The World Bank President James Wolfenson called on President Chandrika Kumaratunga at Presidential Suite of her hotel in Islamabad yesterday to discuss the World Bank assistance for the reconstruction of tsunami-hit areas in Sri Lanka.
Wolfenson said that it would be vital for the Sri Lankan government to take quick measures to monitor the large amount of funds that are flowing into the country for tsunami relief, particularly through non-governmental organizations.
The World Bank Chief was in Sri Lanka with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan last month, and toured the tsunami-hit areas in the country to get first hand experience of the devastation caused by the tidal wave tragedy.
“There would naturally be apprehensions both in Sri Lanka and overseas about funds being optimally utilized for the intended purposes of the government. The funds should reach the people affected by the December 26th disaster,” he said.
President Kumaratunga assured that the government has already put in place mechanisms for the General Treasury to follow accepted fiscal procedure in the use of these donations.
“Measures are now underway to ensure that funds received though the NGOs and their activities in Sri Lanka in relation to the tsunami relief operations follow guidelines of the Government,” she said.
The Sri Lankan President also expressed appreciation for the continued commitment of the World Bank and thanked for its concern about the latest disaster in her country.
The World Bank has decided to allocate US $ 75 million for reconstruction projects in tsunami-hit Sri Lanka by the end of this week out of existing projects for emergency relief and reconstruction activities.
Associated with President Kumaratunga was Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar.
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