17,000 more graduates to be given employment
within next few months – Prof. G. L. Peiris
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, during his period in office, has provided employment to 60,000 graduates in teaching and other spheres, even against World Bank advice and 14,000 more graduates were expected to be given employment as Jana Sabah Secretaries and another 3,000 as aesthetic teachers during the next few months, said Prof. G. L. Peiris, Minister of Export Development and International Trade.
"This makes the present regime one that had done most to the graduates. While the previous government took steps to contain the public service on World Bank and IMF advice, the present President had been able to expand it up to 1.1 million public servants. As a result one in 17 employed people in Sri Lanka belonged to the Government sector.", the Minister said at a political campaign meeting for university graduates of the Hambantota District organized by the Sri Lanka Nidhahas Graduates’ Association, at the Medamulana residence of the President.
Chamal Rajapaksa, Minister of Ports, Civil Aviation and Water Management and the leader of the UPFA Hambantota Candidate List and other graduates of the area also attended the meeting.
Prof. Peiris said that one more step had to be taken for the massive mandate given by the people to the President on January 26 to be implemented. That was to provide a two thirds majority to the Government at the forthcoming General Elections on April 8. He said that such a majority was needed in Parliament as it was the institution that ensured the implementation of all the powers and responsibilities of the Presidency along with all allocation of financial outlays for development projects and the passage of the relevant Acts. If such a mandate was not forthcoming, the Government would be forced to rely on smaller parties and such a situation would be an impediment to proper implementation of Government policies.
He said that while it took more than 18 years for the previous Governments to achieve a per capita income of US $ 1,000, it took only four years for the Rajapaksa regime to increase it to US $ 2,270, which was a clear indication of the economic progress and percolation of benefits throughout the country. And what mattered most was that such benefits have been channelled into the rural areas as well.
Prof. Peiris noted that Hambantota was the only district in Sri Lanka that was directly exposed to the international arena on account of the fact that there would be an international airport and a harbour, situated within the same District. He said that a US $ 197 million agreement had been signed last week with China in respect to the construction of an international airport at Mattala and an additional sum of US $ 100 million had also been pledged by China. He also pointed out that applications had already been forwarded to the Bureau of Investment for the establishment of 35 large-scale factories in the Hambantota District so far.
Among others who spoke on the occasion were Chamal Rajapaksa, Ranjith de Silva, Secretary, Ministry of Ports and Civil Aviation, Priyath Banduwickrema, Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, R.G.Ranasinghe, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Political Science, University of Peradeniya, Ranjan Bandara, Private Secretary to the Chief Minister, Uva Province and Suranga Pradeep, Saman Jagathkumara and Thushara Tillekeratne, District President, District Treasurer and National Vice-President respectively of the Sri Lanka Nidhahas Graduates’ Association. Also in attendance was Sampath Dissanayake, Private Secretary to Prof. Peiris and many graduates from the Hambantota District.