit to obtain evidence and call for documents. The
Committee reports to Parliament and the recommendations contained in
their reports are deemed to be directives to the respective Corporations
or Statutory Boards for compliance.
The PACís task is to probe the managerial efficiency and financial
discipline of the Government, its Ministries, Departments, Provincial
Councils and Local Authorities.
The duty of the PAC is to examine the sums voted by Parliament along
with the report of the Auditor-General. In the course of its
deliberations, the Committee obtains evidence from the Secretaries to
the respective Ministries, who are the Chief Accounting Officers, Heads
of Departments and other responsible officers.
The Committee also regularly summons Directors-General of Public
Finance, State Accounts and National Budget or their nominated
It is the duty of the Chief Accounting Officers to personally appear
before the Committee to explain and justify the financial activities of
the Departments under the purview of their Ministries. The
recommendations of the Committee may contain directives to Government
Departments and Ministries and such directives are deemed to be those of
Parliament. Copies of Committee reports are distributed among Officers
of the Ministries, Departments, Provincial Councils and Local