(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –An amount of Rs. 10,000 million has been allotted to empower 200,000 Samurdhi beneficiary families under the program to convert Samurdhi beneficiaries into becoming income generators, the State Minister of Samurdhi, Household Economy, Micro Finance, Self-Employment and Business Development Shehan Semasinghe said yesterday (09) in Parliament.
While addressing the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Finance, the State Minister said that the amount has been allocated under the instructions of the Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
State Minister Shehan Semasinghe also stated that steps will be taken to grant the rights of the public servants including the pensions of Samurdhi officers in accordance with the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendor Government policy.
The State Minister stated the above at the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Finance chaired by the Hon. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, in response to a query made by him regarding the progress made in resolving the aforesaid issues.
Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance Mr. S.R. Attygalle disclosed that since the officials have requested for the Employees Provident Fund in part or full, given the conversion of the Sri Lanka Samurdhi Authority into a Department, the matter of concern is to be presented before the Cabinet for a further decision.
Member of Parliament Jagath Kumara pointed out that despite the assurances the swages of new employees would not be curtailed when the Samurdhi Authority was transformed into a Samurdhi Department at the time, the previous Government had taken steps to curtail the wages.
The need to address the issue pertaining to promotions of employees when becoming a department was also taken into discussion. Accordingly, State Minister Shehan Semasinghe stated that measures will be taken to resolve the matter expeditiously with the intervention of the Ministry of Public Administration and Management and the Management Services Department.
Discussions were also held regarding the candidature of Samurdhi officials to contest in elections. The Hon. Prime Minister pointed out that this should only be done only in formal manner.
The need to empower Samurdhi beneficiaries without further increasing the number of such beneficiaries was also taken into discussion. State Minister Shehan Semasinghe stated that the number of Samurdhi beneficiaries will not be increased at all and that steps will be taken to provide Samurdhi assistance in a transparent manner without any political interference.
Hon. State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Hon. Deputy Chairperson of Committees Angajan Ramanathan and Hon. Members of Parliament Harsha de Silva, (Prof.) Ranjith Bandara, Sudath Manjula, Sahan Pradeep were present at this committee meeting held.
In addition to the Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance Mr. S.R. Attygalle, other senior officials of the Ministry of Finance were also present.