Sri Lanka to pay state workers in stages to avoid printing money

COLOMBO – Sri Lanka will pay state workers in two stages from January 2023 to manage cash and avoid printing money, Cabinet spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said.

Non-executive workers will be paid on the due date but executive officers will be paid a few days later he said.

“In December 2022, we had an income of 141 billion rupees to the treasury, but we had an expense of 154 billion rupees excluding government interest payments of 182 billion,” Gunawardana told reporters at the weekly cabinet briefing.

Accordingly, of the total revenue 88 billion rupees was for salaries, 30 billion rupees for Pension and Samurdhi, 8.7 billion for medicine.

In 2000, the government spent 152 billion rupees for salaries and pension, in 2005 it was 185 billion rupees, in 2010 it was increased to 478 billion rupees, he said.

“But in 2015 that expense increased to 716 billion rupees and by 2021 it had gone upto 1,115 billion rupees,” Gunawardana explained, noting that expenditure on salaries and pension had as increased by 633 percent since 2000, but it was not an expense the government could  cut down.

He pointed out that in in December the government had an expense of 182 billion rupees in interest payments, which was covered by printing money.

Gunawardana attributed the reason for the expense to the unusual amount of recruitments for the SOEs and unusual increments given from time to time, he said.

“If someone can explain us a miracle on how to manage this expense, we invite them to show that to us,” he added.


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