ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s public service has been mis-managed by politicians by unplanned recruitments and the extension of the retirement age will compound the problem, opposition leader Sajith Premadasa said.
“We oppose the move to blame state workers because the problem in the public service was created by opportunistic actions of the government,” Premadasa said in a statement.
“It is the government itself which had made the public service a burden through contradictory policies, no one else.”
About 53,000 graduates had been recruited to the public service by the current administration and another 100,000 persons who had passed grade 08 was also to have been recruited. It is not clear how many were recruited.
“Though we also want young people to get jobs, the results of unplanned recruitments are now plain to all,” Premadasa said.
Premadasa’s comments came after Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said the state workers were an unbearable burden to the public who had to pay for their upkeep.
Premadasa said Rajapaksa’s plan to extend the retirement age of state workers up t 65 years will further compound the problem.
Rajapaksa’s comments however addressed a key contributor to Sri Lanka’s lack of competitiveness, current account deficit of the budget, high debt.
No Finance Minister until Rajapaksa had dared to admit that there was a public sector crisis for over 20 years, since the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna opposed public sector VRS schemes in a 2001 to 2004 administration led by Sri Lanka’s United National Party.
At each election since then able bodied unemployed graduates who had been educated mainly at the expense of tax payers at state universities fasted in front of the Colombo railway station demanding tax money in the form of non-existent lifetime jobs and pensions without any apparent embarrassment.
In 2015 when the party returned to power public sector salaries were raised as part of an election promise. (Colombo/Nov15/2021)