- Says MCC grant, loans from WB, ADB and AIIB show confidence in Govt.’s sound economic policies
By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent
Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday told Parliament the Government had achieved stable growth and received $ 1.2 billion in foreign assistance recently to underscore the sound economic policies followed.
According to the Minister, the country has entered into the correct path despite the criticism of those who cannot tolerate success.
“The reason for this achievement is the collective effort that left out personal agendas. Today, we were able to stand against a terrorist threat successfully while controlling unemployment. We have maintained the GDP at a higher level,” he said.
Disclosing the support received from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Minister held that Sri Lanka will continue to receive foreign assistance. “During the past few months, we received over $ 1,200 million in foreign aid. A few weeks before the World Bank gave us a loan of $ 70 million for rural development program. The IMF approved $ 164 million in May, US Millennium Challenge Corporation $ 480 million, $ 50 million from the Asian Development Bank to support small and medium enterprises, $ 280 million from the AIIB for Colombo City development and the landslide prevention. All these are given to us based on the economic policies but not on the personal relationships we maintain,” held the Minister.
Stressing on the importance of increasing exports and production, Minister held that Rs. 48,000 million worth programs are taking place under Gamperaliya program. “This year 98,600 programs under Gamperaliya were launched. In addition, we are to assist 800 temples with the allocation of Rs. 8,000 million. Using this money, we will help to develop religious harmony among all groups. By the end of this month, we will give an addition interim allowance of Rs. 2,500 to all State sector employees in addition to the cost of living allowance of Rs. 7,800 they receive. When we took over the salary of a peon stood at Rs. 11,730. We have increased it to Rs. 24,250. The salary of a nurse was increased from Rs. 15,620 to Rs. 32,525, and the salary of a graduate teacher from Rs. 16,100 to Rs. 33,300, and a salary of a Ministry Secretary from Rs. 47,515 to Rs.98,650,” he said.
According to the Minster, the pensioners have also got their pension benefits increased between Rs. 2,800 and Rs. 20,000. “Since January this year, the ration allowance of military personnel was increased to Rs. 19,350 and Rs.23,231. The commando allowance was increased to Rs. 5,000. There are 32,000 registered differently-abled people. The Government gives them Rs. 3,000 each on a monthly basis. Staring from next month they will get Rs. 5,000,” he added.