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Serving Sri Lanka

This web log is a news and views blog. The primary aim is to provide an avenue for the expression and collection of ideas on sustainable, fair, and just, grassroot level development. Some of the topics that the blog will specifically address are: poverty reduction, rural development, educational issues, social empowerment, post-Tsunami relief and reconstruction, livelihood development, environmental conservation and bio-diversity. 

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Where Is All The Money?

Dheshapalana.blogspot.com: "Three Months Down - Where Is All The Money?
by Bloggeranonymous

At a media conference in January, Task Force to Rebuild the Nation (TAFREN) chief Mano Tittawella assured the media that transparency will prevail. Auditors, he said, would be summoned to ensure openness in all aid-related fiscal matters. The words were reassuring; they were precisely what the nation wanted to hear.

But alas! Today, as the nation counts three months since that dreaded day of tidal terror on December 26 last year, the matter remains unresolved - how much (tsunami-relief) fiscal aid has the nation received to date? Has the question since fallen on deaf years?

The Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundara quipped to journalists in January that exact figures would be forthcoming. Today, three months down the rocky road, the official figures are still to come.

That the Government set up two bodies - TAFREN and the Centre for National Operations (CNO) - to deal with the disaster and its impact would, one would expect, have provided some means to furnish a definite figure of fiscal aid to the nation. Besides, it is the right of the citizenry to know how much money Sri Lanka has received. So what is the standing figure? Where is the money going? These, undoubtedly, are common questions on the minds of many.

Detailed blue-prints have been unvailed, with more obviously in the pipeline. Infrastructure projects are being widely discussed. The relocation and reconstruction of schools along the coastline have also received much attention.

Statements have been made by the Government that foreign aid post-tsunami, will more than offset the economic losses of the nation. Sri Lanka's economic growth rate has even been revised upward to around 5.5 percent. Admittedly, the nation has the money - at least to rebuild the country as planned.

However, could it be that a blatant lack of public accountability which has long plagued Sri Lanka, will continue to hound the people of the nation, hovering in the aftermath of the tsunami like the bubonic plague? When will those in office realise the true meaning of the term "public servant?"

Access to information is a basic human right; besides, admittedly the only way to counter public embezzlement is to provide the citizenry with this access. Three months have now gone by. Well - stop lamenting; there's no time like the present moment - out with the figures please! This is a democracy - the people need to know! "

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