President criticizes both public and private sectors for slow pace of work

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa says as he has observed, the common problem in the country is that no one is working and the slow pace of activity in both the public and private sectors is unfortunate.

Pointing out that the construction work being carried out in Colombo and several suburbs is on the same level every day, the President said all the constructions that have been started should be completed soon and called on all parties to prepare for a development revolution with a change of attitude.

President Rajapaksa made these remarks at a discussion held yesterday (17) at the Presidential Secretariat on the future plans of the State Ministry of Rural Housing and Construction and Building Materials Industry Promotion.

He said an expectation of the “Vision of Prosperity” Policy Statement is to provide “a comfortable home for every family” since a problem for the majority is the need for a home but not being able to meet it alone.

President Rajapaksa emphasized that the housing shortage of urban, rural and estate people should be addressed in a manner that would improve their living standards.

Minister of State Indika Anuruddha stated that his Ministry is already constructing 14,022 houses for low income earners at the Grama Niladhari level under the theme ‘Home for you, tomorrow for the country’. Under these projects it is expected to construct 70,100 houses at the end of 05 years.

The State Minister also said that 1,500 housing units are planned to be built in Werellawatta, Mihindupura, Parangiyakumbura, Dahaiyagama, Mattegoda, Soysapura and Tangalle under the “Complete Apartment Program” to coincide with the World Habitat Day which falls on October 05.

The President pointed out the importance of involving both the public and private sectors in all constructions.

State Banks will set up a lending scheme to buy houses at an annual interest rate of 6.25% with a maturity of 30 years. The President said that the Ministry would provide lands free of charge for the construction of flats suitable for the income of the middle class.

Basil Rajapaksa, Head of the Presidential Task Force on Economic Revival, pointing out that more than 526,000 families across the country do not have sanitation facilities called for speeding up the provision of such facilities. He said 409 displaced families living in 22 welfare camps in the Northern Province need to be resettled.

State Minister Indika Anuruddha stated that the sewerage systems in the old apartment complexes need to be maintained.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said the Building Materials Corporation should be revived. The President suggested that the regional branches of the Corporation should be used as a building material supply agent.

The present status of the Department of Buildings, Department of Government Factories, National Machinery Institute, State Development and Design Corporation, State Engineering Corporation and Construction Development Authority and the steps to be taken to develop them were discussed at length.

Basil Rajapaksa stressed that all these institutions should work with great enthusiasm as a revolution in the fields of construction, agriculture and sports is expected from next year.

The government plans to build and renovate a large number of houses, roads, bridges and tanks. The President instructed officials to utilize all public and private sector institutions under the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing in construction.

Secretary to the President PB Jayasundera, Secretaries to Cabinet and State Ministries, Heads of line institutions and private investors in the construction sector participated in the discussions.

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