Docs to give govt. a breather

Following talks with President, Minister

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday following the meeting of its Central Committee announced that it would wait a little longer and allow authorities more time to meet its demands.

Addressing the media at its headquarters in the OPA building, Assistant Secretary of the GMOA, Dr. Haritha Aluthge said they had received favourable responses from President Maithripala Sirisena, Minister of Health, Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of International Trade, Malik Samarawickrama and several parliamentarians.

Dr. Aluthge said it was the GMOA which had taken the lead in disclosing the adverse impact the budget would have on public sector employees. "We expressed our strong concerns regarding the government’s decision to scrap the non contributory pension," he said.

The doctors’ union has also asked that the government take over the Malabe private medical College and refrain from signing the Indo- Lanka agreement on Economic and Technological Cooperation Agreement (ETCA).

Dr. Aluthge said however that during discussions Minister Samarawickrama had said that the agreement would be finalised and signed in May. However the Minister had pledged to keep the union informed of the pact. GMOA representatives would be included in talks regarding the agreement. The minister had stated that the Sri Lankan public health service would not be affected by the agreement.

He said that the government had reduced the 50 percent tax imposed on electric cars to five percent once more. It had also agreed to provide the vehicle permit with tax concessions to medical officers at the time of their retirement in accordance with its decision to provide the permit only twice during the entire working career.

Dr. Aluthge said that the government had also agreed to discuss revisions to the pension system.

He added however that the union would continue with its awareness programmes and group discussions with parliamentarians, public and clergy.

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