ECONOMYNEXT – Several government departments had flouted rules to get hundreds of millions of rupees worth foreign grants without telling the Treasury, Sri Lanka’s Auditor General (AG) has said.
“According to the information obtained on a sample test, foreign grants amounting to 341 million rupees had been directly obtained by five relevant institutions during the year under review without notifying the General Treasury,” AG Chulantha Wickramaratne said in a report.
The Auditor General said that information on the grants negotiated outside regulations were not included in Treasury reports.
“It was observed that an adequate methodology for confirming that whether such foreign aid had been received to other ministries/departments is not available with the General Treasury,” he said.
All foreign aid transactions must be carried out by the Director General of the Department of External Resources in the Treasury, under the State Accounts Circular No.30/94 of 1994, the AG said.
Unlike loans however grants do not need to be paid back.
The AG said only 53.3 percent of the 4.1 billion rupees in foreign grants budgeted for 2018 had been utilized for the relevant functions during the year.
Out of 1.9 billion rupees in foreign funded projects budgeted for 2018, 1.3 billion rupees had been retained in general deposit accounts without using them as intended, and accounting them as foreign grants, the AG said.
It was not clear whether the projects run for more than one year. Typically foreign funded projects may take three to four years to complete and disbursements may take place in stages. (Colombo/Jun20/2019)