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-- Leading News from Sri Lanka --

* Sri Lanka government expects transparency from NGOs
Friday, March 6, 2009, 16:04 GMT, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 06 Colombo: Sri Lanka government today said many friendly countries have offered assistance for the amelioration of the conditions of IDPs in welfare centers but such assistance should be made through the government and must integrate with the existing administrative structure.

Speaking at the weekly press briefing Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the Sri Lankan government is appreciative of the aid packages provided by the United Nations and other Non Government Organizations (NGOs) but the government expects transparency from the donors.

Donors' decision to provide funds through the INGOs is not acceptable to the government, he said adding that the funds should be channeled through the government.

"As a sovereign nation the government cannot accept that the funds are used independently by INGOs in which case, about 50 % of the funds will be spent on overheads. The government believes that there must be accountability," Rambukwella said.

Defence Spokesman said that the government will not agree to the pressures from the UN to hand over the responsibilities for infrastructure development activities in the liberated areas to third party NGOs, pointing out that most of the aid money will be spent for paying the salaries and other benefits of their officials.

"Under this situation UN should provide all the aid packages to the government and we are not ready to hand over responsibility to a third party," Minister Rambukwella stressed.

Instead the NGOs should jointly work with the government in infrastructure activities, he stressed.

Many political and defence analysts point out that following the capture of LTTE controlled areas in the North it has been revealed that no development work done in those areas despite the colossal amount of money and aid poured into the North by various NGOs following the tsunami in 2004.

Instead the LTTE has diverted the funds and equipment to build bunkers and strengthen the fortifications, they point out.

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