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Necessary steps to resolve teachers’ and principals’ salary anomalies- Dinesh

Minister of Education Dinesh Gunawardena reaffirmed in Parliament yesterday that necessary steps will be taken through the 2022 Budget to resolve the teachers’ and principals’ salary anomalies.

“It is our Government’s aim to transform the education system to benefit the 4.3 million student population by resolving the salary crisis, teacher and principal demands and issues facing the education sector. The COVID-19 crisis was one obstacle that prevented the reopening of schools. However, we have currently vaccinated over 220,000 teachers as a vital step in facilitating the reopening of schools. As a Government we also intend to address all requirements step-by-step in order to ensure schools could be reopened as soon as possible,” Minister Gunawardena said.

In response to concerns raised by National People’s Power (NPP) MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake under Standing Orders 27/2 in Parliament yesterday, Gunawardena said necessary steps have also been taken to issue a Gazette Notification naming the Teachers’ and Principals’ Service a closed service on the 20th of November. “As the Principals and Teachers have been persistently demanding the rectification of their salary anomalies, a special sub-committee was appointed to look into these grievances and give their recommendations. The Cabinet had also accepted the recommendations made by this Sub-Committee in their report.”

He noted that the Minister of Finance will announce the required proposal in order to implement a suitable process in November based on the recommendations submitted to the National Salaries Commission.

The Minister said the special allowance of Rs.5,000 for September and October will be paid as per directives issued by the Secretary to the Treasury in addition to their salaries. He said that even those engaged in protests have been paid their wages as no one had been discriminated.


Country needs stable economy - Fonseka

SJB Parliamentarian Sarath Fonseka said although the Government Ministers boast that the country’s economy is stable and there are no issues, the stability they claim is not visible.

“We too are happy if the promises they made come true, because then we could all live in a heavenly country. But, unfortunately these promises are limited to small talk.”

Speaking in Parliament MP Fonseka accused the Government of making false promises to the public, through its policy statement.

He charged that instead what the Government has done has made the country bankrupt and stated that the Government thinks that the people are all beggars. “They treat the people like beggars. They give them Rs. 2,000. A family of four can only live for two days. Even to receive that the people have to line up in queues.”

He said that while the people are suffering, the Government has allocated Rs. 2 billion for the construction of walking paths. “I guess the people won’t need these walking paths because the Government wants them to survive on just two meals a day.”

Fonseka also said that the Government had allocated Rs. 6 billion for the provision of Ayurveda packs, which he claimed is a waste of money because most of the items in those packs are generally available in every Sri Lankan home.

He added that it is no secret what happens to the major part of such allocations. “Invariably at least Rs. 2 billion out of this allocated 6 billion will end up in someone’s pocket.”

The MP said that since 1994 the country was on a downward spiral, adding that not a single Government had done anything to uplift the country’s economic state.

He added that despite claims by consecutive governments to develop the tourism industry, nothing has been done so far in this regard. “Over 80% of the Chinese tourists with money visit the Maldives and only the beggars come here. The tourism industry cannot be developed by this sort of tourism,” he noted.

He also said that no Government had taken productive measures to develop and improve the domestic industry and improve exports.

Govt. has successfully managed economy - State Minister

Prudent economic decisions taken by the Government in the post pandemic period have contributed immensely to the successful management of the economy even during the pandemic, State Minister Shehan Semasinghe stated in Parliament yesterday (08).

“There is a 20% increase in the export sector in 2021, in comparison to the year 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, Semasinghe pointed out. The Government successfully managed to curb unnecessary imports into the country as well,” he added.

“This Government was handed over an economy which was poorly managed by the previous Yahapalana Government. We have manged to bring stability to the economy while facing a more difficult challenge of a global pandemic. When we talk about the revenue and expenditure of the Government, we have recorded a revenue of Rs. 942.5 billion as at August 2021. Compared to 2020, it is an increase of 4%. We have given people tax relief with the view of making the economy less burdensome to the people. We hoped that those who enjoyed these tax relief would invest the money they save. The Opposition continuously alleged that tax relief would reduce Government revenue. However, within the last eight months we have been recording an 8% tax revenue increase. This increase happened as a result of the relief we offered to the people. If we did not give the tax relief, we could not have done it. We have successfully managed the economy even though there were no investments as expected due to the pandemic. There are difficulties of course, but we are taking the correct decisions which help ease the pressure on the people. In both quarters in 2021, our economic development rate has been at a healthy rate”.

Probe into finance company

State Minister Shehan Semasinghe had a exchange of words with Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP J.C. Alawathuwala over a finance company that had defaulted 9,449 depositors. Alawathuwala questioned if the said company has been taken under the purview of the Central Bank. In reply State Minister Semasinghe said legal action has been taken against the said financial institution.

“In 2018 there has been a complaint lodged against this company with the Kurunegala Police. Then in 2019, a similar complaint was made at the CBSL. After we came into power, we have taken action against this company in 2020. If the Yahapalana Government took action earlier, innocent depositors would not have been put in to distress,” Semasinghe noted.


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