Extravagance By Ministers Must Be Addressed As A Priority Issue
Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has been consistently urging the government to effectively address the issue of Mega Cabinet as well as the extravagance enjoyed by the Ministers, and their families at the public expense.
The media and political parties have recently raised valid questions on the excessive expenditure by one Minister and members of his family in the recently concluded Geneva Talks as well as during the said Minister’s travels in India. This is only one of many such instances recorded of excessive expenditure by persons in their ministerial capacity. Such practices have also been manifested in the past, irrespective of the political party in government at any given time.
Sri Lanka has no legitimate capacity to spend out of public finance to
spend excessive amounts for the foreign travel of Ministers and their families or for their personal expenses. TISL sees abuses of power by Ministers for personal gain as engagement in corrupt practices for which they should be answerable to the people. Based on the media reports,TISL welcomes the move by the President to call for explanation from the Minister concerned regarding the reported extravagance. However, calling for explanation should lead to deterrent action against the Minister which would then set an example so that similar incidents do not recur.
There is no doubt that the public finance today includes all categories of public funds irrespective of the source. We urge that corrupt expenditure be classified as corruption and waste and declared as such in published accounts. If such is not shown, the auditors must point such expenditure out which must be made tax non-deductible.
TISL reminds the public that Sri Lanka is one of the few countries where the government has, despite an unbearably strained treasury, continues in unrestrained spending for an unmanageable number of Ministers. It is time that we move away from that culture of profligacy and waste which has resulted in harsh burdens being imposed on the law abiding taxpayers in the country.
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