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Oral Q and A

Oral Questions - Friday 12th June 2009

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QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS


To be raised by the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake when Parliament meets on Friday 12th June 2009

1. 0010/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Administration and Deputy Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the number of times that His Excellency the President has gone overseas;

Answer:
Eighteen (Up to September 2008)

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(ii)

Names of the Countries

(iii)

No. of people Accompanied

(iv)

The reason for Accompaniment

1.

India

66

To get done the expected duties relating to the relevant Ministries and Institutions at each visit

2.

Cuba

48

3.

United States of America

50

4.

Maldives

56

5.

China

74

6.

India

37

7.

Italy

37

8.

Barbados

19

9.

Jordan and Kuwait

53

10.

Switzerland

20

11.

United States of America

46

12.

India

22

13.

Uganda and Iran

32

14.

Japan

35

15.

United Kingdom

22

16.

China

34

17.

Italy

37

18.

United States of America

23

(b)    Will he state –

(i)    the cost incurred on these overseas trips; and

Answer:

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Country

(i) Cost incurred on those Overseas Trips

(ii) Significant gains from the trips for the Country?

India

Rs. 6,260,49.13

To build up strong official and personal links with their counterparts in the neighbourly nations.

Cuba

Rs. 2,239,212.00

Represented Sri Lanka at the XIVth Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)

United States of America

Rs. 8,358,252.44

Led the Sri Lanka delegation to the 61st Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Maldives

Rs. 5,957,626.03

Discussing a range of bi-lateral matters

Signed MOU on Cultural Co-operation

Signed MOU on the Co-operation in the field of Education

China

Rs. 7,277,606.44

Annexure I

India

Rs. 8,876,822.27

Led the Sri Lanka delegation to the 14th SAARC Summit

Italy

Rs. 15,524,834.48

Annexure II

Barbados

Rs. 5,406,547.61

Participation at the Cricket World Cup final closing ceremony between Sri Lanka and Australia.

Jordan and Kuwait

Rs. 799,461.01

Annexure III

Switzerland

Rs. 1,803,252.07

Annexure IV

United States of America

Rs. 1,721,663.13

Led the Sri Lanka delegation to the 63rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

India

Rs. 341,808.00

Addressed the 5th “Hindustan Times” Leadership Summit

Uganda and Iran

Rs. 6,221,428.20

Annexure V

Japan

Rs... 30,422,377.82

Annexure VI

United Kingdom

Rs. 15,175,734.31

Attended the passing out parade of Naval Cadets held at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, United Kingdom as the Guest of Honour.

Meeting with Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, KCB, ADC First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff of the Royal Navy and discussed co-operation between the United Kingdom and Sri Lanka Navy in security matters.

China

Rs. 5,786,847.65

Annexure VII0

Italy

Rs. 39,943,995.59

Annexure VIII

United States of America

Rs. 47,373,794.07

Led the Sri Lankan delegation t the 63rd Session of United Nations General Assembly.

Annexure I

China


1.    Economic for a were held in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou with the participation of a large number of Chinese business leaders.

2.    Agreements signed during the visit

  1. Agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation
  2. MOU between the Ministry of Construction and the Ministry of Urban Development and Sacred Areas Development.
  3. Agreement between the city of Guangzhou and the District of Hambantota on the establishment of Friendship City Relationship.
  4. MOU on two way investment promotion co-operation between the Investment Promotion Agency of the Ministry of Commerce of China and the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka.
  5. MOU on co-operation in the Film Industry between the Film Bureau of China and the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka.
  6. MOU for the donation of Eye Corneas and the promotion of co-operation, exchanges, technical and technology transfers between the Red Cross Society of China and the Eye Donation Society of Sri Lanka.
  7. MOU between the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Mechanisation Sciences and the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture of Sri Lanka
  8. MOU on academic exchanges between Beijing Foreign Studies University of China and the University of Kelaniya of Sri Lanka.

3.    The following projects were co-ordinated following visit undertaking by His Excellency the President to China, buy the Economic Affairs Division with related line Ministries including the Ministry of Finance and Planning.

i.    Hambantota Port Development Project

Total Project Cost – USD 360 Million
Implementing Agency: Sri Lanka Ports Authority

ii.    Hambantota Port Bunkering and Oil Tank Farm Facility

Total Project Cost – USD 76.7 Million
Implementing Agency – Sri Lanka Port Authority

iii.    Puttalam Coal Power Plant Project – Phase I

Total Project Cost – USD 455 Million
Implementing Agency – Ministry of Power and Energy / CEB

iv.    Puttalam Cost Power Plant Project – Phase 2

Total Project Cost – USD 400 Million
Implementing Agency – Ministry of Power and Energy / CEB

v.    Colombo, Katunayake Expressway

Total Project Cost – USD 248.2 Million
Implementing Agency – Road Development Authority

vi.    Construction of a few selected Road Infrastructure Elements

Total Project Cost – USD 400 Million – USD 10 Million (Grant)

vii.    National Performing Arts Theatre Project (Loan / Grant)

Total Project -, USD 21.2 Million
Implementing Agency – Ministry of Cultural Affairs

viii.    Procurement of Diesel Multiple Units and Passenger Carriages for Sri Lanka Railways

Implementing Agency – Ministry of Transport

ix.    Maintenance requirements at BMICH

Total Estimate Cost – Approximately USD 7.2 Million, which will be provided as a grant

x.    Following Project Proposals are under consideration

Grant / Technical assistance for Moragakanda and Kalu Ganga Development Project
Current Status – Response from the Ministry of Commerce in China is awaited

Rehabilitation of Southern Breakwater and the approach channels of the Panadura Harbour.
Current Status – Chinese Government has agreed to dispatch an expert team to Sri Lanka

Rehabilitation and improvement of Road from Devi Balika roundabout to Malabe
Project Cost – USD 11 Million
Current Status – Project proposal has been submitted to the Embassy of China

xi.    Rural Electrification Projects

Sri Lanka Government is seeking USD 45 Million to implement the Phase II of the above Project.

Annexure II

Italy

The significant gains from the trip

  1. His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka attended the High Level Conference on World Food Security, Challenges of Climate and Bio Energy, which was held in Rome with a delegation.
  2. From Sri Lanka’s point of view, it was an important Summit held amidst food crisis in the world. During the period of the Summit His Excellency the President was able not only to highlight Sri Lanka’s point of view on the food crisis, but also to exchange various other views on the various other issues including terrorism with the world leaders.
  3. More importantly, this conference provided an excellent forum for His Excellency the President to understand the mindset of the World Leaders on the issue of Food Security . This would indeed help to formulate Sri Lanka’s own policies on Food Security and take appropriate action to overcome the food crisis with the support of other nations.
  4. Therefore, participating in the above Conference Sri Lanka benefited immensely/ As a result of this participation Sri Lanka has been able to present its case on Food Security to solicit assistance from the World Body for a number of Projects in Sri Lanka.


Annexure III

Jordan and Kuwait

The significant gains from the trip

  1. Signing of a Trade Agreement with Jordan – establishing a Sri Lanka – Jordan Joint Economic Committee
  2. Signing of a MOU on co-operation among Chambers of Commerce (FCCISL & CCC) with the Jordan Chamber of Commerce and Jordan Chamber of Industry.
  3. A Sri Lanka Business and Investment Forum was held to co-incide with the visit of His Excellency the President with the participation of a large number of Jordanian Businessman / Investors.
  4. The World Economic Forum on the Middle East – Dead Sea, Jordan – The Economic Affairs Division co-ordinated the participation of several leading businessmen form Sri Lanka at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, which was held concurrently with His Excellency the Presidents visit to Jordan. This is in keeping with the focus of His Excellency the President on improving ties with the countries of the Middle East. Hon M/FA participated in a panel discussion on “Success Stories in Development” to share experiences of Sri Lanka in moving towards development (Other participants on the panel included the Prime Minister of Pakistan, President of Croatia, President of Georgia, Former President of Ireland, etc.)
  5. Second Summit of the Group of Eleven (G 11)
  1. His Excellency the President led the Sri Lanka delegation to this Summit.
  2. Of particular importance are the efforts of the G11 to bring to the attention of G8 specific development concerns of the G11 Countries. His Excellency the President in his address at the Summit requested all member countries to work together to defeat terrorism.
  3. The G11 creates a platform for LMIC’s to present their case, jointly, to the developed world and particularly to the G8. The G11 seeks “targeted help” and “result oriented assistance” to accelerate the implementation of home grown development programmes in respective member countries.
  4. The Group G11 hopes to agree on a Framework on Economic, Trade and Cultural Co-operation to promote ties among member countries. Cabinet approval has been granted for Sri Lanka to sign proposed G11 Framework Agreement on Economic, Trade and Cultural Co-operation, which is scheduled to be signed at the G11 Summit to be held at the Dead Sea in May 2009. In terms of benefit, the Agreement contains useful provisions enabling G11 countries to further strengthen ties in the fields of tourism, trade, investment, information and communication technology, culture etc.
  5. A meeting was held between Chancellor Angela Merkel and His Majesty King Abdullah II in their capacities as President of the G8 and G11 respectively in November 2007 in Berlin, Germany. The exchange of views and the Agreement on the part of the G* Chair to report to other G* members and the upcoming G* Presidency, on the discussion held is significant in this respect. In particular, Germany welcomed the effort by His Majesty King Abdullah II to advance the G11 initiative and congratulated the other countries of the G11 on their determination to move forward with economic, political and social reforms. At this meeting both sides also stress the value of the relationship  between the developed and developing countries and the importance of supporting developing countries that are performing well, particularly those pushing forward with their reform efforts and delivering on their commitments.

Kuwait
The significant gains from the trip

  1. During the state visit of His Excellency the President to Kuwait the following two Agreements were signed.
    • Agreement on Cultural, Media, Education, Scientific and Technical co-operation.
    • Agreement on the transfer of sentenced persons
  2. Under the Agreement of the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners, jailed Sri Lankan Expatriate workers’ for diverse offences and “Breeches of Service Agreements” in Kuwait would now be entitled to a “General Amnesty” period within which they could come back to Sri Lanka. The Lankan Government which earlier had to incur a considerable outlay for the repatriation of such persons, will benefit immensely from this Agreement.
  3. President Rajapakse and Emir Al Shabah had a cordial round of talks on bi-lateral and zonal issues of mutual interest, focused mainly on the Sri Lankan expatriate workers in Kuwait. They had exchange views on the prospect of these Sri Lankans securing more economically viable and lucrative job opportunities in Kuwait. The problems encountered by them and the possibilities of solving them expeditiously were also discussed. The two leaders had also discussed Kuwaiti Investment in Sri Lanka.
  4. During discussions His Excellency the President had Kuwait Fund Assistance was requested for the Weeravila Airport Project and the Moragahakanda Project. Discussions were also held to secure the possible assistance from the Kuwait side for the setting up of an Oil Refinery in Sri Lanka.
  5. A business and investment forum was held at the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which His Excellency the President and several Ministers addressed. This forum was attended by Kuwaiti businessmen / investors.
  6. Dignitaries met during the visit included Mr. Abdulwahab Al-Bader, Director General of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, His Excellency Mr. Ali Al-Ghanim, Chairman – Chamber of Commerce and Industry, His Excellence Mr. Jassin Mohammed Al Khorafi, Speaker of the National Assembly, HH Sheikh Nasser, Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad, Al-Jaber, Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, H.H. Sheikh Al-Sabah Al-Ahamed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, H.E. Sheikh Dr. Mohammad Sabah A;-Salem Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Oil of the State of Kuwait.


Annexure IV

Switzerland

The significant gains from the trip

1. Meeting with the High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Louis Arbor.

The High Commissioner made a request to conduct an official visit to Sri Lanka. His Excellency the President, while agreed to the visit was unconvinced of a need for a Permanent OHCHR presence in Sri Lanka or a UN Monitoring Mission at the present time.

2. Meeting with the President of Human Rights Council His Excellency Luis Alfenso de Alba, Ambassador of Mexico to the United Nations in Geneva.

Ambassador de Alba briefed His Excellence the President on the institutional building process of the Human Rights Council emphasising the need for member states to opt for a strategy of participating in those institutions. He also shared the experience of Mexico concerning international institutions / campaigns into Human Rights violations such as abduction / disappearances with special reference to errors in identification and counting. His Excellence the President responded by stressing the importance  of the role of member states  in the HRC especially in establishing a Code of Conduct for INGO’s. He also expressed Sri Lanka’s determination to actively participate in the HRC and its institutions.

3. Joint meeting with the Vice President of the ICRC Mr. Jacques Forster and Mr. Markku Niskala, Secretary General of the IFRCS followed by bi-lateral meeting with Vice President of ICRC.

His Excellence the President was appreciative of the role played by ICRC emphasising that is was the first International humanitarian Organisation to respond to GOSL request to assist people in Vakarai after it was cleared. The ICRC sought information from His Excellence the President on action taken by the authorities on the murder of two staff members of the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society.

4. Meeting with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Antonio Gulerres

It was an extremely cordial meeting at which the President greatly appreciated the role of UNHCR and briefed the High Commissioner about the political situation in Sri Lanka.

5. Meeting with Secretary General of the Amnesty International, Ms. Irene Khan

The AI delegation and Sri Lanka delegation had a free and frank exchange of view on the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka site took exception to the “Cricket Ball Campaign” launch by AI. The Attorney General clarified certain issues concerning investigations.

6. Meeting with the Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, Mr. Nicholas Howen

The ICJ delegation and Sri Lanka delegation had a free and frank exchange of views on the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka. The Attorney General made a detailed rebuttal of ICJ concerns in relation to the investigations into the killing of ACK workers.

7. Meeting with Mr. Prakash P. Hinduja, Chairman / Advisory Board, Ama Bank, Switzerland.

Mr. Hinduja expressed interest in commencing a number of ventures in Sri Lanka, which would be of mutual benefit. His Excellence the President while welcoming the initiative stressed the importance of employment creation.

8. Meeting with Minister of Eric Solheim

A cordial discussion followed by a one-on-one meeting between His Excellence the President and Minister Solheim.

9. Meeting with groups of Sri Lankans

The discussion was co-chaired by His Excellency the President and Hon. Douglas Devananda and also attended by Mr. Rajasingham, Editor of the Asian Tribune.

The meeting was attended by two anti-LTTE Tamil Groups and one predominantly Sinhala Group. The discussion entailed a frank and cordial exchange of views on the issue of devolution, SLPA proposals, APRC as well as LTTE activities in Swiss society. PRUN explained the tasks and responsibilities of the mission in relation to and distinct from the expatriate community in Switzerland and agreed to assign a Junior Officer for liaison no sooner the MFA brings the cadre of the Mission up to normal level.

Annexure V

Iran

As a result of this trip a MOU regarding a number of Projects together worth 1.4 Million US Dollars were signed between Sri Lanka and Iran.

As regards purchase of Oil, Iran agreed to grant an instant credit facility (amounting to bout 700 Million US Dollars) with validity extending to Four months.

Signing of the MOU for the Uma-oya Multipurpose Project in Sri Lankan, by this multipurpose development project Irrigation facilities will be provided to an area of 5,00 H.A. in the dry zone of North Eastern Sri Lanka a Power Station will be constructed for generation of 100 Megawatts of Hydro Electricity. A financial assistance of 450 Million US Dollars will be made available towards this project. The Agreement on this assistance was signed on April 28 2008.

A MOU was signed between the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Islamic Republic of Iran on augmenting Oil Refining capacity of the Oil Refinery of Sri Lanka. Accordingly, an Agreement was signed on 23.08.2008 to expand the present oil refining capacity of the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery to twice the present level (that is to increase the present capacity of 50,000 barrels a day to 100,000 barrels a day). This agreement on expansion on production was signed on 23.08.2008 between Sri Lanka and Iran. An assistance of 750 Million US Dollars will be granted for this expansion project.

During the year 2007 a total trade turnover between Sri Lanka and Iran had increased to 902 Million US Dollars and this was the highest turnover recorded so far. In 2006, the trade turnover reported was 810.5 Million US Dollars. His Excellence the President’s visit to Iran has helped in achieving these results.

The Sri Lanka Investment and Trade Forum which was attended by over 150 Iranian businessmen of high standing who showed a great interest in investment opportunities in Sri Lanka was held on 26.11.2007 in Tehran.

On 27.11.2007 the Sri Lanka Trade delegation was provided the opportunity to meet and discuss with individual Iranian businessmen separately.

In addition to the benefits referred to above, during the visit the following MOU’s were entered into

  1. The Marine Trade Vessels Agreement between Sri Lanka and Iran;
  2. The bi-lateral Agreement between Sri Lanka and Iran regarding rights use of customs regulations and prevention of wrong use of customs regulations, mutual administration relating to investigation and prevention of offences.
  3. MOU between the Ministry of Mass Media of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Broadcasting Centre for Islamic Republic of Iran as regards Media Co-operation.
  4. MOU between the Sri Lanka Board of Investment and the Mostiafan Foundation of the Islamic Revolutionary Republic of Iran regarding provision of financial assistance and technical co-operation and facilities;
  5. MOU between Sri Lanka Commercial Industrial Board and the Iranian Commercial, Industrial Mines Board
  6. MOU between Sri Lanka National Commercial Board and the Iranian Commercial, Industrial and Mines Board.
  7. MOU between Mostiafan Foundation of Iran and the Sri Lanka Board of Investment regarding facilitation of financial and technical co-operation.


Annexure VI

Japan

The significant gains from this trip

  1. Business and Investment forum was held to project Sri Lanka’s favourable environment as a point for direct foreign investment with the attendance of 260 potential Japanese investors.
  2. Associated with the President’s visit were 45 Sri Lankan businessmen for whom one-to-one business meetings were arranged with their Japanese counterparts. (Cost of their airfare and hotel accommodation were borne by the business delegation)
  3. A MOU between the Ministry of Power and Energy and the Japan Bank of International Corporation (JBIC) was signed for the establishment of a LNG facility. Following the signing of this MOU, JBIC has extended the loan facility for Japanese Yen 820 Million to carry out the feasibility. At present the Ministry of Power and Energy is in the process of identifying a suitable consultant to undertake this feasibility.
  4. The Government of Japan stated that they would consider providing assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka towards capacity building of Local Government Authorities and towards Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
  5. It was also announced that Japan plans to invite 500 youth over the next 5 years form each of the three ethnic groups in the Eastern Province.
  6. The two sides agreed to establish a Public-Private Joint Forum aimed at discussing periodically the improvement to further promote Japanese Investment in Sri Lanka.
  7. Japanese Government also expressed their commitment towards continuing the extension of overseas development assistance to improve economic infrastructure.
  8. The Government of Japan announced a Grant of 1.9 Billion Yen for the year 2008.


Annexure VII

China


The significant gains from the trip

Visit of His Excellency the President to China to attend the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA)

  1. His Excellency the President, accompanied by a high level delegation comprising Hon. Rohita Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade, Secretary to the President and Senior Officials visited China to participate at the Boao Forum for Asia held from 10 – 12 April 2008 in the People’s Republic of China. The visit took place on an invitation extended to His Excellency the President by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
  2. The President had bi-lateral discussions with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the BFA. The two leaders then went on to review developments in Sri Lanka – China b-lateral relations, expressing satisfaction at the current status of such relations at all levels, including people-to-people contacts. They agreed to work together to push bi-lateral relations to even greater heights.
  3. The Chinese President agreed with his Sri Lankan counterpart that measures need to be taken to redress the balance of trade between the two countries which is heavily in China’s favour. President Rajapakse expressed Sri Lanka’s appreciation for Chinese assistance for project, in particular the Hambantota Harbour Project, the Norochalai Coal Power Plant Project, and the International Performing Arts Theatre, among others. He thanked China for the support consistently given for preserving Sri Lanka’s territorial unity and integrity. The two leaders emphasised their common opposition to the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism and the need for the International Community to deal united to overcome such evils.
  4. His Excellence the President addressed the Boao Forum in Asia. The other leaders who addressed the Conference were the Prime Minister of Australia, the King of Tongo, the President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister of Sweden, the President of Chile, the President of Kazakhstan and the President of Mongolia.
  5. The President also had a bi-lateral meeting with President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan on the sidelines of the BFA.


Annexure VIII

Italy

  1. His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa President of Sri Lanka undertook a visit to the Vatican from 19th  to 20th April 2007 for an audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI and to meet the Prime Minister of the Vatican.
  2. His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI received His Excellency the President on 20th April  2007.
  3. President Rajapakse was the first President of Sri Lanka to meet with the incumbent Pope. This visit was significant in keeping the Vatican briefed on the situation in Sri Lanka and the efforts of the Government to resolve the ongoing conflict.
  4. His Excellency the President met His Eminence the Cardinal Tarcisio Bertom, Secretary of State (Prime Minister) at the Vatican on 20th April 2007.
  5. The President briefed the Vatican Prime Minister on the Government’s commitment for negotiated settlement. A briefing on the terrorist activities of the LTTE, including attempted assassination of the Army Commander was also provided.
  6. The visit was instrumental in further strengthening bi-lateral relations between the Vatican and Sri Lanka. It also helped to keep the Vatican briefed on concerns relating to religious tolerance and the peaceful co-existence of the various sections of Sri Lanka’s multicultural society.
  7. The Vatican was also briefed on the Government’s policy to consider the people who live in the north and east as Sri Lankan citizens who have right to equal opportunities, despite any differences, religious, ethnic or otherwise. These instructions helped to address various misconceptions that had reached the Vatican administration effectively and to keep them abreast of the factual situation in Sri Lanka.


(c)    If not, why?

Does not arise


2.    0018/’09
Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Administration and Deputy Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order – 

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the total amount of aid, grants and pledges given to Sri Lanka by Iran along with the interest rates applicable, from the year 2004 to date on yearly basis;

Answer:

i. A loan of 450,000,000 US Dollars has been received for Uma Oya Hydro Electric and Irrigation Project at LIBOR per annum on 28.04.2008.

ii. The Government of Iran has agreed to provide a loan of around US Dollars 1200 Million for the Sapugaskanda Oil Refinery Expansion and Modernisation Project. Loan Agreement has not been signed as yet.

iii. The Government of Iran, following the visit of His Excellency the President of Sri Lanka to the I.T. of Iran in November 2007, agreed to grant a four month interest free credit facility for Sri Lanka’s purchase of Oil form Iran. In line with His Excellency the President’s visit, an Agreement was entered into between the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) of Iran for the four month interest free Credit Facility, with a ceiling of US Dollars 700 Million, becoming operational from December 2007 (In October 2008, the CPC obtained an additional three months Credit Facility on Commercial Terms though Naftiran Intertrade Company (NICO) Limited.



(ii) whether there is any other specific assistance given for Sri Lanka;

Answer:

The relevant institutions have not informed of any special grants given to Sri Lanka.

(iii) if so, the date and amount?

Answer:

Does not arise

(b) Will he state what Sri Lanka has offered to Iran in return from the year 2004 to date on yearly basis?

Answer:

The relevant institutions have not informed of any annual grants given to the Republic of Iran by Sri Lanka.

(c) Will he state whether we have sold any item to Iran which are against the United Nations resolutions imposed on them?

Answer:

According to the export trade details, Sri Lanka does not export any items to Iran, violating the UN Resolution on Iran.

(d) Will he also state the balance of payments between Iran and Sri Lanka at the end of each year from the year 2001 to date?

Answer:

Year    Export    Import    Balance of Trade
2001      29.5       233.2    -    203.7
2002      35.1       183.8    -    148.7
2003      35.2       249.5    -    214.3
2004      57.9       460.8    -    402.9
2005      74.2       499.3    -    425.1
2006      84.1       726.4    -    642.3
2007    117.2       784.9    -    667.7
2008    154.8    1,201.2    - 1,046.6


(e)    If not, why?

Answer:

Does not arise.

Note on Background Information:
On 27th November 2007 during the State visit of the President of Sri Lanka to the Republic of Iran, two MOU’s were signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and Iran in terms of which Iran pledged to grant:

a.  A loan not exceeding 85% of the sum of US Dollars 450 Million, being the  estimated cost of constructing the Uma Oya Hydropower and Irrigation Project with a grace period of 5 years to  10 years repayment period thereafter.

b.  80% of the Project cost for upgrading the existing (Sapugaskanda) Oil Refinery of the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation and expanding the Oil Refinery capacity of the said refinery from 50,000 (ppd) to 100,000 (bpd) to be financed by the National Iranian Oil Refinery and Distribution Company (NIORDC) of the Government of Iran and the Export Development Bank of Iran (EDB) on the basis of a EPC Contract and Finance Agreement to be finalised.


3.    0021/’09
Hon Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Healthcare and Nutrition –

(a)    Will he inform this House on yearly basis for the last 04 years to date, the total cost of each hired vehicles to the Ministry and for any company, owned by the Ministry and the total cost spent on hired or rented office space?

(b)    Will he state for the above period –

(i)    the cost of fuel of the above usage and the same as a percentage of the total recurrent cost of the Ministry; and

(ii)    the cost per square foot for the above rented office space?

(c)    Will he inform this House the period that the building has been taken for on lease along with the advance paid as a deposit?

(d)    If not, why?

Oral Questions - Thursday 11th June 2009

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QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS

To be raised by the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake when

Parliament meets on Thursday 11th June 2009

1. 0007/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – to ask the Minister of Export Development and International Trade

(a) Will he inform this House –

(i) the number of overseas trips that the Minister of Export Development and International Trade had undertaken for the last three years;

(ii) the countries visited; and

(iii) the total cost of each trip along with the tickets and hotel charges separately;

(b) Will he state –

(i) the number of persons accompanied;

(ii) their names and the cost incurred on them separately; and

(iii) the main reason for each overseas trip?

(c) Will he also state –

(i) the budgeted allowance; and

(ii) the supplementary expenditure provided for such trips?

(d) If not, why?

The Chief Government Whip requested for 03 months to table answers to the above questions.

2. 0008/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Tourism –

(a) Will he inform this House –

(i) the number of overseas trips that the Minister of Tourism had undertaken for the last three years;

(ii) the countries visited; and

(iii) the total cost of each trip along with the tickets and hotel charges separately;

(b) Will he state –

(i) the number of persons accompanied;

(ii) their names and the cost incurred on them separately; and

(iii) the main reason for each overseas trip?

(c) Will he also state –

(i) the budgeted allowance; and

(ii) the supplementary expenditure provided for such trips?

(d) If not, why?

The Chief Government Whip requested for 01 month to table answers to the above questions.

3. 0009/’09

Hon Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Irrigation and Water Management and Minister of Ports and Aviation –

(a) Will he inform this House –

(i) the number of dry lease and wet lease aircrafts being used by Mihin Air;

(ii) whether they were selected through a tender process;

(iii) if so, names of the companies quoted and the selection process; and

(iv) the person who decided that?

(b) Will he state –

(i) the cost being charged per month from dry or wet lease basis;

(ii) whether the interviews were held;

(iii) the Panel and their recommendation for the final selection approved by the auditors;

(iv) the number of staff members, working;

(v) their salary scales and the impact to the company, per month basis;

(vi) the accounts of the Mihin Air to-date;

(vii) the date and the amount transferred to Mihin Air from the Government;

(viii) the Head that the money transferred from and the date that the Parliament approved the payment; and

(ix) the Head under which, the Mihin Air got the allocation of funds in the years 2006 and 2007 through the Appropriation Acts?

(c) Will he submit to this House the names of the key officers of the Treasury and Mihin Air, who were involved in Mihin Air Limited financial transactions?

(d) Will he admit that the money has not been legally allocated and therefore all the officers are subjected to misuse of public funds?

(e) If not, why?

The Chief Government Whip requested for 01 month to table answers to the above question

Oral Questions - Tuesday 9th June 2009

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QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS


To be raised by the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake when Parliament meets on 9th June 2009

1.      0001/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake to ask the Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Administration and Deputy Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order –

(a)     Will he inform this House the action taken on COPE reports presented by former Chairmen Hon. John Amaratunga, Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Hon. Rohita Bogallagama and the report presented by Hon. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe on the 12th January 2007?

Answer:

Matters arising out of the COPE reports presented by its former Chairman, Hon. John Amaratunga, Hon. Jeyaraj Fernandopulle and Hon. Rohita Bogollagama have been referred to the relevant Ministries for scrutiny and necessary action.

The report presented to Parliament by the COPE on 12th January 2007 has been submitted to His Excellency the President for information and necessary action.

A Committee consisting of Presidential Advisors has been appointed on the direction of His Excellency the President to look into the action that has been taken by the relevant Public Enterprises with regard to the matters referred to in the said report  and the steps that have been taken by the said Institutions to prevent recurrence of such situations.

This Committee is currently engaged in examining Secretaries to relevant Ministries. Accounting Officers and other key Officials charged with responsibility of running the Institutions concerned. This Committee has been collecting date needed and also advising them on what steps should be taken to prevent recurrence of such situations.

(b)     Will he state –

(i)  the action taken on the report dated 20th July 2006, submitted by Mr. Mayadunne, the former Auditor-General and the Report No. PS12 submitted by Hon. Rauff Hakeem, Chairman PAC on 29th November 2007;

Answer:

1. Subsequent to the release of interim report, in relation to the special project auditing on public tax revenue management, submitted by Public Accounting Committee, following 3 Committees were appointed in order to take further action for maters mentioned therein, activities carried out based on the recommendation of those Committees and the further activities are mentioned below.

i.          Committee on arrears of Revenue (for Audit Para 3.7)

ii.          Committee on Reliability of Data (for Audit Para 3.8)

iii.         Committee for Collection of VAT Rs. 271.25 Billion

(for Audit Para 4.7)

2. Accordingly legal recommendation made for the VAT Act No. 14 of 2007 is as follows:

i. Restriction of arising refunds, Restriction of input tax for businesses for 85% from output tax except for exporters (zero supplies) and new businesses (during project period)

ii. Make refunds in 15 days for those submit Bank Guarantee and to extend refunds up to 45 days for others.

iii. Legal deferment of VAT charged by exporter when importing (not to make financial payment when refunding)

iv. Steps have been taken to make required amendments to differ import VAT for capital assets imported to start new business.

v. To bring the institution registered in Textile Quota Board (TQB) and Export Development Board (EDB) and the institution making supplies to exporters under tax suspension systems for VAT for their supplies. Restricting tax refund through deferment of such imports when importing by the registered institution.

vi. Restriction of tax liability entitlement for inputs to the standard rate (15%) even if goods have been purchased under specific rates (20%) when making purchases locally or all inputs.

In addition to this, actions taken in respect of each Para of the report PS12 based on the recommendations of above Committee are as follow.

3. Arrears of Revenue (Audit Para 3.7 Chapter 2)

4.1.5     Steps taken with regard to the recommendations and conclusion made by the Committee in relation for the non submission of financial statements within the specific period.

i. More staff has been engaged in the relevant division

ii. Action has been taken to feed computer data through hardware for the payments made by the Bank of Ceylon in order to avoid delays when obtaining reports, feeding each payment slip. Until all regional offices and divisions are computerised, to fix a date with the Auditor General and Chief Accounting Officer to submit the report in arrears of revenue.

iii. Preparation of a system for computing financial balance of arrears of taxes more speedily than the existing method.

4.2.5          Action already adopted and present position on the recommendation and conclusions regarding reasons identified by the Committee in respect of continuous increase arrears of taxes.

i. Action were taken at the end of 2006 and 2007 to rectify arrears of taxes as far as possible after studying arrears files and taking the taxes in question and fines separately.

ii. A new circular was issued on 08.10.2008 related to the procedure on appeals containing instruction required for maintaining necessary documents after studying the matters mentioned in the appeal and identifying the taxes to be changed and to suspend other taxes.

iii. A Circular was issued on 18.01.2008 in order to minimise the issue of assessments which is issued with doubtful tax liability assuming as a reason for arrears of taxes and with shortcomings. Taking into account the shortcomings caused at the implementation of that circular, a methodology was prepared to issue VAT assessment notices referring to the assessment unit for recheck and without issuing them directly from the Computer Division. Before using an assessment for tax reported but not paid, instruction were given to Assessors to discuss with the tax payer to recover the tax and to take action to issue assessment if the tax payer not agreeing.

iv.Introduction of time bar regarding recovery of taxes and issue of assessment for outstanding taxes speedily through amendments made to the time bar for issue of assessments.

v.Decisions could be arrived at for many appeals accumulated in the Board of Review for trial, due to expansion of Board Review.

4.3.5     Procedures already adopted regarding recommendation and conclusion made in respect of the lethargic attitude towards collection of Goods and Services Tax.

i. Accordingly, in addition to the steps adopted in respect of arrears of revenue, a special unit for recovery of arrears of taxes has been established under a Deputy Commissioner and it is supervised by a Commissioner (Recovery)

4.4.4  Procedures already adopted regarding recommendations and conclusion made in respect of accumulation of arrears / default VAT Tax largely.

Reference answer given for 4.2.5

4.5.5. The procedure already adopted regarding recommendations and conclusions made in respect of not agreeing amount indicated in the arrears of tax statements by the Inland Revenue Department with the corresponding values published by other institutions.

i. A Committee on dishonoured cheques has been appointed with necessary instructions for non-examination of the correctness of the balance of the dishonoured cheques of the returns sent to the collection branch from the various divisions for computation of arrears of revenue.

ii. Action has been already taken to make necessary reconciliations to eliminate the discrepancies.

4.         Reliability of Data (Audit Para 3.8 Chapter 3)

Actions have been with regard to the observations and conclusions of the Committee regarding the reliability of data. Following proposals of the Committee appointed for this purpose have been implemented.

i. It has been specially proposed to make it mandatory to produce the following document to prevent the opening of VAT files which are non-existing in the Interim Report.

ii. Business Registration Certificate

iii. A copy of the National Identity Card or a copy of the Passport      

iv. In addition to the Company Registration Certificate, the Memorandum of Articles, Form 1 and 2A inclusive of information of Directors.

v. Commercial Invoice

A part from these measures, a set of proposals has been submitted for the sake of issuing revenue reports, receiving reports, editing reports, classifying reports and providing DLN, regulation the activities of the Computer Unit and storing the documents in an orderly manner by making out the shortcomings of the prevailing system.

5. Discrepancies in the Accounts / Registers relating to the computation of Tax Revenue (Audit Para 3.9 of Chapter 4)

Actions have been taken with respect to the recommendations and conclusions made by the Committee regarding the discrepancies in the Accounts / Registers in computation of Tax Revenue.

i. Reconciliation the payments of the Computer Unit by using Gen. 75 Form

ii. While the data available in the monthly progress reports are collected, the reports are compiled by reconciling them resulting these defects to become minimise.

6. Non-collection of Taxes on Assessments on Value Added Tax issued by the Department at 31st March 2006 – Rs. 271.0 Billion (Audit Para 4.7 of Chapter 5)

Action taken in respect of the recommendations and conclusions made by the Committee, regarding the non-recovery of VAT amounting to Rs. 271.254 Billion an assessment notes to 31st March 2006.

i.In the registration for VAT, the officers should inspect their taxable activity and in the registration of an exporter, he should have exported at least on three occasions.

ii.Regarding the assessment issued in reopen of VAT cases have already been filed in courts and further action on these cases is handled by the Recoveries Division.

iii.Officers have been instructed to observe administrative shortcomings and vague rules and regulations and to prepare new instructions and procedure to be followed.

iv. To assign all the officers attached to the VAT branches with the Duty List in writing.

v. Officers of relevant Units have been delegated with powers of Commissioner General in writing to be exercised when and where necessary.

vi.The following facilities have been provided for the sake of regularising the Assessments on VAT and Refunds thereof and for internal control.

(a) Formulation of strategies to regularise the transfer of files in VAT Units and other Units of the Department.

(b) Re-organisation of the VAT Refunds Unit, appointing four Deputy Commissioners and supervision of the work be deciding duties. In addition to this a Committee comprising three Commissioners has been appointed to decide on Refunds exceeding Rs. 5.0 Million and to grant approval thereby expediting the Refund activities.

(c) Further new instructions and procedures have been formulated and the officers have been provided with instructions having observed the ambiguity of certain rules, regulations and the shortcomings in the VAT Unit. A service of instruction has already been issued and its consequences are being monitored.

7. Test Check on the refund of Value Added Tax amounting to Rs. 3.6 Billion (Audit Para 4.8 of Chapter 6)

Action taken in respect of the recommendation and conclusion made by the Committee regarding the test check for the refund for VAT amounting to Rs. 3.6 Billion.

i. To develop a methodology for the documentation of every document received by the Computer Unit and send back the finalised documents, as a remedial measure to eliminate the granting priority for some returns and other documents disclosed at the study of the procedures in connection with the Data Processing Unit and the Computer Development Unit.

8. Questionable payment of Rs. 114.6 Million as refund as Goods and Services Tax (Audit Para 4.9 of Chapter 7)

Action taken with regard to the recommendations and conclusion made by the Committee regarding the Questionable payment of Rs. 114.6 Million as refund of Goods and Services Tax.

i. Conducting of preliminary investigation with regard to the frauds.

ii. Identification of possible circumstances for such frauds or improper activities and to propose the preventive measures.

9. Action taken in relation to the recommendations and conclusions made by the Committee in Chapter 1.

i. Making arrangements to expedite the answering of Audit queries with the allocation of more staff for the Assessment Control Unit and with the establishment of the Internal Accounts Unit hereby upgrading the Internal Control states.

ii. Taking into consideration the facts revealed at the investigations in relation to VAT and fraudulent actions, a separate branch for Post Auditing on refunds was established and to refer them with special targets for post auditing of refunds among other units too and to implement the activities of these units under the supervision of a separate Commissioner.

iii. Take action to establish a Special Collection Unit parallel to the Budget Proposals made with regard to outstanding tax and carry out the deduction of outstanding tax and collection with specific targets.

iv. Giving all the officers a revised duty list, recruitment of staff and training are important activities among other activities, which have been already commenced. Steps have been taken to increase the number of officers hereby strengthening that Unit.

v. Giving all the Officers duty lists.

vi. Delegation of powers to Officers to be exercised in their activities.

vii. the Institutions investigated as per above;

Answer:

Investigated institutions done by the Inland Revenue Department.

i. Private Companies

i. Inimag Apparels (Pvt) Ltd.                               -           114214833       
ii. Inimag Kandy (Pvt) Ltd.                                  -           114274224
iii. World Gate Apparel (Pvt) Ltd.                         -           114216623       
iv. World Gate Euro Apparel (Pvt) Ltd.                 -           114231630
v. South Lanka Garment Industries (Pvt) Ltd.        -           114243531
vi. Lotus Apparel (Pvt) Ltd.                                 -           114200115
vii. Upali Garment (Pvt) Ltd.                                 -           114092908
viii. Lotus Garments (Pvt) Ltd.                              -           114168467
ix.  Lord and Taylor (Pvt) Ltd.                               -           114190870
x.  Kanbro International (Pvt) Ltd.                         -           114075612
xi. Minipe Garments (Pvt) Ltd.                               -           114171417

The action taken:

  • Passports are prohibited of the Directors of two institutions
  • Notices have been issued for acquiring properties of institutions of default arrears of Value Added Tax
  • Reports have been sent to Colombo District Courts to acquire VAT Arrears.

ii.          Partnerships     

i.          Pro Garments                                                    -           409162070
ii.          Lanka Universal Garments Exports                      -           409027687       
iii.         Lotus Garments                                                 -           409103111
iv.         Euro Clothing                                                     -           409167632
v.          Uni Line Apparels                                               -           409166164
vi.         Kohb Apparels                                                   -           409162517
vii.        Creative Apparel                                                -           409002633

The action taken:

File Court Cases to acquire Tax arrears.

iii.         Individuals

i.          Creations Apparels (Ali M.S.L.)                           -           740105060
ii.          Abdul Kareem SL (Polytex Apparels)                   -           620844691

The actions taken:

File Court Cases to acquire Tax arrears

(iii)         the action that has been initiated with the directions of the Committee Report?

Answer:

In relation to Arrears of Revenue (Audit Para 3.7 of Chapter 2)

4.1.5  Future activities with regard to the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee in relation to the non-submission of financial statements within the specified time frame.

i. Though it is not in the due date, when comparing with the previous years, the delay of the submission of returns has been eliminated and mid year returns on outstanding tax have been already prepared to submit for the Auditor General. Further, a programme for the preparation of outstanding tax monthly has been implemented in Regional Offices and City Offices.

ii. Arrangements have been made by the Committee to build up a methodology to be implemented for the Units where the preparations of these monthly reports have been computerised.

4.2.5     Action regarding the recommendations made and the decisions taken on the reasons identified by the Committee regarding the continuous increase in tax arrears.

Settlement of Tax Arrears (Special Provision) Act to deal with Tax arrears of the Inland Revenue Department as at 31.12.2007 has already been drafted by the Legal Draftsman and recommendations of the Attorney General have been obtained and action has been taken to submit if for Cabinet approval and eventual approval of the Parliament.

According to the proposed provisions of the Act, it has been proposed:

  • To create a separate Division in the Department of Inland Revenue under a Deputy Commissioner of Inland Revenue to take action regarding all Tax Arrears as at 31.12.2007.
  • To appoint a Board of Supervision under a retired High / Supreme Court Judge to take a final decision on Tax Arrears.
  • Course of action proposed by the said Act for the recovery of outstanding Tax Arrears.
  • To consider to write-off arrears of government institutes whose taxes have to be paid from financial provisions received from the Treasury.
  • To make the Commissioner General of Inland Revenue personally responsible for the maintenance of Tax Arrears of a particular year in keeping with the Tax Revenue collected by the Department of Inland Revenue during the preceding years.
  • Opportunity has been afforded to the Cabinet of Ministers to decide on the maintenance of the level of Tax Arrears as mentioned above.

Accordingly, it will be possible to take a quick final decision regarding the existing tax arrears in the Department of Inland Revenue and to limit the increase in Tax Arrears in the future.

4.3.5     Future actions with regard to the recommendations and conclusions made by the Committee in relation to the slow functioning of collection of Goods and Services Tax.

i. Monitoring of the duties of the Officers to make sure whether they have fulfilled their duties in accordance with their duty lists.

ii.In addition to this, arrangements are being made to take the initiative such as updating the prevailing procedure relating to Units dealing with outstanding taxes and formulating a Special Collection procedure for the Computerised Units.

4.4.4     Future activities with regard to the recommendation and conclusion made by the Committee in relation to the accumulation of arrears/default VAT Tax largely.

i. It has been determined that a methodology is essential to obtain data according to the due date and the manner of submitting the reports on outstanding taxes. Accordingly, actions will be taken in future to develop a methodology through the newly recruited Computer Consultant.

4.5.5     Future actions with regard to the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee in relation to the non-reconciliation of the amounts declared in the statement on outstanding taxes by the Department of Inland Revenue and the Revenue Data declared by other institutes.
i. Facility to obtain online information from the Customs.
ii. Online facility to obtain Export Development Board Data (EDB)
iii. Online facility to obtain Textile Quota Board (TQB) data.

 

4. Reliability of Data (Audit Para 3.8 – Chapter 3)

Future actions have been taken in relation to the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee regarding the reliability of data.

i. Many steps have been taken to confirm on the reliability of data. Action is being taken by studying the procedure currently adopted for the purpose to examine its accuracy.

5. Discrepancies in Accounts / Registers relating to the Computation of Tax Revenue (Audit Para 3.9, Chapter 4)

i. It has been proposed to formulate a proper, permanent and timely process in relation to transfer of file, opening and cancelling of files with a view to eliminate these defects, and it has been further proposed to study whether they are implemented as such and to conduct annual census of file records.

6. Non-collecting of Taxes on Assessments on Value Added Tax issued by the Department as at 31st March 2006 – Rs. 271.254 Billion (Audit Para 4.7, Chapter 5)

Further action has been taken with regard to the recommendations and conclusions made by the Committee in relation for the non-collection of Rs. 271.254 Billion, based on assessment notices on VAT dated 31st March 006.

i. Legal action has been already taken and necessary arrangements are being made in that regard

7. Test Check on the Refund of Value Added Tax amounting to Rs. 3.6 Billion (Audit Para 4.8, Chapter 6)

Future action with regard to the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee in relation to the Test Check on refund of Rs. 3.6 Billion of VAT.

i. Study of the procedures and formats in relation to the provision of TIN Numbers and registration for VAT. When a new file is opened, all the particulars relating to the file concerned at the time of opening the file or within a period of a month from that date about the particulars of the Head Office, Factories and other Units should be obtained through a spot check. Similarly the Tax Payers” Registration Form should be improved.

ii. Subsequent to the refunds made within 15 days during the VAT Refund process from issuing the Returns to the issuing of refunds instruction note, it is mandatory to conduct an Audit before the next refund. Compulsory auditing of the files for every 6 months where large refunds are made, opening of permanent files for refunds and facilitation for field experiments where necessary are proposed remedies.

iii. Study about the process in relation to the Data Processing Unit and Computer Development Unit.

iv. Formulation of Computer reconciliation procedure taking the sum manually according to the batch method to verify the accuracy of the computerised data on returns.

8. Questionable Payment of. Rs. 114.6 Million as refund of Goods and Services (Audit Para 4.9, chapter 7)

Future actions have been taken with regard to .the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee in relation to the refund of Rs. 114.6 Million of Goods and Services tax subject to Questionable.

i. The Committee has mainly focused on identifying circumstances leading to such things and proposing remedial measures. Accordingly, it has been decided to appoint sub-committees under the following fields in that regard and to investigate report and make arrangements about such matters.

ii. Study about the process and formats in relation to the Tax Payer identification Number (TIN) and Registration for VAT.

iii. Study the process from issuing of returns to issuing of refund instruction note in the process of VAT refund.

iv. Study the formats and process that link the Data Processing Unit and the Computer Unit.

9. Future actions have been taken with regard to the recommendation and conclusions made by the Committee in Chapter I

i.It is necessary to define the functions and the duties of each officer clearly and to attach sufficient staff.

ii.To find out the fact regarding the determination of a suitable criteria to monitor the performance of the officers in each Unit

iii.Discussions are being now conducted in relation to the determination of suitable criteria to measure the performance of the officers in each unit.

9.2        To establish and maintain reliable accurate Broad Management Information System enabling to maintain co-ordination among the institutions which have engaged in Public Tax Management. Maintaining a secured data sub-system to eliminate the risk of deletion of data, unauthorized use of data within the system and to avoid the access into the data base with unauthorized continuous monitoring power. Following actions will be taken in this regard.

i. It is expected to establish a Reliable and Accurate Management   information System (RAMIS) enabling to maintain co-ordination between the institutions which have engaged in public tax management.

ii. Certain steps have been taken with regard to other facts and the functions relating to the maintenance of sub-data system will be accomplished during this year.

iii. To conduct Public Seminars targeting the tax payers in district levels. (Special television programmes were telecast and other programmes were implemented parallel to the 75th Anniversary of the Department).

iv. Simplification of tax process – steps would be taken to simplify the Returns on Income Tax and instruction leaflets will be issued. Similarly a VAT manual had been issued in English in year 2008 and the Sinhala version will be issued within the year 2009.

v. Similarly assessment units were assigned the tasks of providing consultant services during Year 2008 having visited the business organisations of tax payers.

vi. Further, it is expected during year 2009 to issue updated special instruction leaflets for the employer in relation to PAYE, to issue instruction leaflets in respect of returns on PAYE and to formalize the PAYE tables.

9.7  Keeping the Internal Audit activities strengthened, reviewing the progress and performance of each unit from time to time and make necessary rectification.

i. Action has been taken to decentralize the post audits conducted on refunds made under bank guarantees and the Commissioner (VAT) will be held responsible for all such activities.

ii. Establishment of a Special VAT Audit Unit.

iii. Post audits on refunds made to institutions registered under the EDB to be carried out under a separate Deputy Commissioner.

iv. In case when there is any doubt with regard to refunds for new projects / new business, such business will be subject to field inspection.

v. Appointing a separate Commissioner to supervise all VAT refunds and post duties.

9.8 Formulation of a methodology to confirm whether the VAT refunds have been received by the preview institution. A suitable Committee has been appointed to formulate a methodology to study the weaknesses caused in VAT refund process deeply and to uplift it again. Accordingly, following proposals have been made and steps will be taken to implement them in the future registration of VAT.

i. Making in mandatory to produce documents proving the existence of the business, in addition to the documents required for the registration.

ii. Especially, in the case of exporters (zero rated supplied) it has been made mandatory for them to make three (03) exports and to apply for registration then only, and to confirm such exports. Such supplies are verified by examining through the Computer Date or Bank Remittances, prior to such registration.

iii. Registration on account of a new business/project under section 22(7) of the VAT Act shall be approved by the Commissioner (VAT) himself and making in mandatory to conduct a field inspection before registration and include the inspection report in the file.

9.9 Issuing of Returns

i.Increasing the number of Officers and taking steps to strengthen the limit.

ii. In issuing written instructions with regard to the responsibilities assigned for the assessor in relation to VAT refund and each Commissioner concerned.

iii.In the case of every refund exceeding Rs. 5.0 Million, making it mandatory to issue instructions to the effect that such payment of VAT refund shall necessarily be approved by a Committee comprising of three Commissioners.

iv Join with the Department of Customs directly when obtaining information relating to imports and exports and feeding relevant data to Computer network.

v. Making it mandatory to balance the Computer data with the Department of Customs when making payment to exporters

vi. In the case of Refund, relating to the registered person (other than zero rated supplies) it shall become the entire responsibility of the Deputy Commissioner of the relevant Unit where those files are maintained. The identity of the Officer concerned is necessary for the documents relating to the refunds and documents would be stored under entire supervision of the Deputy Commissioner.

vii. In the case of first payment of any VAT Refund, making it mandatory to effect such refund subsequent to a full Audit (including Field Audit).

viii.       For the purpose of obtaining information on the institutions registered as indirect exporters with the TQB and EDB, they have been directly connected to the computers. Refunds to be made only after confirmation and scrutinisation of relevant documents.

9.10      Develop an Information Network required for Tax Management

i.Steps are being taken in this regard by the Financial Management Reform Project. Arrangements have been made to develop a new system as Revenue Administration Management Information System (RAMIS) thereby enabling to build up a relationship among all the Departments / Institutions.

9.11      These information should be developed so that they are reliable reasonable and accurate as far as possible covering each area and they should be constantly updated securing the validity of the information. Every field required for the management of that information network should be covered and there should be a possibility of confirming the validity and accuracy of them. Following steps have been taken in that regard.

i. Initiatives have been taken by the Financial Management Project for the Local Asia Network / Wide Asia Network in the Department. In addition to that, arrangements have been made to increase the capacity of the prevailing Computer System.

ii.Steps have been taken to confirm the accuracy of data at the time of entering the data into the Computer and entering the data into the System respectively, through original verification and key verification.

9.12      While the information network so developed can be used to assist management decisions, should make sure to use it for management decisions indeed. The steps taken in this regard are as follows.

i. While the Financial Management Project has already called tenders from suitable people to establish the Local Area Network, arrangements are being made to offer the tender accordingly.

9.13      It has become necessary to introduce a protective methodology to disclose and prevent the improper deformation, and erasing out of Computer Data. Following steps have been taken in this regard.

i.It has been mandatory to use source documents to feed the data into the Computer. Data stated in the documents produced by the tax payer or data appearing in the documents certified by the relevant Unit should only be entered into the Computer.

ii.Take action to keep every computerised document under document location number for later use.


9.14      Scientific information technologies should be used with safety measures so that the information can be exchanged and compared between and within the main institutions dealing with Tax Management in a secured manner.

i.It is expected to exchange information between the main institutions dealing with the Tax Management through the establishment of Revenue Administrative Management Information System, which has been already designed.

9.15      While an integrated plan covering the entire structure on Tax should be handled by a centralised organisation, systems and administration methodologies should enable an efficient and effective functioning of Tax Management.

i. Systems and administration methodology which can manage the tax structure through an integrated plan is expected by the introduction of Revenue Administration Management Information System.

9.16      With the proper identification of the necessity of the coverage for the secrecy, the parts which do not require the secrecy can be dealt with a transparent and open manner.

i.          It is implemented in terms of the sections disclosed in Tax Acts. It will act with transparency as far as possible regarding common facts.

9.17      It is suitable to subject the decisions taken at that time of determining, collection and refund of tax into suitable internal control method. It should be taken into account that the suitability for none of the Officers or several Officers to grant the extreme discretionary power without internal control.
i.          It is expected to make relevant alterations with regard to the procedures taking into consideration the recommendations of the appointed Committee.

9.18.     While the instructions issued in relation to the determination of tax should be clear and simple, it is suitable to publish them so that the Officer as well as the Public can easily understand them.

i .          Maximum efforts have been made in this regard concerning about the possibility of making wrong definitions when presenting simple explanations regarding legal provisions.

9.19      Development of a methodology to take follow-up monitoring regarding the irregularities in the determination of tax.

Attention has been referred to improve Assessment Control Section and increase the Staff of this Section in due course.

9.20      Internal Audit should be strengthened. While it should allow to take action within the field relating to the Internal Audit fearlessly and without any restriction, requirements such as necessary technical and professional knowledge and the infrastructural facilities should be provided to carry out the functions.

i.          In addition to the Special Units in each Government Institution in charge of the Management of Internal Auditing, the suitability of having a special Internal Audit Branch under the Ministry is also being taken into consideration.

9.20      To cover up such important areas by the proposed Internal Auditing which cover the whole Public Sector under His Excellency the President, who is holding the responsibility of the whole Executive, is very effective action.

i.          Further facilitation and implementation of recommended matter n relation to the recommended points specified under above 7.19, 7.20 and 7.21 will be carried out in due course.

ii.          Arrangements have been made to prove the identity of the Officer computerising the data in returns.

3.      0002/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask Minister of Finance and Planning –

(a)     Will he inform this House –

(i)            when was the Lankaputhra Bank incorporated and its capital;

Answer:

Lankaputhra Development Bank Limited was incorporated as a Public Limited Liability Company on 24th February 2006.

Initial Capital of the Bank was Rs. 1.5 Billion contributed by the Treasury / Ministry of Finance. The Capital of the Bank has been increased to RS. 3.6 Billion as at 31.12.2008/

(ii)          whether it has been invested by Non-banking Institutions;

Answer:

No.

(iii)         if so, the ordinary shares, preference shares and the debentures separately;

Answer:

No.

(iv)         the accounts to date from the inception;

Answer:

Audited Financial Statements of the Bank for the period ended 31.12.2006 and for the years ended 31.12.2007 and 31.12.2008 were tabled.

(v)           the names of the staff members working there at present; and

Answer:

Details were tabled.

(vi)         the names of the top 05 Staff members along with their emoluments and total perks given to them on per month basis?

Answer:

Relevant details were tabled.


(b)     Will he state –

(i)            the interest rates prevailing at this time;


Answer:

Relevant details were tabled.

(ii)          the percentages of loans given along with the interest rates?

Answer:

Relevant details were tabled.

(c)     If not, why?

Answer:

Does not arise


3.      0003/’09

Hon Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Mass Media and Information and Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion –

(a)     Will he inform this House –



(i)            the number of TV stations that are in operation in the country;



(ii)          the number of licences issued to operate TV Stations that have still not come into operation; and



(iii)         the frequencies of their telecasting TV Station?



(b)     If he aware that the Government had introduced taxes to discourage the foreign TV films flowing to the country with the intention of assisting the local film industry?



(c)     Will he state –



(i)            whether it has achieved its objective;



(ii)          if so, where and how these benefits have been obtained, and



(iii)         the amount that has been paid by each TV Station per month since the tax was imposed to date?



(d)     Will he also state –



(i)            the other taxes that have been imposed on these TV Stations; and



(ii)          the amount earned by the Government for the last 12 months separately?



(e)     If not, why?




Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 06:12

Oral Questions - Wednesday 10th June 2009

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QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWERS

To be raised by the Hon. Ravi Karunanayake when
Parliament meets on Wednesday 10th June 2009



1.    0004/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake to ask the Prime Minister, Minister of Internal Administration and Deputy Minister of Defence, Public Security, Law and Order –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    The corroborative evidence for the action that has been taken on COPE report presented on 12th January 2007;

Answer:


With regard to the implementation of the COPE recommendations of the COPE report dated 12th January, 2007, the Government has taken following measures.

(1)    Policy and Supervisory capacity initiatives
(2)    Institutions specific actions

Policy and Supervisory capacity initiatives

The Government at various levels has taken several supervisory and monitoring level initiatives and directed the specific institution to implement COPE recommendations. These initiatives include
(1)    His.Excellency the President appointed a committee chaired by Hon. Lakshman Jayakody, Senior Advisor to the His Excellency the President to monitor the progress of the implementation of the COPE l recommendations on Public Enterprises and to report H.E. the ' President on any further actions to be taken. This committee has monitored the progress and made recommendations for further actions. Annex 01, presents recommendations of this committee for each Public Enterprise.
(2)    Secretary to the President issued the Circular No.CSA/1/COPE 30th of March 2007 and drew the attention of all the Secretaries to the article 52(2) of the Constitution which provides the responsibilities to ' the Secretaries to supervise public enterprises for the implementation of COPE recommendations (Annex 02).
(3)    As directed by His Excellency the President the Secretary to the President by his letter No.CSA/1/COPE dated 30th March 2007 directed the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Planning to submit a report on
-     actions taken to implement the COPE recommendations and reasons for the lapses (Annex 03).
(4)    The Secretary Ministry of Finance and Planning issued a circular to all the Heads of Institutions under his Ministry directed to take immediate measures on COPE recommendation (Annex 04)
(5)     Secretary, Ministry of Finance and Planning established a special monitoring unit to regularly and constantly review the issues and request the Boards and CEOs to send a report on the findings of recommendations having regard to Best Practices. (Annex 05).
(6)    The Secretary to the Treasury appointed a Financial Sector Monitoring Committee consisting of representatives from Central Bank, SEMA and Ministry of Finance and Planning to closely monitor and supervise the activities of the institutions coming under the purview of the Ministry of Finance and Planning. (Annex 06)
(7)    Conducting regular meetings by Secretary to the Treasury and the Financial Sector Monitoring Committee the Chairmen and CEOs of the Institutions attached to the Ministry of Finance and planning to review matters related to them. (From inception 22 meetings were held by this unit to review and monitor the performance in the Banking and Financial Institutions (Annex 07)
(8)    Secretary to the Treasury has sent the letters to all the institutions under the Ministry of Finance and Planning to take corrective measures on the report of the COPE (Annex 08)
(9)    The Director General of the Department of Public Enterprises requested all the Heads of Institutions individually to take actions on the COPE Report and directed them to take corrective actions to overcome the short comings pointed out by the COPE and report the progress. (Annex 09)
Specific actions taken by respective Institutions



Central Bank

COPE Finding / Coorrective Actions / Explanations

1.   Illegal Functioning of finance companies and non functioning of 80% of registered finance companies.

  • The proposed amendments to the finance companies Act with regard to this issue have been approved by the Monetary Board of the CBSL and forwarded to MOFP for their observation.

2.    Recovery of 7 billion from failed financial institutions.

  • The CBSL has submitted their claim in respect of failed companies and two legal firms and one audit firm engage in carry out investigation of liquidation process of these Companies.


Telecommunications Regulatory Commission


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations
1.    Illegal payment of Rs.22.0 Million on Corporate Plan development to a company in Los Angeles.

  • Awaiting decisions of the Bribery Commission

2.    Failure to submit annual report and accounts of year 2005 on due dates.

  • Awaiting decisions of the Bribery Commission.

3.    Payment of unauthorized allowances and financial benefits to employees.

  • Correct procedure is now been followed

Covering approval of the Treasury had been sought. Correct procedure is now been followed

4.    Payment of unauthorized increments, allowances and leave encashment

  • Correct procedure is now been followed

Covering approval of the Treasury had been sought. Correct procedure is now been followed

5.    Unauthorized investment in Treasury bills and fixed deposits.

  • The matter has now been rectified by transferring excess funds to a Treasury deposit.

6.    Long outstanding dues.

  • A system has been introduced to monitor and recover dues and fees as they occur. The arrears position would be regularly reviewed by a committee appointed by Director General, Telecommunications Regulatory Commission


Ceylon Electricity Board


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Appointment of a person who has allegations against him to the post of Project Manager, Kerawalapitiya Power Plant.

  • Posting was differed by Chairman of CEB and then it was withdrawn owing to the fact that there is no adequate material to institute a formal disciplinary inquiry

2.    Action taken against the officer who has been found guilty to serious charges.

  • Attorney General's opinion was sought and the report was forwarded to Chief Legal officer to regularize the matter

3.    Transparency of Tender Boards.

  • The person who is found guilty to serious charges is not serving Tender Boards any more. Formal Disciplinary inquiry has been held and report has been forwarded to the Board for necessary action.

4.    Corruptions and Malpractices of Board of Directors.

  • New members were appointed on 1st November 2006 by the Hon. Minister of Power and Energy.

5.    Disciplinary inquiries of Executives.

  • All the inquiries have been concluded.

6.    Mismanagement inefficiencies and corruptions.

  • Staff have been made aware of established rules, procedures and the need for improvements.

7.    Weakness of International Audit Division.

  • Staff strength and facilities have been improved for quality auditing.

8.    Pending disciplinary actions.

  • Out of 82 cases 76 cases were concluded and only 6 are pending.

9.    Violation of tender procedures.

  • Disciplinary action has been taken against the Officers responsible.
  • Investigation is in progress by Bribery Commission in case of procurement of Electricity Metres.

10.    Payment of Terminal Benefits to retired General Manager who has disciplinary proceedings.

  • Retained a sum of Rs. 417,000/- A case in Supreme Court is also in progress.

11.    Promotion of Additional General Manager to the Post of General Manager.

  • Promotion has been made in accordance with Ceylon Electricity Board Act and prevailing scheme of retirement.

12.    Non availability of documentation to the Audit Department.

  • Suitable atmosphere has been created for Internal Audit

 

Bank of Ceylon

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Questionable sale of London Branch Property.

  • A Committee was appointed to inquire into this matter by the Minister of State Banks. As soon as the Committee submits its report actions will be taken on the basis of Committee recommendations.

2.    The huge amount of Non-performing advances.

  • A special Unit was formed to debt recovery under a DGM. The new policy will be brought in and disciplinary actions on the culpable persons will be taken.

3.    The high cost / income ratio.

  • The issue has been addressed with all possible measures to curtail other cost elements.

4.    The large loan given without adequate securities.

  • Two cases have been filed with regard to these matters and referred to the CID. The reply from CID is awaited.

 

National Lotteries Board

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Unutilisation of land purchased to build new Head Office Building.

  • Since the existing premises is not adequate even with the renovation, the Board has planned a new Head Office with 9 stories at a cost of Rs. 500.0 Million. Ministry of Finance and Planning will monitor the Building Projecxt



Geological Survey and Mines Bureau

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations

1.    Non availability of Corporate Plan.

  • Corporate Plan has been sent to COPE on 20.10.2006.

2.    Construction of Head Office Building.

  • A land has been purchased and Cabinet appointed Tender Board has awarded the construction work to SLRDC.

3.    Vehicle rentals paid in excess of normal rates.

  • Approval has been obtained to purchase 5 Double Cabs and a Van, which will eliminate the necessity of renting vehicles.

4.    Formation of Unwarranted Company in the name of GSMB Technical Services Limited.

  • Reports have been sent to COPE on 20.10.2006 and 09.11.2006.

5.    Failure on issuing licences for mining of sands due to corruption.

  • COPE recommendations have been implemented. Water marked licences were printed to minimise frauds.

6.    Dissatisfactory performance with regard to Tsunami Catastrophe.

  • Steps have been taken to strengthen the activities of Tsunami Centre


Sri Jayawardenapura General Hospital

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Dissatisfactory explanations given by the authority in relation to the construction of a building with series of patent and latent defects which require approximately RS. 36.0 Million to rectify.
  • Consultant and contractor disagreed with CECB report and therefore appointed ICTAD as an adjudicator.
University of Moratuwa has been appointed to do Quantity Survey according to BQQ.

If the outcome of adjudication is not in favour of Consultant and Contractor, the cost for procedure and cost for rectification will be recovered from the balance payment of Rs. 45.2 Million due to them.


Board of Investment


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Non availability of Corporate Plan.
  • Corporate Plan has been submitted
2.    Unsatisfactory recovery of debts.
  • Action has been taken to recover dues and expedite collections.
3.  Occupying several floors at WTC while own building is idling.
  • A full report has been submitted. A sub-committee has been appointed to look into the matter.
4.    Agreement with Merbok MDF Lanka Pvt. Limited.
  • A full report has been submitted. A sub-committee has been appointed to look into the matter.
5.    Cadre Approval.
  • Cadre approval has been granted b Department of Management Services (DMS/A2/BOI) except for the posts of Director, Senior Manager and Assistant Manager.
Justifications have been sent for creation of above posts.

6.    Failure to monitor BOI by the Ministry.
  • Proposal has been made to establish a monitoring unit.
7.    Inadequate monitoring of imports.
  • Measures have been taken to improve the monitoring part
8.    Lack of methodical system to improve investments.
  • Action has been taken to strengthen the Promotions Department.
Promotion programmes have been carried out in U.K., Bangalore, Pakistan and China

9.    Misuse of loans and abuse of authority.
  • Discussions are going on to hand over the factories to new investors who will undertake to settle loans.
A factory in Koggala has already been restructured.

10.    Loss of Stamp Duty to undervaluation of property contrary to relevant Revenue Acts.
  • Method of charging Stamp Duty has been changed to take the market value into consideration.
11.    Misrepresentation made to the Parliament by submitting wrong document as Corporate Plan.
  • Corporate Plan has been submitted to the COPE.
12.    False information about disciplinary action.
  • Disciplinary action has been taken and the matter has been handed over to the CID.
Inter-Ocean Freight Services has been black listed.

13.    Statistics of imports and exports under the BOI banner.
  • Statistics are available with the Investor Services Department of BOI.
14.    Import of Yellow Corn and Soya Bean.
  • Investigations being carried out to confirm the information
15.    Monitoring of large quantity of import goods by the BOI enterprises.
  • Measures have been taken to improve monitoring.
16.    Agreement with Merbook MDF Lanka (Pvt) Limited by giving extraordinary concessions.
  • Full report has been submitted to COPE
17.    Monitoring of imports and exports by BOI through responsible organizations.
  • All data pertaining to imports and exports effected by BOI are linked with Sri Lanka Customs to enable them to monitor.
18.    Failure to follow the fundamental and basic rules of an organization.
  • Action has been taken to strengthen the Monitoring Department


Airport and Aviation Services Limited

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Payment of Rs. 7.0 Million for purchasing a land.
  • A preliminary inquiry was conducted and the report was submitted to the COPE.
The Chairman – AASL has been directed to take disciplinary action against the officers involved upon completion of the formal inquiry if found guilty.

2.    Failure to hold Audit and Management Committee (AMC) meetings.
  • The Audit and Management Committee was re-constituted by the Board on November 27 2006. Two meetings of the Committee have been held on December 20 2006 and January 22 2007.
The AMC will meet on the day of Board Meetings.

3.    Corporate Plan and Action Plan 2006.
  • Action Plan for the year 2007 was submitted to the COPE on 24.01.2007.
Corporate Plan for the year from 2007 to 2011 will be revised by the end of June 2007 by considering the new strategies of AASL.

 

Independent Television Network

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Shortcomings in Corporate Plan for the period 2005 – 2009.
  • Action have been taken to update the Corporate Plan.
2.    28% drop in Profit before Tax in 2006 due to provision for bad debts amounting to Rs. 56.0 Million.
  • As sufficient provision has not been made for many years this amount has provided for bad debts as per instructions of Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standard Monitoring Board.
Legal action and regular follow-up action have been taken to recover debts.

3.    Appointment of duly qualified Accountant.
  • Appointment has been made to the permanent cadre.
4.    Explanations on certain assets and liabilities.
  • Explanations were given with relevant figures.

 

National Water Supply and Drainage Board

COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Uncompleted Information Technology Project.
  • Project commenced in August 2005 and expected to complete by June / July 2007 duly within the period of 2 years.
2.    Non appointment of Audit and Management Committee.
  • Actions have been taken to efficient functioning of AMC
3.    Increase of non-revenue Water Supply

Islandwide – 44%
Colombo City – 51%
  • Islandwide figure should be corrected as 34%
There is a gradual decrease in free water supply in Colombo City due to “Randiya” Program (14%)

A detailed report on action taken will be submitted to the COPE.

4.    Increase in bad debts (494 Million).
  • This amount represents debt service interest payable to General Treasury will be settled in annual instalments commencing from 2007.
5.    Account System in disarray.
  • Intend to rectify all the errors and shortcomings.
6.    Discontinued rural water supply projects.
  • Additional funds have been received from ADB and expected to complete the projects by 15.03.2007.
7.    Fraudulent Bank statements.
  • Summary of updated ongoing inquiries have been provided.
8.    Non adherence to Accounting Standards.
  • Discussions were held with Staff and Auditor General’s Department towards corrective actions.
Revision of internal control system was done. Decided to obtain service of competent firm to prepare accounting and financial manual.

Audit and Management Committee will oversee the adherence to accounting standards.

9.    Violation of Treasury Circulars (Releasing Vehicles).
  • Details have been given on the Vehicles and the dates which they were released to the Ministry.


National Child Protection Authority


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Fulfilling of vacancies in the Board.
  • Informed the Secretary to the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment.
2.    Non availability of Corporate Plan.
  • Preparation of the Corporate Plan is in progress
3.    Non availability of Organisational structure and recruitment procedure.
  • Organisational structure has been prepared and forwarded to the approval of the Board.
Recruitment procedure has been forwarded to Management Services Department for approval.

4.    Unsatisfactory attendance to the protection of children in North and East.
  • NCPA is maintaining two Child and Youth centres in Trincomalee.
5.    Unsatisfactory functioning of District Committees.
  • Functions of the District Committees have been carried out satisfactorily.
6.    Actions regarding :

a. Children deprived functioning education
b. Malnutrious children
c. Rehabilitation of children surrendered to the Government institutions
d. Upgrading welfare facilities of children in affected areas
  • School Dropouts and children who have never been to school have referred to non-formal education unit.
  • Not within NCPA jurisdiction
  • -
  • Not within NCPA jurisdiction
7.    Researches done under the plan of Sri Lanka Programme and the Alcohol projects.

a. Who had done the Resesarch
b. Outcome of the Research
c. Amount of money spent 
d. To whom the money is paid
  • Two reports have been prepared.
- Statistical analysis of data on Alcohol use in Sri Lanka
- Social and mental impacts of war in border villages in Anuradhapura.
  • a. Prof. Harendra De Silva  b.not replied by NCPA  c. Rs. 1,027,245  d. Details have been provided
8.    Utilisation of Foreign aid.
  • Detailed report has been provided.


Development Lotteries Board


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Violation of Revenue Law. The Board has not paid Income Tax since it’s inception.
  • The matter will be solved with the Cabinet decision.
2.    Spending Rs. 7.2 Million as rent while building at Union Place lies idle.
  • Board is planning to shift to new premises after having finished the renovation.


State Mortgage and Investment Bank (SMIB)


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Financial irregularities amount to Rs. 2.5 Million.
  • MOFP will follow-up inquiries and Department of Public Enterprise has been requested to closely monitor the Financial matters of SMIB.


State Engineering Corporation


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Outstanding debts of Rs. 335.0 Million from Government Institutions and Rs. 473.0 Million from Private Sector.
  • Outstanding debts have been reclassified and schedules have been provided along with age analysis.
2.    Lack of due diligence and financial mis-management (paying large amount of overdraft interest while having Cash in Hand).
  • Schedule of amount of money held has been provided mentioning the relevant purpose
3.    No MIS System to review performance in a periodic basis.
  • Upgrading of old MIS is in process and will be in full operation by mid March 2007.
4.    Unanswered 25 Audit queries over last 3 years.
  • Answered all the outstanding queries.


People’s Bank


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Huge loan to 10 customers without adequate security.
  • Presume that the Presidential Secretariat will take appropriate action in regard as recommended by the Advisors Committee


Milco (Pvt) Limited


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Approved Cadre.
  • Cadre has been approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Department of Public Enterprises for registration.
2.    Corporate Plan.
  • Approved Corporate Plan for the period of 2007 – 2011 and Action Plan for 2007 has been submitted to relevant authorities.
3.    Shortage of milk.
  • Explanations have been called from Diary Centre Managers and programmes have been conducted to educate them.
Action has been taken to calibrate weighing machines and other equipment.

4.    Recovery of Rs. 348 Million due from Government.
  • Request has been made to set off the sum against the Company’s outstanding tax liability of Rs. 515 Million.
5.    Regularisation of the Accounts.
  • Audited Accounts and Annual Report for 2006 have been submitted to relevant authorities.


Land Reform Commission

COPE Findings    Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Updating of Land Registry.
  • Process of updating the value is in progress. A progress report is forwarded to COPE every two weeks.
2.    Sum of Rs. 7,149,750, which was accepted from People’s without proper approval.
  • Action has been taken to release the money to relevant persons.
3.    Legal advice from the Attorney General to recover possession of lands.
  • Necessary action has been taken.
4.    Disciplinary action against the conduct of Officers.
  • Explanations have been called from respective Officer and considered about the ability to take disciplinary action.
5.    Incompleted installation of data base which incurred Rs. 21.0 Million.
  • Software has been installed and commission is in the process of collecting data.
6.    Disputes on ownership between Land Reform Commission and Janatha State Development Bank, Sri Lanka Plantation Corporation.
  • Discussions will have to be organized to solve the disputes with new Ministry.
7.    Negligence in safeguarding assets.
  • Action has been taken to collect data about the assets and manage the assets in an efficient manner.
8.    Details with regard to the alienation of lands and installation of Computer System.
  • A letter has been sent to COPE on 27.11.2006.


Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Non availability of Corporate Plan.
  • Corporate Plan which was approved by the Board of Directors has been presented to COPE on 07.11.2006
2.    Unidentified amount of Rs. 62 Million in the account of compulsory savings.
  • A report stating the reasons has been forwarded to COPE.
3.    Licence for Micro Finance Institutions.
  • Since the authority has a plan to continue Micro Finance Institutes, amendments have been drafted to the Samurdhi Authority Act, Central Bank has recognized Samurdhi Bank as Micro Finance Institute.
4.    Delay in functions of Audit and Management Committee and violation of Treasury Circular issued in October 2005.
  • Audit and Management Committee has been functioning with the participation of an Audit representative. Report has been submitted to COPE.
5.    Failure to collect statistical data.
  • Remedial action has been taken.
6.    Unrecovered sum of Rs. 5.5 Million form defaulters.
  • Some projects have recommended operations.
Investigations have been handed over to Criminal Investigation Unit and Bribery Commission.

7.    Value of investments made in quoted Company shares.
  • A detailed report has been submitted.
8.    Inquiry of Fruit Export Project at Galgamuwa (Galgamuwa Export Company).
  • File has been taken back from Presidential Investigation Unit.
Director General of Samurdhi Authority has been appointed as a Director and Finance Director has been appointed as alternative Director.

9.    Failure of ten projects started using Samurdhi Fund.
  • Necessary action has been taken to recover investments.
A progress report has been submitted.



Public Enterprises Reform Commission


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Three irregular transactions in privatization process.
  • Advisory Committee recommended to await final report of COPE which is still to be submitted.


Road Development Authority


COPE Findings / Corrective Actions / Explanations


1.    Preparation of Master Plan and Corporate Plan for the road network.
  • Long term Master Plan (50 years) has been prepared and draft has been submitted to the COPE by letter No. RDA/P/TG/COPE on 15 February 2007.
2.    Furnishing Master Plan to CEB, NWS&DB, Telecom and other Government Institutions.
  • Long Term Master Plan has been sent to CEB, NWS&DB and Sri Lanka Telecom on 27 February 2007.
3.    Contracts in relation to the construction of Colombo Katunayake Express Way, South Express Way, Ratnapura – Balangoda and Galle – Matara Highways.
  • Letter has bee forwarded to COPE on 07 December 2006.
4.    Expenses incurred to provide vehicles and laboratory facilities to the consultants of JBIC.
  • Generally under any loan package Sri Lanka Government is expected to incur costs of providing vehicles, laboratory and other facilities to the Consultants.


(ii)    the date that the previous COPE report presented to Parliament;

Answer:


11th August 2005


(iii)    the corroborative evidence for the action that has been taken against the State owned entities referred therein?

Answer:


Does not arise



(b)    Will he state the reason for not taken actions against persons referred in the presented COPE reports?

Answer:


Does not arise



(c)    If not, why?

Answer:


Does not arise




2.    0005/’09

Hon. Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the number of overseas trips that the Minister of Foreign Affairs had undertaken for the last three years;

(ii)    the countries visited; and

(iii)    the total cost of each trip along with the tickets and hotel charges separately;



(b)    Will he state –

(i)    the number of persons accompanied;

(ii)    their names and the cost incurred on them separately; and

(iii)    the main reason for each overseas trip?



(c)    Will he also state –

(i)    the budgeted allowance; and

(ii)    the supplementary expenditure provided for such trips?



(d)    If not, why?




3.    0006/’09

Hon Ravi Karunanayake – To ask the Minister of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services –

(a)    Will he inform this House –

(i)    the number of overseas trips that the Minister of Agricultural Development and Agrarian Services had undertaken for the last three years;

Answer:


2007 - 02
2008 - 06


(ii)    the countries visited; and

(iii)    the total cost of each trip along with the tickets and hotel charges separately?

Anwser:


2007

China
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 175,259.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 189,315.00

Vietnam
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 147,475.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 223,732.00

2008

New Delhi
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 116,300.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 11,150.00

United Nations
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 285,850.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodatin - Rs. 24,712.50

Rome
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 618,460.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 11,150.00

Phillipines
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 286,200.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 119,173.68

Cyprus
Cost of Airkticket - Rs. 366,200.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 191,400.00

New Delhi
Cost of Airticket - Rs. 123,000.00
Cost of Hotel Accommodation - Rs. 34,269.30



(b)    Will he state –

(i)    the number of persons accompanied;

(ii)    their names and the cost incurred on them separately; and

(iii)    the main reason for each overseas trip?

Answer:


The relevant documents with answers to the above questions were tabled.



(c)    Will he also state –

(i)    the budgeted allowance; and

(ii)    the supplementary expenditure provided for such trips?

Answer:


2007

Budgeted Allowance -
Rs. 1,100,000.00 from the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Ministry of Mahaweli Development

Rs. 960,000.00 from the Ministry of Agricultural Development

Supplementary Expenditure - Nil

2008

Budgeted Allowance - Rs. 2,100,000.00
Supplementary Expenditure - Rs. 2,300,000.00



(d)    If not, why?
Does not arise

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