Budget 2019: COPF to hear public views | Sunday Observer

Budget 2019: COPF to hear public views

The Committee on Public Finance (COPF) will hold public meetings in Kandy and Jaffna to hear the people’s views ahead of the budget, according to its Chairman, and Opposition Legislator M.A. Sumanthiran.

COPF is a parliamentary committee with power of oversight over how public funds are set aside in the annual budget.

The first public meeting will be held in Kandy today, while the second will be in Jaffna tomorrow. A third meeting will be held in Matara, on a date yet to be finalised, Sumanthiran said.

The hearings mark the first time a Parliamentary oversight committee has taken its consultations outside the Parliamentary complex.

The COPF Chairman said the purpose of the meetings was to obtain the views and expectations of the public about the impending 2019 Budget which will be presented in November this year.

However, a member of COPF criticised the Opposition’s lack of interest in attending the meetings of the COPF which sets the guidelines to ensure country’s public finance course.

UNP MP Prof. Ashu Marasinghe, a member on the COPF said they sometimes find it difficult to have five members to meet up despite the Committee having 18 members with an Opposition member as the Chair.

“With COPE and COPA, you rectify the misdeeds already committed but in COPF we prevent such things from happening,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate that the Joint Opposition is making a big noise in front of the electronic media, when they should actually be raising their voice within the COPF to set the course right and ensure public fiances are spent wisely.

The duties of the Committee on Public Finance include examination of the collection of revenue as well as examination of payments from the Consolidated Fund and utilisation and application of public funds.

Within six weeks of the Appropriation Bill being tabled in Parliament, the COPF must present a report on budget estimates, including on whether the allocation of monies is in compliance with the policies of the Government.