COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s private business follow neglected codes of good governance and ethics a senior minister said as the government itself is promising just rule and transparency underlined by a right to information act.
The new administration hopes to have a code of conduct of legislators. It came to power pushed by citizens’ organizations to set up independent commissions to overlook the police, judiciary and the wider public service.
A right to information act has also been promised before parliamentary polls in April.
"Transparency is the most important thing," Minister for Democratic Governance Karu Jayasuriya told members of Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Commerce Tuesday.
"There is thirst for good governance and transparency and we have promised all these changes and we will now have to deliver whether we like it or not before parliamentary elections on April 24.
"But we cannot do this alone. The private sector has been talking about good governance since the 90’s. Now we all have to change.
"Now is not the time for applause but action. We all need to establish good governance and transparency. You must remember that for every person who takes a bribe there is someone paying the bribe."
He said businesses would no longer have to spend resources and time on getting into the good book of politicians.
The previous regime was criticized for is excesses with former president Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family controlling over two thirds of the national budget and a rent seeking society build up with businesses vying for patronage and favours.
Business chambers were silent for years, with business leaders claiming that critical economic issues were taken up with the government behind closed doors.
Though many sectors including the country’s stock brokers have codes of conduct, there have been questions whether they are followed and what action is take when they are breached.
Some businesses also put pressure on media to supress information such as quarterly reports and rating revisions through advertising clout.