In 2010, Sri Lanka established a unique framework, overseen by the Standing Cabinet Appointed Review Committee (SCARC), to handle unsolicited proposals (USPs) for public infrastructure funding. These USPs inherently bypass traditional competitive bidding in procurement. The report, ‘Foregoing Competition to Secure Funding for Public Infrastructure: One-Third of Funding Secured was Non-Concessional’, scrutinizes this framework. It reveals a significant discrepancy between the framework’s intended purpose of improving USP evaluation and the actual outcomes, with a substantial portion of the funding secured through SCARC being non-concessional in nature. The report identifies two vulnerabilities in the existing procurement framework that need urgent attention: the Cabinet’s unchecked power to modify procurement guidelines, and SCARC’s ability to approve projects non-compliant with even the minimum criteria outlined without repercussions.
This is the second report in a series of two reports on Sri Lanka’s central government budget for the year 2022. The report assesses whether the expenditure allocations and taxation policies are in line with the government’s policy.
Concerns about Sri Lanka losing GSP+ concessions resurfaced with the EU parliament passing a resolution on June 10th, 2021, calling the EU Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) to use GSP+ as leverage to push for the repeal or replacement of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). For Sri Lanka, a major area of concern is the impact of the above on apparel exports to the EU, a key beneficiary of the concessions. Apparel contributes the most to Sri Lanka’s export revenue, accounting for 40-45% of the country’s total exports and the EU is the second largest market for Sri Lankan apparel after the USA, making up 42% of Sri Lanka’s total apparel exports between 2015-2019.
This report highlights the failure of the Sri Lankan government in implementing gender responsive budgeting in Sri Lanka. The case of gender KPIs provides a detailed case study of how poor planning of government policies can lead to poor accountability among implementing agencies. The report highlights the importance of conducting good analysis, ensuring that well-defined frameworks and proper oversight mechanisms are in place before proceeding to implement budgetary policies.
This report assesses the extent to which the government has implemented 12 gender-related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs were developed by the former Ministry of Women and Child Affairs towards achieving Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
The published information on debt underestimates Sri Lanka’s overall external public debt burden and its distribution amongst external lenders. This problem arises because Sri Lanka’s reporting of external debt is limited to debt held directly by the central government and excludes debt held by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This reporting problem is especially evident when estimating Sri Lanka’s overall debt obligations to China, since much of Sri Lanka’s debt from China is placed on the books of Sri Lanka’s SOEs. It also exposes a loophole by which debt statistics can be manipulated, and even miscounted, in the midst of such manipulations.