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Rs. 35 b outstanding from 500 projects under former Govt.


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  • Treasury Secy says outstanding payments from 2011-2014 projects 
  • 55 ministries and public departments tasked with compiling reports 
  • Full report likely to be submitted to Cabinet before year-end  

By Charumini de Silva

Digging through the morass of public projects over the past four years, a three-member Cabinet committee has cleared Rs. 3 billion from a whopping Rs. 35 billion in outstanding payments on 500 projects started by the previous Government covering 53 ministries.  

The Cabinet committee was appointed in March 2016 to wade through massive amounts of paperwork to rationalise a slew of projects from 2011. The Committee to date has completed preliminary evaluation on 70% of the projects with outstanding payments to various Government and private parties but a full report on pending payments will take at least two more months, a top official said.

Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga told Daily FT the total outstanding amount of unsettled work contracts up to 31 December 2014 added to Rs. 35 billion. 

“Up to this point we have issued 15 reports which include around 100 projects for various Government organisations. Out of the total unsettled commitment of Rs. 35 billion nearly Rs. 3 billion has been settled so far. The process is ongoing and is very time-consuming as ministries have to compile the payments and send them on to us,” he said.

Dr. Samaratunga added that the committee had received reports of 500 projects from 53 Ministries and 22 Special Spending Units. Most of the projects received were from the Highways and Higher Education ministries.

Projects that were obtained and completed following legal procedures will be honoured by the Government with payment to be eventually approved by the Treasury. However, Dr. Samaratunga explained that payments for irregular projects without relevant approvals and paperwork would require further scrutiny, which could likely take till the end of the year.

Cabinet in March appointed a three-member committee headed by former senior public servants Lalith R. De Silva, N. Padmanadan and Pushpa Welappili to determine payments owed for projects started by the previous Government from 2011 to 2014.

He said the committee had been mandated with verifying the amount of past due payments and to work out a debt servicing mechanism. All ministry secretaries have been informed to put forward outstanding payments from their respective ministries to the committee.

“The committee will find out how the contracts were awarded, whether the contract agreements have been signed, whether the jobs have been done, the rate of interest and inquire into the conditions, period of repayment, purpose of obtaining the loans and address linked concerns,” Samaratunga said.

The Treasury expects to have the full report, which will also be presented to Cabinet, ready before December. 


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