Ranil slams Govt. gung ho stance on unsolicited proposals

Saturday, 22 February 2014 07:44 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Ashwin Hemmathagama Our Lobby Correspondent The Opposition Leader yesterday slammed the ruling party for “diluting the Parliament’s power of scrutinising the Government, including the control of public finance” in the absence of a “proper mechanism to monitor the unsolicited and standalone proposals”. Raising serious concerns about the large increase in the volume of unsolicited and standalone proposals, Wickremesinghe wanted the Prime Minister to reveal to the House separately the total number of unsolicited and standalone proposals approved by the Government since 1 January 2009 and the total value of all the projects. “Will the Prime Minister also inform this House the names of the projects that have been approved to date, the party making the proposals, the Ministry through which each proposal is to be implemented, the total cost of each project, the source of funds, the mode and period of payment, and also table all relevant documents in relation of each of these projects? Furthermore, will he inform the House as to the instances when the tenders was nominated for the contract and the terms of doing so, the instances when foreign companies were awarded projects on the basis that a bilateral export credit scheme was available?” said. “In the last few years the media has frequently carried reports of the Government approving unsolicited and standalone proposals relating to projects termed as development projects. At the beginning, these standalone unsolicited proposals were private investment initiatives either requiring State land or preferential treatment on the local markets. The public sector development projects were either awarded on open competitive tender bids or limited competitive bids. Today, a large number of these projects are either public sector development proposals to be financed on credit terms or Private-Public Partnership (PPP), Build Own Operate (BOO), Build Own Transfer (BOT) and other partnership arrangements with the Government agencies,” said Wickremesinghe, highlighting the new guidelines on tender procedures issued in 1998. According to these new tender guidelines, a deviation was allowed on in exceptional circumstances, and an additional set of guidelines were issued in 2011. “There are three categories used to classify the project proposals in par with these guidelines.  Category I – public sector development project proposals to be financed on credit terms pertaining to which the lender nominates the contractor. In Category II, development project proposals to be undertaken by private investors in the form of PPP, BOO, BOT and other partnership arrangements with the Ministries and other Government agencies. The last, Category III – private investment initiatives, which involves having to dispose either by sale, grant or otherwise – any State land or land owned by a State identity,” explained the Leader of the Opposition, expecting the Government to respond at the next sitting.