Published On: Thu, May 7th, 2020

Sri Lanka to cut May salary of govt employees

Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has urged its employees to contribute their May month’s salary, in part or full, to lend a helping hand in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If we were to forego this, we will have a surplus income over expenditure during May,” Sri Lanka top civil servant P B Jayasundara said.

In a letter dated May 5 and addressed to all government employees, P B Jayasundera, the Secretary to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, said avenues of state revenue have been blocked due to the standstill in the international trade, export, and tourism following the coroanvirus pandemic.

“Although this may be a temporary pressure on the economy, the government is duty-bound to service its debts.

Even if we manage local debt, we have to somehow pay the foreign debt by using the limited state revenue available,” the letter stated, urging the employees to contribute their May month’s salary, in full or part, to help the government tide over the economic crisis made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jayasundera said he would donate his May’s salary for the cause.

The letter stated that nearly Rs 100 billion is needed to meet the state sector salary payments every month.

“If we were to forego this, we will have a surplus income over expenditure during May. This will narrow the budget deficit and ease our pressure on debt servicing drastically,” Jayasundera said.

Meanwhile, a new presidential task force has been set up to develop an economic model in the post-COVID-19 recovery period for different areas and specified targets.

The new model will aim at stopping the foreign exchange outflow from the education sector, the use of indigenous medicine as well as developing tourism and bringing in more foreign investment.

In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Sri Lanka has imposed import restrictions to curb the outflow of foreign exchange and urged its overseas citizens to invest in the country.

Lanka has reported 797 coronavirus cases, including nine deaths. The country had been under a 24-hour curfew since March 20, though it had been intermittently relaxed in some parts.

PTI

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