As there are 688 vacancies in the National Housing Development Authority as at 31st May 2021, the Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Charitha Herath recently instructed the Authority to work with the Department of Management Services to fill them as earlier as possible.
While there are 154 vacancies in the top management level of the company, the Chairman also questioned the officers regarding the existence of 46 surplus posts. He also questioned how there could be 218 surplus employees when there were 116 vacancies at the tertiary level.
The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Charitha Herath, directed the Secretary to the State Ministry of Rural Housing and Construction & Building Material Industries Promotion Keerthi Ranjith Abeysiriwardena to submit a report with regard to this situation to the COPE within a month.
It was also revealed at this Committee that salaries of Rs. 583 million have been paid for 3700 trainees recruited to the National Housing Development Authority during the period 2017-2019.
Parliamentarian Premnath C Dolawatta questioned regarding these trainees. The Minister of Environment Mahinda Amaraweera stated that the trainees had not even been assigned proper duties.
The Committee paid special attention to the failure to table the Annual Reports of the National Housing Development Authority in Parliament properly. The Committee also drew attention to the failure to include the Annual Procurement Plan, the Human Resource
Development Plan and the Internal Audit Plan that should be included in the Annual Action Plan of the Authority.
Although it was previously recommended to the National Housing Development Authority to submit a report on the Janasevana One Million Housing Project to the Committee within a month, the Committee also paid special attention to its non-submission so far. The COPE chairman further stated that the public property of 1,351 housing projects has not yet been transferred to the Local Government Institutions which is a serious problem.
Although an agreement was reached with a private party to construct houses and develop a 01-acre 26.5 perch land on Darley Road, Colombo, it was revealed at the Committee meeting that the land had been sold to the relevant private company in 2016 at the 2006 contracted price of Rs. 812 million without any development work being done. The National Housing Development Authority informed the Committee that legal action would be taken to acquire the land expeditiously.
The Committee also drew attention to the fact that the debt collection progress of this institution was at a minimum level. The Committee informed the National Housing Development Authority that the annual loan repayment rate is at 60% and that a systematic program should be implemented to recover the debt.
The Committee instructed the Secretary to the State Ministry of Rural Housing and Construction & Building Material Industries Promotion Keerthi Ranjith Abeysiriwardena to take appropriate action to resolve the administrative issues of the National Housing
It was revealed in the Committee that according to the financial statements of the year 2020, the amount due to the Sevana Media Unit of the Authority is Rs. 68 million and the COPE Chairman informed the Authority to take an immediate action in this regard.
The COPE meeting convened to examine the current performance of the National Housing Development Authority was attended by Ministers Mahinda Amaraweera, State Ministers Susil Premajayantha, D.V Chanaka and Indika Anuruddha, MPs Eran Wickramaratne, Harsha de Silva, Jagath Pushpakumara, Premanath C Dolawatta and S. Rasamanikkam.