Feb 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena said the country is faced with the challenge of raising economic growth this year and called on all the public servants to join hands to transform the economy for the benefit of the country.
"This is an election year. While politicians are fighting this election this year, we are confronted with the challenge of raising the country's economic growth rate, which is an achievable goal this year," the President said inviting the entire public service to join hands to make this year a changing point in the economy of the country.
"If not, we would have to face a bitter economic situation. Therefore, developmental activities and public services should never be halted due to election campaigns," he said.
The President said that the government should liberate people from the prevailing situation and develop a righteous society and the country.
President Sirisena made this remark at a special meeting held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo today (11) to enlighten the public officials and the political authority about the objectives of the Gramashakthi People's Movement for this year.
Under the Gramashakthi People's Movement (Village Empowerment Movement) poverty alleviation program, which is being implemented under the guidance of the President, special projects towards the common benefits of people are being conducted by the President's office.
The Village Empowerment Movement has been successfully implemented island-wide today as one of the major rural poverty alleviation programs. This program is unique in creating a person who is free from poverty and self-replicating through the production process.
This year, the President intends to expand the program further and for the purpose, the week from February 18th to 24th has been declared as 'Gramashakthi Week'.
The National Program on Drug Abuse, the National Kidney Prevention Program, the National Environmental Program, the Let's Protect Children National Program, the Sustainable School Program, National Food Program, the National Nutrition Program, the National Program on Empowering Disabled Persons and Adults, the Cultural Re-awakening Program conducted through the Presidential Secretariat for public benefit and the programs implemented are expected to expand further this year.
These programs, implemented in accordance with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals, aim to achieve SDGs and a poverty free Sri Lanka by 2025.
The launch of the program in 2019 was also augmented by further awareness of the political authority and state machinery of these national programs.
Speaking at the event, President said the 3% to 4% economic growth rate will not be good for the country and it will be worse if it falls further this year due to political reasons.
The President urged all to fulfill their commitment to uplift the living standards of the country's 21 million people by making the country more productive. While emphasizing the importance of improving the efficiency of the public service, the President outlined the importance of targeted work and the maximum use of the available provisions.
Speaking on the national drug prevention program that has been widely implemented island wide, the President said that there is a strong law enforcement program aimed at curbing drug use and a program to free those addicted.
The government Ministers, Governors, chief ministers and line ministers representing provincial councils, secretaries of provincial councils, district secretaries, divisional secretaries and public officers representing the related fields were also present at the event.