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14 March, 2016 09:16 AM Source: Financial Times - Sri Lanka
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The much-discussed Right to Information bill as well as a code of ethical conduct for lawmakers will be brought to Parliament, pledged Deputy Minister of State Enterprise Development Eran Wickramaratne.

While the Deputy Minister did not specify a timeframe, he did note that it had already been a year since the Government pledged to introduce a code of conduct for MPs.

The Deputy Minister made these comments while speaking at the convocation ceremony of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) held at the BMICH on Wednesday, where he spoke on sustainable development.

“It is of paramount importance that this Parliament allows a code of ethical conduct for MPs. We are already a signatory to the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which commits the Government to transparency and public accountability. There is no reason why we shouldn’t adopt a code of ethical conduct for MPs based on the common ethical principles espoused by the OGP. We promised this in the election and civil society actors continue to advocate for this. We also promised an RTI bill, and we will bring it to Parliament. The public is holding us accountable for our promises,” said Wickramaratne.

The Government can build on existing ethical principles published by to create a strong codified system of rules to regulate the behaviour of Members of Parliament, explained Wickramaratne.

“I’m putting my hand up for voting for the code of ethical conduct. It’s one year late, but it’s never too late. This is a promise we have to keep,” he said.

He said sustainable development was high on the Government’s agenda.

“No longer can governments think of growth and profits only for the period in which it holds office. Today you have to plan on how development can sustain over a 20/30 year period. This is a challenge for politicians like myself who are forced to think short term in terms of our re-election. Sri Lanka should value the intentionally-agreed sustainable development goals that were unveiled in September 2015 and we should work towards achieving these goals,” he said.

However, the Deputy Minister said, the Government could not do this alone.

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