Trust in Sri Lankan govt seen eroded by excessive secrecy
Apr 27, 2018 18:33 PM GMT+0530 | 0 Comment(s)
ECONOMYNEXT - Unrealistic budget proposals that don’t get implemented and lack of transparency about their progress erodes the credibility of Sri Lanka’s government, analysts at Verité Research, a private think-tank, said.
The government, elected in 2015 on the promise of greater democracy and good governance, needs to change the decades-old culture of secrecy among bureaucrats and politicians, they said.
“It’s better to be realistic about budgeting than over-budgeting and creating expectations and failing to deliver which significantly affects the creditability of government,” said Subhashini Abeysinghe, research director at Verité Research, which has a platform tracking the progress of budget proposals.
Despite an improvement in disclosure, the government was still not transparent enough, especially about budget proposals it failed to execute, she told a news conference.
“It’s not a crime not being able to implement a proposals. There could be valid reasons like crisis situations or other priorities, lengthy government procurement processes,” Abeysinghe said.
“We know there aree serious concerns about the government’s credibility. So for the government to be honest will help it build credibility and trust in the minds of the public, tax payers.
”We need to change the culture of hiding it. The government may feel hiding things will give credibility, but we feel exactly the opposite.”
Abeysinghe said stakeholders will anyway know if budget proposals that affect them are not implemented.
“If people are promised houses in estates and the north and east, they know whether houses were built or not – so there’s no point in hiding lack of progress.”
Lack of public knowledge on how well governments spend tax money could also be contributing to tax evasion, she added.
“If tax payers know how their money is spent, they’d be more willingness to pay tax.”
(COLOMBO, April 27, 2018)