The Ministerial Consultative Committee on Public Services, Provincial Councils & Local Government took to discussion the fact that although the local government bodies cannot spend money for the coming year without the passing of the budget, the Ambalangoda Urban Council has spent money without approving the budget for the year 2021. The discussion took place at Parliament yesterday (02). It was disclosed that there is a possibility of dissolving the local government body after informing the Governor by the Local Government Commissioner as it is illegal. This situation is now happening in several other local government bodies as well, the Members present said.
Hon. Minister Janaka Bandara Tennakoon stated that special attention will be paid to this as it sets a wrong precedent. Responsible officials including Local Government Commissioners and Governors are expected to be summoned before this Committee in the future to discuss issues related to Local Government Institutions, the Minister added.
The following matters were taken into discussion at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Public Services, Provincial Councils & Local Government held under the chairmanship of Hon. Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and Hon. State Minister of Provincial Councils & Local Government Roshan Ranasinghe yesterday (02).
Hon. Members of Parliament pointed out the need to extend the deadline for the completion of local government projects. Furthermore, it was discussed that the project should be extended to January next year as the projects could not be completed due to the lack of cement and due to the COVID situation.
The committee members also drew attention to the improper maintenance of properties such as stadiums under local government bodies. The Minister instructed the relevant officials to conduct a progress review at least once a month with the intervention of the line ministries to ascertain whether the Local Government Institutions are carrying out such activities properly.
The Line Ministry also pointed out the need to implement a special program to regulate this as the Local Government Commissioners do not take action to administer the finances of the Local Government Institutions as the Provincial Councils are inactive.
It was discussed at the Committee that the revenue of the Local Government Institutions has decreased rapidly due to the prevailing COVID situation. The committee members pointed out that the revenue generated due to the reduction in the number of employees for assessment was much less than the actual revenue due to the assessment tax.
Many issues such as the shortage of public health inspectors, pharmacists and family health workers in the Municipal Councils were also discussed at this meeting. The Secretary to the Ministry said that steps will be taken to direct the newly recruited graduates to the Local Government Institutions and as these problems have been identified, steps will be taken to resolve them expeditiously.
Committee Members Shan Vijayalal De Silva, Sudath Manjula and many Members of Parliament were also present at the meeting. Officials including the Secretary to the Ministry of Public Administration Mr. J J Rathnasiri were also present at the Committee meeting held.