Navin says for four years he did nothing


by Shamindra Ferdinando

Plantation Minister Navin Dissanayake has revealed that he functioned as State Administration and Reforms minister during the previous administration for a period of four years without having a single institution under his purview.

Acknowledging that he had nothing else to do during that period except learn about public servants and finding ways and means of changing their attitude, Minister Dissanayake said, urging workers to work with dedication.

Nuwara Eliya District Minister Dissanayake was addressing the staff of the Rubber Research Institute at Agalawatte on Saturday.

Dissanayake switched his allegiance to Maithripala Sirisena in late Nov. 2014 claiming that the government had deprived him of an opportunity to serve rural communities in his area.

Dissanayake cited executive presidency and corruption as the two major issues which had prompted him to break ranks with the Rajapaksa government.

Dissanayake said that during the 1960s and 70s, the Rubber Control Department had been one of the most sought after departments. In fact that had been the best place to secure employment at that time though today it had lost that position to the Customs, Minister Dissanayake said.

Minister Dissanayake said that there was no guarantee that he will continue to hold ministerial portfolios. "I’m here addressing you as the Plantation Minister. But, your positions are safer than mine. New portfolios are given all the time. Anura Priyadarshana Yapa was here. He was preceded by Mahinda Samarasinghe. I’m here today. During your time, there’ll be three or four other ministers here."

The minister paid a glowing tribute to the experts serving the four institutions coming under his purview though they could have easily secured employment with better remuneration overseas.

The UNPer said that those appointed to various boards and institutions coming under his purview had the freedom to operate without his interference. However, in respect of issues pertaining to the policy, the boards of directors could seek guidance of the political authority, Minister Dissanayake said, adding that they should be ready to accept responsibility for the decisions they made.

The minister said public servants’ salaries and pension payments accounted for vast amount of state expenditure.

While urging the staff to ensure corruption free administration at the RRI, he insisted that waste and corruption were not acceptable under any circumstances."

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