ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s government made payments to beneficiaries who have signed up for the new consolidated welfare scheme Aswesuma, a government official said today (20).
“As another phase of “Aswesuma” a payment of Rs.799.5 million for 113’713 beneficiaries have been paid for the month of July,” State Minister of Finance Shehan Semasinghe tweeted Tuesday, September 20 morning.
“The banks will credit the beneficiary accounts,” he said. “Accordingly 1’162’245 beneficiaries have been paid Rs. 7’278 millions as at today by the government.”
“Upon completion of surveys related to appeals and objections payments will be made to all beneficiaries,” Semasinghe said.
Semasinghe said on August 28 that investigations into appeals made by applicants will be sped up.
If there are beneficiaries who have received benefits by giving false information, after verifying, the Welfare Benefits Board will take action to recover the money given and take legal action, he said.
The government will ensure that no eligible citizen is left behind, he added.
Over 1,280,000 families who have been receiving the existing Samurdhi welfare benefits have applied for Aswesuma, out of which 887,653 have qualified, according to Semasinghe.
There has been criticism that Samurdhi was earlier given to mainly politically connected persons, while many poor people could not get the payments unless they worked on election campaigns.
President Ranil Wickremesinghe briefed USAID Administrator, Samantha Power, on the efforts made by the Sri Lankan Government in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the welfare programs through the introduction of the Aswesuma initiative when he met her in New York yesterday (19).
Sri Lanka started Aswesuma, its new consolidated welfare payments scheme, after a large number of people were tipped into poverty when the rupee collapsed from the most aggressive macro-economic policy (rate cuts and tax cuts) employed by the country’s economic bureaucrats since a money printing central bank was set up. (Colombo/September20/2023)