July 14, Colombo: Sri Lanka's Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne says the opposition is dreaming that the government will collapse while some officials are obstructing the development of the state.
The present government has increased the salaries of state employees and provided them with many concessions, he said.
The Minister said so while participating at a felicitation ceremony organized by the National Health Services General Association at the Peradeniya Special Children's Hospital under the patronage of the Minister.
The Association presented a felicitation award to the Minister in appreciation of his service rendered to the health service while Minister Senaratne presented awards to the people who contributed to the development of the Peradeniya Children's Hospital.
Former Deputy Director General of the hospital DRA Herath donated 13 beds to the hospital from his personal funds.
Speaking at the event, the Minister said the contribution of the trade unions is essential to build an exemplary health service.
"It is the duty of a public servant to protect the government and support it. The people were given freedom. There are protests not only in the South but also in the North. Some enjoy unlimited freedom."
The Minister said the country's development program will be continued despite the obstacles.
Minister Senaratne recalled that in the President Maithripala Sirisena and he were non-partisan. However, the President later became the leader of the SLFP and those who joined the government from the SLFP attacked the government. "They like corruption and terror. We had conflicts with the President as well since the President also joined them."
The Minister noted that the President, who is currently opposed to the 19th Amendment, was committed to implementing it.
"A tremendous amount of work has been done. In 2019, foreign debts amounted to US$ 1.9 billion. Opposition members thought the debt could not be paid and the government would collapse. 87% of the loan was from loans taken by the former President. This loan was obtained with commercial interest. Foreign assistance was obtained to pay off the debts. Otherwise it would have been a tragedy."
Dr. Senaratne said the government has to pay US$ 1.9 billion in debt in July and the opposition is waiting to see how the government will collapse being unable to pay off its debts.
"The debt crisis was created during their rule. We stopped selling state property and took steps to lease. We have begun discussions to keep Mattala airport a joint venture with India. There are government shortcomings. Some officials hinder the government's development work as well as certain official duties. The Audit Department was strengthened and the Government introduced the Right to Information Act."
He noted that specialists and doctors support to make pro-poor health policy implemented in government hospitals a success. However, a small number of doctors are trying to sabotage the program.
"Petitions are being filed. There are protests. Instead of treating patients, they work in the evening. Some doctors, who do not treat patients, have their own private medical clinic and work full time in politics,” said Minister Rajitha Senaratne.