UNICEF aid for Jaffna held back by Sri Lanka's Treasury

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 April 2008, 01:08 GMT]
More than 10 million Rupees donated by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for educational projects in the Jaffna peninsula is being held back by Central Treasury since December 2007, seriously hampering a number of developmental projects, officials from the Department of Education in Jaffna said.

Education Department of Jaffna is unable to make the payments for the building contractors as the second installment of UNICEF funds due three months ago for constructing new school buildings as well as repairing damaged class rooms have not been released/

The Directors of Education and Principals of schools in the peninsula have been exerting pressure on the UNICEF officials to have the funds released.

Diani Araki, the resident representative for UNICEF in the North has already sent letters to the Directors of Education stating that UNICEF will be compelled to withdraw the funds if the Treasury in Colombo continued to withhold funds.

New directives issued by the Government of Sri Lanka mandated UNICEF to hand over the funds to the Treasury, which in turn is supposed to release the funds through the Department of Education after "review."

But, Sri Lanka's Treasury, as a temporary measure to manage cash liquidity, routinely holds back funds released by organizations such as UNICEF as long as possible and release them only when pressure is exerted, sources close to the Department Education in Jaffna added.


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