Business Times

Sparks fly in EDB meeting, Janaka walks out

By Bandula Sirimanna

Some financial irregularity issues raised on the recent Sri Lanka Expo 2012 mega exhibition sparked a furore at the board meeting of the Export Development Board (EDB) on Thursday prompting its Chairman Janaka Ratnayake to walk out, informed sources said.

Board members refused to approve the budget of Rs.140 million spent on the exhibition saying it initially didn’t receive the approval of the board. They requested Mr Ratnayake to give a breakdown of the expenditure under separate headings, and alleged that the exhibition was organized in an unprofessional manner inconveniencing the participants and guests.

Directors told Mr Ratnayake, that there was no air conditioning in many stalls and the visitors and guests were not properly treated at the opening ceremony chaired by the president. When asked, the EDB Chairman told the Business Times that only two board members raised a question about the seating arrangement at the opening ceremony of the event. They had criticized the organizing committee without any basis, he said adding that he walked out as a mark of protest and with severe pain of mind as these directors had failed to acknowledge the huge success of the exhibition.

He noted that there was no need to get board approval for the Expo 2012 budget as it was prepared in accordance with government procurement procedures. The total estimated expenditure was Rs.200 million and the actual spending was Rs.140 million, he said adding that the EDB had earned a large sum of money from stall fees and sponsorship money.

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