Tracking Ministerial Expenditure: A Quest For The ‘Golden Fleece’?
This is the second Position Paper published under the Ministerial Expenditure Monitoring project of Transparency International Sri Lanka. The analysis and comments are based on the findings of the project to date on the legal and financial implications involved in maintaining a large cabinet in Sri Lanka within the current socio-political and legal context.
The main objective of the Ministerial Expenditure Monitoring (MEM) project is to ascertain data relating to maintaining a large Cabinet within Sri Lanka and assess its impact on governance with a view to creating a public demand towards good governance. While the focus was on ministers as opposed to ministries, the project particularly aimed at ascertaining information as regards the procedure involved in allocation of funds, legal provisions and mechanisms that are in place to monitor the expenditure, the loopholes in the existing system etc, given the obvious link between the use of public money and need to ensure accountability in this respect. The project attempted to achieve its objectives through the employment of various research techniques such as literature and internet surveys, personal interviews etc. While considerable progress was achieved during the project’s four-month life span, obtaining officially documented information about ministerial expenditure in the present Cabinet posed a formidable barrier throughout the period of the survey. Therefore, this paper seeks to analyse the link between access to information and ensuring a system of transparent and accountable governance in the current politico-legal system in Sri Lanka through the lens of the MEM project.
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