(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Saman Ekanayake, Secretary to the President gave instructions to all Secretaries to Ministries with regard to attending meetings of the Committees of the Parliament via an official letter today (06) copying to the Speaker of Parliament and Secretary General of Parliament.
Accordingly, the officials attending meetings of any Committee of the Parliament were instructed to be equipped with the relevant knowledge of the subjects under discussion and be prepared to provide information when it is requested by the Committee.
Meanwhile it was recommended having preparatory meetings and to be prepared to answer the questions raised by the Members of the Committee with respect to the items on the agenda. However, in cases where the officials are asked questions that are not included in the agenda, they may request a reasonable time period to answer and respond within the agreed time.
In a situation where the Secretary to the Ministry cannot attend a meeting he/she has been invited to, a senior official could attend the meeting as a representative, with the permission of the Chairperson of the relevant Committee.
Further, the officials should attend the meetings of the Sectoral Oversight Committees with the approval of the relevant Minister. However, if the Minister has concerns regarding the matters to be discussed, those shall be conveyed to the Chairperson of the Sectoral Oversight Committee by the Minister.
If the Leader of the Opposition wishes to summon public officers to a meeting to be held in the Parliamentary premises, he will inform the Minister in writing, who will then sanction the officers to attend such meetings.
When the officials of the Ministry of Finance are summoned for finance-related Oversight Committees, they could attend the meetings with the approval of the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance.