ECONOMYNEXT – Infrastructure and skills building projects by Sri Lanka’s Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry improved access to services by communities across the island and earned it first place in use of government funds last year, an official said.
“Locally-led developments have enormous potential to deliver the scale and quality of lifestyle growth among communities across Sri Lanka which is an absolute need,” Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha said.
“By providing basic facilities such as access to main roads, well-designed schools and public areas, mitigating the negative effects of flooding and natural disaster and supporting our local authorities, all enable better and enhanced lifestyles which contributes to a nation’s growth,” he told a news conference.
The Rs14.6 billion government allocated budget along with support and funds from several bilateral donor agencies help develop new communities that will benefit from reduced time in commuting in their villages, which in turn has a ripple effect in increased school attendance and reduction in school drop-outs, better educational results and enhanced livelihoods plus a boost to local economies, a statement said.
The development projects rolled out in several provinces in the past 3 years earned the Ministry the top position over 16 other line ministries in an assessment by the Ministry of Finance and Planning in the effective use of the allocated capital budget, it said.
Projects completed covered roads, water, sewerage and sanitation, buildings, schools, parks and related infrastructure across the country.
The finance ministry assessed use of capital budget allocated for projects and programmes by 16 line ministries that received more than Rs10 billion each in 2016.
The Provincial Councils and Local Government Ministry achieved almost 88% utilization, or Rs22.2 billion out of Rs25.3 billion allocated.
The projects also included soft skills development and training of local government authorities.
Capacity building was carried out to boost local authority planning capabilities, to be able to take a proactive role in planning and encourage ambition and leadership in the delivery of well-rounded communities, the statement said.
“Training was given particularly in the use of digital mediums for their work,” it said.
Local Government Authorities will be able to apply the skills and capacity they need to deliver Service Packages to public with higher quality growth at scale, pace and implement wider reforms in their localities.”
(COLOMBO, December 5, 2017)