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Public Finance Management Act to be drafted by the Legal Draftsman soon.

By: Staff Writer

March 02, Colombo (LNW): The Government has directed the Legal Draftsman to draft the Bill of the Public Finance Management Act, based on the fundamental draft that has been prepared in this regard.

Additionally, powers have been entrusted to the Treasury Secretary to appoint a specialist committee to initiate the formulation of financial regulations. The committee will facilitate the process till the Legal Draftsmen finalise the proposed draft Bill.

“The proposed Piblic Financial Management Act is expected to streamline financial processes, mitigate risks and strengthen fiscal discipline across Government agencies,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing

On 8 May 2023 Cabinet approved to draft a new framework of financial rules and to include those rules in the proposed State Financial Management Act.

The relevant bill is being finalised with the aim of improving the responsible fiscal management process when dealing with public finances and to take substantial decisions based on efficient resource utilisation.

The government has taken this decision in accordance with the recommendation made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on enhancing budget formulation and the fiscal framework

The proposed Act will strengthen transparent financial systems and effective performance management by giving freedom to officials to manage public finance efficiently and making them accountable for their responsible projects, relevant cabinet memorandum revealed.

It will have provisions to introduce reforms and modernise the accounting and reporting standards and making public sector accountability as a mandatory requirement.

The proposed Act will be repealing the Fiscal Management (Responsibility) Act No. 3 of 2003 ensuring new fiscal terms to take effect with the Budget 2025.

This original Act has stipulated three key fiscal limits to be achieved by specified timelines. Including restriction of the budget deficit from exceeding 5 percent of GDP from 2006 onward, requiring thel Government limit of 85 percent of GDP by the end of 2006.

It has prohibited the Government from exceeding 60 percent of GDP by the end of 2013 while setting limits on its contingent liabilities.

Nevertheless, the Government debt limit had been increased through an amendment to the Act in 2013. The initial limit set was increased to 80 percent from 60 percent in 2013 and the time frame for compliance was extended till 2020.

The Act was further amended to extend the debt limit of 80 percent of GDP till 2030 as the government has failed to stick to the time frame.

“The regular abuses of the Act and amendments to the Act to accommodate fiscal manipulations of relevant regimes resulted in the economic crisis,” the IMF report claimed.

Along with the implementation of provisions of the new act, a modern financial management system is to be implemented with the aim of controlling the Sri Lanka budget execution via line ministries and state institutions including statutory boards and corporations.

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