Several public sector organisations including universities, statutory boards, research institutes, provincial and urban councils were recently recognized at the inaugural Best Annual Reports & Accounts Awards organised by CA Sri Lanka’s public sector wing, the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka (APFASL) for their high quality financial reporting.
A total of 19 public sector organisations were awarded for high quality financial reporting standards, of which a total of five organisations were recognized as winners under five categories. The competition was organised in an effort to enhance transparency and accountability in the public sector and to encourage excellence in the presentation of information in the annual reports and accounts.
The University of Moratuwa, won under the universities category, followed by the University of Sri Jayawardenapura being adjudged 1st runner up and the University of Sabaragamuwa being recognized as the 2nd runner up. Under the Statutory Boards category, the Marine Environment Protection Authority was adjudged the winner, followed by the Sri Lanka Accreditation Board becoming the 1st runner up and the Provincial Road Passenger Transport Authority - Western Province being adjudged the 2nd runner up.
The National Engineering Research and Development Center of Sri Lanka won under the Research Institutes category, while the North Central Provincial Council won under the Provincial Councils category, with the Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council coming in as 1st runner up and the Northern Provincial Council being the 2nd runner up. The Wattala Mabola Urban Council won under the Urban Councils category, while the Kalutara Urban Council became the 1st runner up in the same category.
The University of Jaffna and the Coconut Cultivation Board won the Compliance Awards at the competition.
President of CA Sri Lanka Mr. Lasantha Wickremasinghe said that for a middle income nation such as Sri Lanka, there is no doubt that the public sector plays a critical anchor role in supporting the economic development and progress and therefore competitions such as the Best Annual Reports & Accounts Awards will play an important role in complementing this anchor role. “I am certain this competition will help set new standards within the public sector, by encouraging excellence in the presentation of information in the annual reports and accounts, and will help the public sector become more competitive, and more importantly accountable,” he said.
Mr. Wickremasinghe said that as the national body of accountants, CA Sri Lanka has an underlying responsibility to ensure efforts are made to complement the vision of the government. “We understand the importance of transparency, accountability and good governance. This is why events such as the Best Annual Reports & Accounts Awards are important specially among the public sector,” he added.
APFASL President Mr. V. Kanagasabapathy said that high quality financial reporting is important for better decision making and to ensure transparency and accountability. Therefore his association took steps to move towards transparent and comparable financial reporting in achieving enhanced performance and accountability. He pointed out that in fulfilling this important objective, CA Sri Lanka has also taken the lead to formulate and publish Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards based on the International Public Sector Accounting Standards to strengthen the Financial Reporting Practices in the public sector with adequate disclosure requirements.
He categorized the Inaugural Best Annual Reports and Accounts Awards Competition among the of the public sector as an ‘important milestone’ and also appreciated the efforts made by the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor Generals Department in assisting the successful completion of the inaugural competition. “The response to the competition was not what we expected, but we decided to proceed this year with the event, and we hope this will encourage more organisations in the public sector to take part in next year’s event,” he said, while adding that the ultimate aim of this competition is to gradually bring about excellence in financial reporting in the public sector.