May 05, 2017 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s newly enacted Right to Information (RTI) Act if used effectively can be key for the country’s transition to upper-middle income status and to increasing its shared prosperity, a senior World Bank official said.
“RTI law is a game changer in Sri Lanka’s path to prosperity if used with a focus on development effectiveness,” Jan Walliser, the World Bank’s vice president for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, who arrived in Colombo Wednesday for an official two-day visit said.
“It is a tool for all citizens – especially the economically weak, the private/non-government sector, and the media to play a key role in the decision making process of the public sector.”
He also reiterated the Bank’s commitment to support the implementation of the law together with other development partners and key stakeholders.
The Act came into effect in February 2017 bringing with it a promise of open government, citizens’ active participation in governance, and accountability to the people of the country.
The Ministry of Mass Media and Parliamentary Reform says it has been laying the groundwork of RTI, with trainings for public officials and appointments of the key information officers and designated officers.
The ministry said they are working closely with the RTI Commission, which is vested with wide powers under the Act, such as to hear appeals, institute action against alleged offenders, and prescribe guidelines on record management and proactive disclosure.
Walliser during his visit will gain firsthand understanding of Sri Lanka’s reform agenda, key for the country’s transition to upper-middle income status and to increasing its shared prosperity.
“Sri Lanka has made a strong commitment to implement comprehensive fiscal, economic, and governance reforms,” he said.
“I look forward to my meetings with the government to understand how the World Bank Group can further strengthen its ongoing support for these initiatives.”
He will be meeting with Senior Government officials, with the private sector as well as with the RTI Commission.