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Sri Lanka building asset registry ending violation of fiscal law: Harsha

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is building a state asset registry giving effect to fiscal responsibility law after the last administration violated its provisions for 10 years, Deputy Economic Policy Minister Harsha de Silva said, though questions remain about regularizing past accounting practices.

"In the consolidated account in 2003, Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government under the fiscal management responsibility act mandated that an asset registry should be maintained," Deputy Minister Harsha de Silva told reporters.

"Mahindra Rajapaka’s government, he has the finance minister did not maintain an asset registry from 2005 to 2015."

The Fiscal Management Responsibility Act was brought to make is less easy for rulers to mis-spend peoples taxes and reduce debt.

In 2004, the then administration came under heavy fire from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, for being fiscally prudent and not running large deficits to give subsidies and hiring unemployed graduates into a bloated public sector so that they can take taxes home through salaries and lifetime pensions.

De Silva said the registry only had 830 billion rupees of assets so far.

Treasury officials had said it would take up to 5-year to complete it sifting through past data, he said.

De Silva alleged that the asset registry had not been maintained to make it easier to siphon money out of state projects.

De Silva was responding to queries on a statement by the President that the past administrations had borrowed trillions of rupees of money without documentation.

The FMRA also had a limit for state-guaranteed debt, to contain the volume of money parked as ‘off-balance sheet’ debt.





However the last administration also raised that limit, after guaranteeing hundreds of billions of rupees of debt for agencies like the Road Development Authority, which had the effect of understating the national debt. (Colombo/Feb02/2018)

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