“Retirees have sacrificed a lot to build the country and many of them still serve,” he added. He was addressing the gathering at the National Pensioners’ Day celebration held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre yesterday.
The Premier said that October 8 was made the National Pensioners’ Day to appreciate and honour the retirees who sacrificed and dedicated their services to develop the motherland.
Although, pensioners loss their lives and were affected in various ways during the 30 year long war, tsunami in 2004 and youth insurrections in 1977 and 1988/89, they rendered a yeoman service to the country. I like to thank all of them for their selfless service to the nation.
They also contributed immensely to the national development process such as giant Mahaweli project, Kotte administrative city and providing water and electricity connections across the country.
Pensioners also contributed largely to create reconciliation among communities in the aftermath of the war and improving economic growth in the country as well. When we took over the country in 2005, there was a huge debt burden. However, we have been able to win the international confidence for obtaining loans and later achieved the budgetary balance to spur the economic growth.
During the past five years, the government has been able to rectify the pension anomalies on two occasions in 2015 and 2019 through budget proposals.We have managed to rectify 85 percent of the pension anomalies right now,” he added.
Moreover, prices of several essential commodities have not been increased for past five years. During the previous regime, it was white vans that came to houses. Today it is the “Suwaseriya ambulance service coming to help the people,” he added.
Public Administration, Disaster Management and Livestock Development Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara said that seniority is equal to the excels. Pensioners had been serving the country for many decades.
“We have created an environment where pensioners can stand up on their own feet and live in a dignified life.Sri Lanka has 6,35,000 retirees and Rs. 147 billion was allocated to pay them during the previous regime. Our regime increased the allocation upto Rs. 270 billion, the Minister said.
Over 80 percent of pension anomalies have been rectified during our regime,” he added.
It has been estimated that the pensions of the pensioners served 30 years is increased in 44 percent annually by this new pension conversion and therefore nearly Rs. 2,000 of additional cost will be spent per month. Budget 2019 has also allocated Rs.12 billion for the pension payments.
“We also paid attention to obtain the contribution of retirees to the national productivity and the development,” he added.