Written by Staff Writer
18 Jun, 2018 | 11:37 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – Has the Samurdhi fund which was established to alleviate poverty in the country achieved its purpose?
There are 1,425,661 families receiving the benefits of the Samurdhi program which commenced as a social security program in the year 1996. This value covers 23% of the total number of family units in the country. 42 billion was allocated for the Samurdhi program through the budget this time around.
Speaking at the UNP May Day rally on the 6th May Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said the beneficiaries of the Samurdhi Fund are not receiving the money through the Samurdhi Bank. The Prime Minister stated that there is a Samurdhi Bank which no one looks after. He said all the banks are regulated by the Central Bank but this particular bank is not, therefore, it will come under the Central Bank.
The All Ceylon Samurdhi Development and Agrarian Research officers union responded to the statement made by the prime minister regarding the Samurdhi Bank coming under the Central Bank. General Secretary of the Union, S.A.D Jagath Kumara stated that the Central bank is a place that was robbed in broad daylight and that the governor appointed by the Prime Minister was the person who was behind it.
The Samurdhi Development and Agrarian Research Officers Union also charges that there is a plan to invest money of the Samurdhi fund in the Rural Development Bank and to grant loans. According to Jagath Kumara, a certain minister has received instructions to invest this money in various banks.
Furthermore, he stated that the government has a plan to provide bigger loans through the RDBs than what they provide through the Samurdhi Bank. Jagath Kumara said if the Samurdhi beneficiaries receive these loans they have no objection.
He said that this is an attempt to invest 200 billion in the Regional Development Banks, and destroy the Samurdhi Fund by providing loans to the henchmen of the United National Party.
On the 11th of May convening a media briefing, the deputy governor of the Central Bank said that the Central Bank does not have any plans to bring the Samurdhi Bank under it’s purview. The Deputy Governor added that a committee has been appointed, headed by the secretary to the ministry of economic affairs to regulate the activities of the Samurdhi Management Committee.
There are 27,000 officials in the Samurdhi Fund. On average, the ratio of Samurdhi officers to Samurdhi beneficiary families is 1:52.
Why have the various Samurdhi programs that are implemented not able to eradicate poverty in our country?
Once you’re economically stable after benefiting off the Samurdhi Program, is there a mechanism to stop receiving the benefits further?
Speaking to News 1st Director General of the Samurdhi Development Department, J Dadallage stated that there is a requirement for a program to remove people who are no longer eligible to receive the samurdhi benefits.
He stated that a recent survey identified that there are over 150,000 people in the samurdhi program who are no longer eligible to receive its benefits. Further, he added that there was a public outcry at that time saying that the Samurdhi is going to be slashed and eventually no one was removed.
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