Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment Daya Gamage said that former governments gave the people Samurdhi but they did not try to empower them so that they could stop depending on the government.
At a media briefing today (7 Aug) the minister said that some accuse us that by giving 600,000 people Samurdhi it shows that this government had increased the poverty in the country, “but we only give them Samurdhi for a limited period of 2 years with the intention empowering them to stand up on their own,” he added.
“Mahinda Rajapaksa government gave Samurdhi for 1.4 million people but 83 per cent of them had been receiving this handout for the past 15 years,” he said further.
He also said that the former government gave state jobs to people by expanding the department offices and added 1.6 million employees to the state sector which can function with 400,000 employees.
Further, he said that there was no separate fund to pay pensions to the retired state employees but Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe introduced a contribution pension scheme where newly joined state employees contribute to the scheme through their salaries so that pensions could be paid through that scheme.