Sri Lanka construction trade wants action against procurement corruption

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s construction industry has called for laws to ensure continuity of projects despite changes in government and at the same time to penalize state agencies which break procurement rules.

Lack of consistency in government policy has eroded confidence of investors and developers, Surath Wickramasinghe, President of the Chamber of Construction Industry (CCI) said.

Legislation should be introduced through parliament “to make it legally binding to ensure continuity of projects when governments change,” he said. “This is the practice in most countries including India.”

Wickramasinghe said the government has had a clear and transparent policy on procurement since January 2006 that said that all state agencies at all levels should follow the procurement guidelines.

“Unfortunately, it is not being strictly followed and manipulated by some government agencies due to political and other interests,” Wickramasinghe told a recent forum organized by the National Chamber of Commerce.

“This is where the problem lies and immediate action should be taken by the government to penalize such agencies who do not follow this procedure.”

Changes of government has led to work on projects being suspended as they are reviewed by the new administration.

“Developers have to suffer huge losses and even need to retrench staff,” Wickramasinghe said.

“This has definitely effected the confidence of developers and investors, foreign and local to the detriment of the construction industry.”

Over 100 projects are in the pipeline to get started but because of the uncertainty developers are reluctant to proceed, Wickramasinghe said. (Colombo/August 19 2015)





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