|Thursday, 29 April 2004|
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Jobs for unemployed graduates
The President and Finance Minister should be thanked Finance Minister for granting employments to unemployed graduates.
Under the past regime the notion was that the country had a negative economic growth rate, therefore no public sector employments could be found to unemployed graduates, even when there were vacancies or when they were needed.
That Government worked for the rich, poor boys and girls who came from rural Sri Lanka and obtained a degree had been denied an employment.
It's true that Govt. jobs do not help production, those jobs are granted as a just social obligation, but still people must live and such employments must also be granted. Just like in any other country, even in the US, a country with 99 per cent private sector employments, a certain number of state jobs are made available for needy people.
Needless to say about the situation in Sri Lanka, where well over 80 per cent employments are in the state sector.
In this respect I must congratulate the newly elected Finance Minister, who is a veteran Aministrator (CCS), for finding money to find employment for our graduates. I am sure it's because he himself is a graduate from Peradeniya.
Under the past regime, there was no money for anything, but according to media lots of corruption had taken place and the country had been robbed some.
Thus, the President had to take immediate action to curb corruption. I am sure all graduate and graduates-to-be must be very happy now as they can find some way to find a meal.
They also must realise that after obtaining employment, they must work hard for the country and should not expect to just sit behind a table. I must also remind the present Government that always graduates were looked afer by SLFP/PA regimes.
I could remember that in 1965 when IMRA Iriyagolla was the Minister of Education too, there was a huge build up of unemployed graduates, that huge backlog was also cleared by the subsequent SLFP Government of Ms. Bandaranaike that was elected to power in 1970.
The fall of the then UNP Govt. in 1970 was also due to unemployed graduates and university students. This must be remembered by any Government.
The President and the new Finance Minister must be congratulated for providing jobs for a large number, as much as 55,000 unemployed young men and women within a short period of time after coming to office.
Further, the new Government had taken care of the farmers as well by reducing the cost of fertilizer by Rs. 200 per bag, which had cost the treasury as much as one billion rupees. Farmers too must be safeguarded.
PROFESSOR J. JINADASA - USA.
IMF's recent staff report on Sri Lanka's economy
Mr. De Silva's article on the International Monetary Funds recent staff report on Sri Lanka's economy (A Proven Recipe for Disaster, April 21) appears to misunderstand the timing of the reports release.
All member countries consult regularly with the IMF on their economic policies. This process involves a visit by Fund staff to the member country, preparation of a staff report, and then a discussion by the IMFs Executive Board, which represents all 184 member countries.
Each Government, including Sri Lanka, participates in the Board discussion through its official representative at the IMF.
In the past, the staff reports were kept confidential. However, in the spirit of openness, many countries, including Sri Lanka, now allow the report and a summary of the Executive Boards discussion to be published, shortly after the Board discussion.
The Board session on Sri Lanka was held in Washington on March 5, a
date chosen well before the parliamentary elections were called. The staff
report and a summary of the Board discussion were published on the IMFs
Hard copies of the Sri Lanka report are available at the IMFs resident representative office in Colombo free of charge, and a press release is available in Sinhala and Tamil.
Touching briefly on a few key points from the consultation, the IMF believes that Sri Lanka has great potential to achieve rapid economic growth and accelerate poverty reduction.
However, major challenges stand in the way of attaining these goals, including a very large burden of Government debt.
Thus, poor tax collection is limiting public spending on education, health, infrastructure and the social safety net. In addition, inefficiencies within government, public enterprises and State banks hold back private sector investment and activity and hinder the creation of productive jobs, so critical to reducing poverty.
The IMF stands ready to provide any assistance deemed helpful by the newly elected Government of Sri Lanka and to support its efforts to continue strengthen the Sri Lankan economy and to tackle poverty.
JEREMY CARTER - Senior Resident Representative , International Monetary Fund, Colombo.
Drugs - Should we make generic name compulsory?
Reader A.M., in his letter DN April 21, poses the question why medical practitioners show a "deaf and dumb" attitude towards the pressure to make it compulsory for them to issue prescriptions with the generic name of the drug and not by its brand name.
Prescribing a medicine only by its generic name leaves it open to the pharmacist to issue whatever brand he pleases.
The pharmacist will not show a list of brands under each brand name and provide the choice to the customer to pick one from such list. Even if he does so, if the customer is poor he may select the cheaper one, and if the customer is rich or snobbish, he may opt for the expensive one.
The question is how educative is a patient or customer to select the best one out of the lot. Similarly how medically educative is the pharmacist to select the most appropriate brand for a particular patient.
The pressure on medical practitioners to recommend generic names as against brand names is on the foregone conclusion that prescribing drugs by generic names ensures a customer a cheaper drug of the same quality as an expensive branded one.
This is not so, firstly because, as I have said earlier, the choice is still left for the pharmacist to dispense an expensive one on which he will have a higher profit.
Secondly, the foregone conclusion is also made that a cheaper drug is as good as an expensive (branded) variety.
This too is not correct, since, although a cheaper drug will also have the same amount of the main active ingredients, an expensive variety will always be superior in its application on a particular patient. A cheaper variety may have side effects, which a particular patient cannot cope with.
The expensive brand may not cause stomach irritation (Eg., enteric coated tablets) An expensive variety will be convenient in usage like the facility of taking one tablet daily and not three times (Retard, slow release, etc). Cheaper brands may have adverse drug effects, like in certain brands of antibiotics.
The doctor is the best judge of what drug should be prescribed to a particular patient.
He will take in to account the other complications his patient may be having or the patient insisting on a convenient dosage or minimal side effects.
A drug is expensive not simply because it has a famous brand name, but because of higher costs on account of expensive research, refined ingredients, other additives or supplements, etc.
In other commodities, the choice can be left to the customer to select what his purse permits.
He will definitely know the superiority of an expensive one, but decide to settle for the cheaper one despite its poor quality or performance. But in the case of drugs, he should better leave it, for his own good, to the doctors, and not the pharmacists, to determine what is best for him.
I don't think anyone has a right to interfere with the doctors responsibility of determining the correct type, including brand name, of medicine that should be prescribed for his patient.
J. AMARASINGHA - Maharagama.
Dispossession of Apprenticeship Training Institute
The Apprenticeship Training Institute of Katubedda, a National Institute of the National Apprenticeship and Industrial Training Authority established under the sub paragraph (a) of paragraph 37 and sub paragraph (f) of paragraph 38 of the Tertiary and Vocational Education Act No. 20 of 1990 of the Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is the premier institute donated from Germany, available to students entering the field of scientific technical training (craftsmanship) and it has grown in popularity since its inception.
The objectives of this institute are as follows:
Provide a scientific and systematic vocational training for apprentices in the fields of electrical, electronic, mechanical, wood work and construction as well as computer.
Give a further training to those who are already employed and willing to update the competency.
Undertaken to do complicated precision work which can be done only in this institute due to the availability of required resources, obtaining financial benefits.
The resources necessary to accomplish the declared objectives i.e. machinery, equipment and tools, teaching staff are found hear and so far, no other such Institution that can provide a systematic training in six fields has come into being in Sri Lanka and if we examine the students of this Institute, we observe that they are the ones who have failed to enter a university or a middle level institution due to a lack of educational and social background.
As this institution is ideally suited for craftsmen training, the knowledge for craftsmen training and skill provided are given free and an alternative establishment is not available in Sri Lanka, at present the decision to set up the institute of the National Diploma of Technology of the University of Moratuwa (NDT) would prove to be disastrous to the poor students in this Institution.
Annually this institute provides for around 600 trainees in variety of fields and helps them employed in public and private industrial sector as well as updates a considerable number of employees of both sectors in their relevant fields and produces plastic moulds, press tools, spare parts as well as machinery and equipments on the request of customers thereby gaining financial benefits to the institute.
So dispossession of the A.T.I. to those who are undergoing courses and willing to enter the institute would be a social problem not only to the area but the whole country too.
In accordance with the facts mentioned above, it should be clear that if the Institute of National Diploma of Technology (NDT) is set up in the ATI, the results would be disastrous causing adverse effects to the youth between 16-20 years of age and loss of employment to those who are rendering a great service to the ATI.
U. KALUARRACHCHI - Instructor - A.T.I., Moratuwa.
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