June 15, 2022
Officials from the Departments of National Planning and External Resources, Ministry of Finance, the Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka and the Association of Public Finance Accountants of Sri Lanka, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning. I am pleased to join all of you to recognize this important initiative, something that is so timely to address the needs of Sri Lanka. A strong public financial management framework, will lead to the stable, sustainable public financial health of Sri Lanka, attracting more investment, trade, and other opportunities.
Accountants are the superheroes of today. You may ask why? Besides your presence as an association for over 60 years here in Sri Lanka, you have done more than crunching numbers; your profession requires critical thinking, problem solving, maintaining global standards, strategizing, and upholding the highest levels of integrity and financial discipline after undergoing a very competitive process to become accountants. That’s superhero material.
And we know how critical that integrity and discipline is now in Sri Lanka more than ever as the country grapples with its biggest economic crisis and people are demanding institutional reforms, good governance, and transparency.
You have recently presented proposals to the finance ministry to help revive the economy, launched programs to bridge the gender gap in your profession, and provided mentoring services to young accountants.
This is why I am happy to see the United States, through our USAID program, collaborate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants and Association of Public Finance Accountants to train 600 Chartered accountants and audit professionals from across the country on Sri Lanka Public Sector Accounting Standards and approximately 1,200 staff on IT systems and applications.
On completion of this training, participants will have the necessary tools to further strengthen their awareness on compliance requirements, and other professional standards. Then with those skills in hand, pay it forward to colleagues and mentees throughout the profession.
Through these initiatives, we are helping Sri Lankans develop the skills necessary to promote greater accountability, oversight, efficiency – and more strategic decision-making in the public sector.
We believe that local capacity development is the cornerstone of sustainable development, with local actors designing and leading efforts to improve their communities, regions, and country. Developing local capacity is critical to strengthening locally responsive systems and building resilience to shocks and crises. I know that Sri Lanka is undergoing a very difficult period, but the United States is with you during your resiliency, and will continue to partner with you.
So accountants, put on that cape. Your training awaits you. And your country depends on you.