Colombo, Jan 4 (DailyMirror) – The Government yesterday announced a Rs 229 billion economic relief package which comprises a Rs 5000, salary hike for state workers, increase of pensions, Samurdhi and special stimulus payment for home gardens.
Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa told a press conference that the cabinet yesterday decided to grant an allowance of Rs.5000 for state workers while pensions will also be increased by Rs.5000.
In addition allowance for the disabled soldiers will be increased by Rs 5000. The owners of private companies will be asked to increase salaries of their workers.
A stimulus package was also announced for home gardens under which Rs.5000 will be paid for growing of crops in home gardens which is up to 20 perches and Rs 20,000 for those who own home gardens which extends from 20 perches to one acre.
“We encourage the people to grow food crops in their home gardens in order to avoid a scarcity of food,” the Minister said.
The package also includes compensation for the farmers if their harvest is reduced.“we anyway expect that the Maha harvest will be reduced by 30 percent to 40 percent and therefore farmers will be paid an extra Rs 25 per Kg of paddy,” he said.
In addition 15 Kgs of wheat flour will be provided at Rs.80 a kilo for estate workers while medicine and essential food items will be exempted from tax.
“The government was planning the relief package for the people who were hit by the pandemic even before the budget,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.
The Minister also announced that the cabinet decided to start dialogue with each donor country and agencies including IMF, WB and ADB.
A Minister dedicated to negotiations with each country and agency will be appointed shortly according to the Minister. “Donor agencies have issued reports on Sri Lanka which comprises mix reactions on Sri Lanka’s performance.
Accordingly, they have praised Sri Lanka’s COVID 19 vaccine programmes while coming up with some criticism,” he said.