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Sri Lanka’s opposition says asking state employees to donate salaries shows economic mismanagement

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s president, prime minister and the cabinet of ministers could’ve set up an example by foregoing their salaries and allowances before asking government servants to donate a portion of their salary, the opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) said.

This was in response to a request made by Secretary to the President Dr P B Jayasundara last night from state sector employees to donate their salary for the month of May – or a portion of it – in a bid to reduce Sri Lanka’s budget deficit.

In a letter addressed to all state institutions, Jayasundara said the government requires at least Rs 100 billion to pay monthly salaries and allowances of state workers. Acknowledging that it is “difficult for some” to donate their entire salary, he said a week’s or perhaps even a day’s salary could be contributed.

Former UNP-turned SJB MP Sujith Perera told reporters this morning that, with this formal request, the government has conceded that they cannot manage the economy. Asking state employees to donate their salary shows the lack of a robust plan to strengthen the economy going forward, he said.

“This also shows they’re unaware of the whereabouts of all the foreign aid received and how they were spent,” said Perera, adding that it is not fair to ask people to forego their salaries at a time when all Sri Lankans were suffering.

Former MP Rohini Kavirathna, who also spoke to reporters, said that those responsible for the spread of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka should be brought before the law as it could have been prevented just like the Easter attacks.

When former Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa spoke about COVID-19 in the months of January and February in Parliament, said Kaviirathna, Minister of Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi took it as a joke.

The government failed to take COVID-19 seriously from the very beginning, she added. (Colombo/May7/2020)

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