Capacity Problem

Jan 22, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s top markets regulator has said an accounting and auditing watchdog body was severely understaffed and lacked the ability to do its job effectively. Channa de Silva, director general, of the Securities and Exchange Commission, said the lack of staff at the watchdog body was one reason it could not effectively probe dodgy accounting by certain companies.

“The Sri Lanka Accounting and Auditing Standards Monitoring Board (SLAASMB) has less than five technical staff,” he said.

“How can it handle Sri Lanka’s entire company accounting to ensure accountants and auditors have done their jobs?”

De Silva said regulators and watchdog organisations such as the SEC and SLAASMB, of which he himself is a director, need to be given the capacity to do their work effectively.

“We can’t do it if we reduce the capacity of regulators,” he told a seminar organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka.

“It is important the regulators’ capacity be increased by government continuously.”

De Silva was responding to criticism that regulatory bodies were not effectively monitoring the account and audit reports of Sri Lankan compani