|Thursday, 29 July 2004|
Minister Amunugama assures no expansion in public sector
by Manjula Fernando
Finance Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama assured yesterday that there will be no expansion in the public sector due to the on going graduate employment drive of the government and recruitments will be only to fill the existing vacancies in the public sector. He stressed the program will be implemented within the 2004 budget and there will be no supplementary estimates.
Minister Amunugama was speaking at a media conference held at the Fiance Ministry yesterday. State institutions accommodating the 17,000 graduates under the first phase of the Government's graduate employment scheme will commence their training by August 10, the minister said adding that these institutions will commence sending letters to the qualified candidates by July 30.
"This was the first time in the history of our country such a large number of graduates have been recruited to the state sector." The Minister said the government accorded the highest priority to solve the unemployment problem among the graduates since they recognised it as one of the burning national issues.
"We will consider all the graduates during our second phase and those who have not been selected need not panic," the minister said.
The recruitment embargo that was in force during the last two years has eliminated the slightest chance for employment for graduates in the state sector in the face of a poor response from the private sector, he said.
"This has hampered the functioning of the state institutions and revenue collection by the Inland Revenue Department at one time was also badly affected," he said.
The Minister said the new recruits will be attached to various institutions under the Ministries of Education, Agriculture and Health etc. Over 10,000 of the graduates will be recruited by the Education ministry. There are 11,294 female graduates among the 17,023 beneficiaries, selected in the first phase of the program.
"This proves that there is a large percentage of women graduates than males among the unemployed."
He assured the selections were done through a transparent procedure based on individual merit. The graduates will receive an allowance of Rs.6000 during the six month training period and during the subsequent probation period up to two years.
"We will be allocating additional funds for this projects from our next year's budget," the minister said.
The Ministry has received a total of 55,002 applications from graduates seeking public sector jobs under the program, out of which 7454 was rejected out right due to over age, not being graduated by May 20 and for failing to attend the interview. Only 41,887 was selected for processing.
The highest number of beneficiaries are from the Colombo district with 1702 followed by Kandy with 1662. 532 Jaffna district graduates and 582 from Moneragala are also among the selected.
A total of 9168 Arts, 1494 Commerce, 1412 Management, 745 Social Science, 712 Agriculture, 427 Geography, 298 Science graduates and 2767 graduates from other disciplines have made it through.
The 17,000 odd graduates have been required to tender documentary proof that they are not currently employed failing which they would stand to lose their job placements.
The names of selected graduates will be published in the today's edition of our sister paper Dinamina.
Deputy Finance Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera also spoke on the occasion.
Produced by Lake House