Written by Staff Writer
31 Jan, 2019 | 10:21 pm
COLOMBO(News 1st) – The Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Finance H.G. Sumanasena was appointed as the Acting Director General of Customs today(January 31).
The appointment had been made as the officials of the customs protested against the appointment of a retired Navy officer as the Director General of Customs. The Ministry of Finance stated that the appointment was made by the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, R.H.S. Samarathunga.
Cabinet approval was granted to appoint Retired Rear Admiral Shamal Fernando as the Director General of the Customs on 29th of this month.
Opposing this appointment customs officers launched a large scale strike. However, the duties at the Katunayake Airport, Air Freight Unit and the Export Unit were carried out routinely.
Meanwhile, the cabinet decided that P.M.S. Charles was to be transferred to the Revenue Monitoring Unit of the Finance Ministry.
UPFA MP Bandula Gunawardena stated that the president was against this appointment from the beginning but the opposition made this an opportunity to challenge the president’s power and administration in an attempt to manipulate state sector institutions.
Daysairi Jayasekara the General Secretary of SLFP added “when appointing Director Generals to the Sri Lanka customs a certain protocol is followed, to appoint them from the Sri Lanka Administration Service or from within the department itself.” He noted that the previous government was responsible for the reduction of certain tariffs resulting in a loss of over Rs. 131 billion to the government. This was comprehended to be a fault of P.M.S Charles by Mangala Samaraweera and led to her removal from the position.
The Customs Union stated that they will continue the strike until the former Director is re-appointed. Secretary Vipula Minuwanpitiya further added that throughout the strike, the Airport, Air Freight Unit and Export unit will function properly.
Shehan Semasinghe, UPFA MP added that a similar incident occurred at the Department of Inland Revenue. “This is the result of the relationship between Mangala Samaraweera and the Defense Secretary.” He said concluding his views.
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