Cabinet ministers in Sri Lanka should sever links with private businesses: Eran

ECONOMYNEXT – Politicians should declare their assets and end any links with private businesses if they become ministers, State Minister for Finance Eran Wickramaratne has said.

"If you are minister of the cabinet you must declare your assets to the public and it is imporatant to severe any relations with your private businesses," Wickramarante told a forum organized by Charted Accountants Sri Lanka and South Asian Federation of Accountants.

His own assets had been declared to the Speaker of the parliament and anyone can get access to the information.

"Cabinet is a place where you get all the information about the finance industry, therefore it is important that you don’t have any personal interest other than developing the country," he said.

"I am saying this because most of those who corrupt the system are politicians like myself. And others are corrupted only because of this system."

A culture of corruption and bribery had become entrenched because people used it to get things done faster, the minister said.

Other analysts have said that the ending of permanent secretaries in ministeries from 1972 was a key reason for the breakdown of the public sector.

Rule of law in general had also broken with the judiciary also compromised until the 19th amendment brought in a constitutional council for key appointments including judges.

However under the constitution secretaries are still changed at the will of politicians. Many laws in the country also contain a clause called ‘ministers’ concurrence’ which give incentives for corruption, critics say.

Corruption is also encouraged by unreasonable regulations. High import taxes trigger smuggling, money printing which generate forex shortages and high inflation result in price controls, which tigger black markets, hoarding and foreign exchange violations. (Colombo/July31/2019)