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“Govt ushers in new era of development after economic crisis”

Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana opens new Eastern Province Postal Administration Complex

by Gayan Abeykoon
January 8, 2024 1:07 am 0 comment
Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana opens the Eastern Province Postal Administration Complex. Also present are State Ministers Shantha Bandara, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan and S. Viyalendran.

The new Eastern Province Postal Administration Complex in Batticaloa was vested with the public recently by Transport, Highways and Mass Media, Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardhana.

The complex has been built at a cost of Rs.450 million under the provisions of the Department of Posts. The five-storey postal administration complex will house several departments including the Eastern Deputy Postmaster General’s Office, Sub-Local Postal Superintendent’s Office, District Administrative Officer’s Office and District Accountant’s Office and Postal Training Institute.

The Minister addressing those present at the opening of the new building said: “Many development projects, including this building complex, had to be temporarily stopped due to the economic crisis in the country.

“After I accepted the responsibility as the Minister in charge of Postal affairs, I submitted a Cabinet paper at a time when approving money for development projects was stopped, as this was very important. The Cabinet approved the funds for it. The construction was carried out in a cost-effective manner, without private contracts, by the State Development and Design Corporation and the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB).

“From 2020 to 2023, the country faced an economic crisis where we could not afford any development expenditure.

“All Governments spent more than the country’s income, acquired both foreign and local loans to cover the budget gap, sold state property, and printed unlimited amounts of money, resulting in a massive economic crisis and debt crisis. Our country had to go bankrupt as a country unable to pay its debts.

“All the development projects carried out by Governments in the past have been carried out by taking large foreign loans. In the last two years, the loans have not been repaid. In order to solve the huge economic crisis, a debt repayment programme was prepared with the support of international organizations, friendly countries, local and foreign economic experts.

“The President has been able to reach a final agreement on this by personally discussing with the leaders of many countries. Accordingly, 37 percent of the debt to be paid is planned to be paid in the next five years. Another 51 percent is due between six and 20 years. Another 12 percent is to be paid after 20 years.

“Therefore, it should be understood that whoever comes to power in Sri Lanka will be obliged to pay these debts continuously until 2048. For that, a proper programme should be prepared each year. Otherwise, it will not be possible to run a Government for more than two weeks. Therefore, through this programme prepared by the President and the Government with great dedication and hard work, this year, there will be a new beginning in the development of the country.

“Accordingly, funds are being allocated for the completion of the road development works that have stopped halfway in all regions of the country.

“Rs. 50 million has been allocated for the development of rural roads. During this year, 1,500 km of roads are going to be carpetted.

Fifty-four percent of the revenue received by the Postal Department is currently generated in the Western Province. At the same time, the income earned from the Eastern Province should be increased to reach at least 10 percent of the target. In order to reach those goals, we are working to turn the country into a working country once again this year.”

State Minister of Mass Media Shantha Bandara, State Minister of Rural Road Development Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, State Minister for Food Security and Trade S. Viyalendran, Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media Anusha Palpita, Batticaloa District Secretary J.J. Muralidaran, Postmaster General Ruwan Sathkumara and a large number of guests were present.

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