By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Sri Lanka’s Fiscal Management Efficiency Project aimed to help ease these constraints by automating and modernizing tax administration and public financial management (PFM). Automation has now been reactivated as the system was not in fully operational in the recent past.
The project has not been achieved its objectives due to various technical and practical issues in aggregate fiscal planning, budget preparation, budget allocation, budget and commitment control, payment control, cash flow management, debt management, accounting, fiscal reporting, and revenue department interfacing.
On 15 April 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a loan of $50.0 million to the Government of Sri Lanka for the project.
A technical assistance (TA) grant of $2.0 million (TA7515) was also approved to help the project management unit (PMU) mitigate risks from insufficient capacity in relevant agencies.
The project implemented from 1 May 2010 to 31 October 2013 and the loan to be closed by 30 April 2014.
Under this project Integrated Treasury Management Information System (ITMIS) and (RAMIS) Random Access Management Information System had been installed at the finance ministry and Inland Revenue Department.
The two systems have not been functioning properly due to poor technical handling of officials and corruption and irregularities exposed by the Auditor General’s Department and media and all such exposes had fallen into deaf ears during the past few years.
The Chief of Staff of the President, Sagala Ratnayake, has instructed the relevant departments to activate the Integrated Treasury Management Information System (ITMIS) software which allows the institutions that check accounting affairs, including the Ministry of Finance, to get information about the country’s financial situation from anywhere.
Taking prompt action following revelation on the situation of in a recent media report ,the President’s Chief of Staff has instructed the relevant departments to within two months restart the ITMS project which was started for computerization of the financial activities of all government institutions including the President’s Office and suspended halfway.
Getting information while preparing the budget document will also be quick and easy with the ITMIS software.
Along with this software, another software called RAMIS (Random Access Management Information System) was obtained in 2011 for income tax purposes at the Inland Revenue Department.
Even after the operators of the system were trained, the project, which was proposed to be introduced in 2013, was also stopped in the midway.
The Committee on Ways and Means recently expressed their displeasure over the delay in fully implementing the RAMIS system, which was introduced 8 years ago but is still not fully operational.
Due to this, all the accounting activities of government institutions are being conducted using bookkeeping as before, the report said.
The President’s Chief of Staff, Sagala Ratnayake, has instructed to start implementing the software systems immediately and the training of the people for the accounting of government institutions has also started now.
By the end of September, the government has planned to do the public accounting with the ITMIS software.