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A number of protesting groups from state institutions daily hold agitation campaigns in front of the Presidential Secretariat and as a result, the staff has to devote more time to these agitators than performing their duties, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said.

He said the relevant ministries should be held responsible for these demonstrations.

President Rajapaksa said this at a function held at the Parliament yesterday to present awards to government bodies with high performance.

He further said Parliament has full control over public funds and the media report cases regarding financial mismanagement found in certain government institutions.

“The Committee on Public Accounts (COPA) has an important role to play in revealing whether state assets are safeguarded against frauds occurring in excess of the expenditure approved by the Parliament,” he said.

The President stated that the objective of the COPA is not to impose legal restraints on state officials.

He advised to evaluate all the institutes which come under the purview of financial inspection of the Parliament in the future.

President Rajapaksa instructed officials to update the questionnaire used to evaluate the institutes and pointed out the importance of using the procedures adopted by the private sector in their administration as a model.

On the recommendation of the COPA, government bodies which have achieved a high performance level in the year 2018 were presented with awards.

Of the 844 institutions of State, Provincial Councils and Local Government that have been evaluated, 109 institutions were shortlisted for the awards. They were presented with 55, 23 and 31, Gold and Silver awards and certificates of commendation respectively. Gold awards for the state institutes with excellent performance were given away by President Rajapaksa himself.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, Minister Johnston Fernando, Chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts, State Minister Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Members of Parliament Sisira Jayakody, Dulip Wijesekara, Secretary-General of Parliament, Dhammika Dasanayake, Auditor General, Secretaries to the Ministries, Heads of Departments and Government Officials were present on the occasion. (Lahiru Pothmulla)

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