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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Army licence printing saves Rs.800 million for Government

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Government audits have confirmed that nearly Rs.800 million has been saved in the last ten months after the printing of driving licences was handed over to the Sri Lanka Army.

It had been run by a company for over five years earlier.According to an agreement signed between the Motor Traffic Department (MTD) and a private company, the company was awarded the contract to print a driver’s licence with a special chip.

The contract for printing the driver’s licence with the chip was awarded to the company in 2009 on a build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis.

However, even after the agreement expired in 2009, it is said that the company was given the contract to print the driver’s licence until December 2020. On an average, about 5,0000 driving licences are printed per month, and the company was paid Rs. 1,571 for each licence issued.

Audits conducted by the Auditor General’s Department have confirmed that despite the companies bidding for the printing of driving licences with this chip at a cost of around Rs.1,000, the company continued to print the licences for the above mentioned amount.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa made a surprise visit to the Motor Traffic Department to investigate allegations of financial irregularities and fraud. Later the government took steps to hand over the printing of driving licences to the Army and at the same time took steps at the last minute to reduce the amount of Rs. 1,571 charged by this company for printing a driving licence to Rs.1,000.

Senior officials of the Government Auditor General’s Department said that the printing of driving licences by the Army since January 1 has saved nearly Rs. 800 million which otherwise would have gone to the said company.

Motor Traffic Commissioner General Sumith Alahakoon said that there may have been some savings after the printing of driving licences was handed over to the Army and it can be calculated and published by January next year.

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