The ministry said that the Programme on Decentralization of Consular Services within the purview of the Foreign Ministry is underway.
Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage points out that this Programme is being conducted under the instructions and guidance of the Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, in accordance with the scheme by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to bring public services to the village.
Secretary Colombage also points out that the three Regional Consular offices in Kandy, Trincomalee and Kurunegala districts have been dedicated to public service in the previous ten months under the present Government and that preliminary action has been taken to establish two other Regional offices in Badulla and Ampara districts before the end of this year.
“More than two thousand people from different areas of the country arrive at the Consular Division of the Foreign Ministry in Colombo daily to obtain Consular services and the Ministry has been obliged to limit public visits and impose restrictions for not having the services rendered without a prior appointment on account of the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
“In view of providing relief to those who become uncomfortable due to this condition, the Foreign Ministry has taken action to establish Regional Consular offices at provincial level as one of its initial steps. These Regional Consular Services are able to perform special services including facilitating payment of compensation, unpaid salaries, social security entitlements for the Sri Lankan migrant employees and their next of kin, bringing back to the country the dead bodies of Sri Lankan nationals who have passed away, authenticating the certificates and documents, getting the fishing vessels and fishermen in foreign custody released, registration of births and deaths occurring abroad and assisting in bringing back the deserted Sri Lankans abroad.
“Preliminary activities are being carried out to establish the Badulla and Ampara offices within this year amidst financial difficulties, on the instructions given by President Rajapaksa to make public services closer to people in villages.”
Secretary Colombage further mentioned that the Provincial Councils and Local Government Authorities also provide a huge support for this program.