ECONOMYNEXT – Sections of Sri Lanka’s state sector that does not generate revenue must not disrupt those who do, government MP Vajira Abeywardena said, calling on unions not to sabotage ongoing efforts to increase wages for both state and private sector workers.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday November 07, Abeywardena said “shouting and holding placards on the streets” achieves nothing and only results in the disruption of economic activity, which the MP insinuated ends up financing their salaries.
“By this time last year, we were living in a society that would break into applause at the sight of a fuel bowser or a gas truck. Now that that’s ended and people have been given the opportunity to get on the streets, using the same old political tactics to bring down the country would be a tragedy indeed,” said Abeywardena.
“The entire state machinery as a group doesn’t generate revenue. Some do, but the majority doesn’t. They must not disrupt those who generate income for them. Shouting and holding placards on the streets achieves nothing. All it does is block whatever you’re already getting,” he said.
The United National Party (UNP) MP said President Ranil Wickremesinghe has clearly indicated that he wishes to increase state sector salaries and also wants to create an environment that will facilitate a corresponding pay rise in the private sector.
“So why try to sabotage it now?” said Abeywardena.
The MP also noted that there are several government officials working in a single village, including the Grama Niladhari, a Development Officer, an agriculture officer, Samurdhi official, a family planning expert and a public health inspector There are 14,022 grama niladhari units, 377 Pradeshiya Sabhas and 25 district offices.
“If this mechanism had been run correctly, economic growth would’ve shot up. There is an issue there. They know it; we know it.
“The World Bank and other donors also see this. Even as they give us funds they tell us there is a weakness here,” the MP said. (Colombo/Nov08/2023)