Apr 10, Colombo: The Speaker of Sri Lanka parliament Karu Jayasuriya on Tuesday launched a Handbook on Good Governance for Chairmen and Boards of Directors of Public Enterprises.
The handbook developed by the National Human Resource Development Council (NHRDC) in collaboration with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka on good governance directed to chairmen and boards of directors of public enterprises would serve as a guide to manage the affairs of those institutions effectively.
Speaking at the event, Speaker Jayasuriya said the present Government has taken several initiatives to uphold transparency, accountability, rule of law, participation and good governance in managing the public sector.
Introduction of the 19th amendment to the Constitution and the appointment of independent commissions, enactment of the Right to Information Act and the proposed National Audit Act, Public Finance Act and the Public Enterprise Board Act are some of them.
He said the public enterprises play a vital role in the public delivery system and are major contributors to the national economy. Some of the Enterprises which are dominant players in the banking and financial services industry are trend setters in that sector.
Since Enterprises are established under statutes, their performance has to be in compliance with such statutory requirements subject to the provisions of the Constitution and other laws as may be applicable. Hence these enterprises should be professionally managed.
The President has appointed a high level committee to examine and to recommend nominations to the boards of public enterprises and guidelines have been issued specifying the eligibility requirements of candidates for the appointment to such posts.
The Speaker said the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) in its recent reports to Parliament has expressed serious concerns about the management of public enterprises for several issues.
Among them are lack of transparency and accountability, lack of professional management of Public Enterprises, financial indiscipline, irregularities, manipulations and malpractices including large scale frauds and corporate failures, non-compliance with statutes, rules and regulations, inefficiencies leading to heavy losses, lack of proper management information systems and ineffective progress review and performance monitoring.
"Boards of Directors of Public Enterprises must be able to interface with all stakeholders. They must make sure that sufficient time is spent to deliberate Board papers, especially those in relation to specific development projects and related activities, so that timely implementation of such projects is assured," he said.
In pursuing its key purpose, a Board faces a uniquely demanding set of responsibilities and challenges. The Board must seek to ensure the financial viability of the Enterprise, collectively direct the affairs of the Enterprise, monitor and control executive management, meet its stakeholders' appropriate interests and ensure its moral and ethical commitment in areas such as bribery, corruption, political activity, gifts etc.
"As the custodian of public resources, the Board should exercise its mandated rights and responsibilities with integrity and in good faith, within the legal and regulatory framework governing Public Enterprises under directions and control of the Minister/Ministry of Finance or the Treasury (Department of Public Enterprises) under the direct supervision of the line Ministry," he emphasized.