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* Budget 2022 has neglected women who form 52% of the population but allocated millions for road development -Eran
Mon, Nov 22, 2021, 10:57 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 22, Colombo: Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne pointed out that although 52% of the population in Sri Lanka are women, their labor force participation is a mere 35%. He said it is imperative that favorable conditions to increase their contribution needs to be created but the Budget has not addressed the issue.

“Under an SJB government we will provide maternity leave cost subsidy to the private sector to increase women’s labor force participation,” he said.

He noted that today, more than 50% of the graduates from the universities are women. At the same time, women are the ones who mostly get through competitive exams for higher posts in the civil service, administrative service and the teaching service.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Opposition Leader’s office on Sunday Mr. Wickramaratne alleged that the 2022 budget did not provide anything significant for women, reiterating concerns on how the government had abolished the cabinet level women’s ministry established for the first time by the UNP government after 1977.

Even at a critical time such as now, with the drop in overall domestic production, disruption of agricultural production and lack of foreign investment due to the economic mismanagement of the government, it is women who are engaged in sectors that bring in the most foreign exchange to the country.

He said that 80% of the employees in export-oriented garment industry is made up of women. Women also dominate the tea industry, and the majority of our expatriate workers are women. These industries and remittances are the largest foreign exchange contributors.

He further said that poor economic management of this government has increased the burden of women as housewives as well. Inflation, which is calculated annually needs to be computed monthly due to skyrocketing prices of vegetables and other essential goods. Mr. Wickramaratne also said that people have been waiting in long queues for gas, Kerosene, petrol, milk powder and other food items. There is a developing shortage of goods even if you have the money to purchase. But the government has been boasting since 2020 that the country is moving towards a “manufacturing economy”.

Further, he reiterated that women’s rights and representation would require new laws making it mandatory to allocate 25% of the representation in the Provincial Council and Parliament for women, just as is the case of local government representation.

Budget 2022 proposes to take over 8.5 billion rupees out of the 11 billion rupees held by the Central Bank from the Perpetual Treasuries Ltd on the alleged involvement in Bond scam. He warned that the government should follow a judicial process on the bond scam fulfilling their campaign promise.

Responding to a question from a journalist, Mr Wickramaratne said that the previous government had pursued many corruption related cases but more recently the present government gets the Attorney General to withdraw their cases and free suspects from appearing in courts.

Referring to the country’s future development by attracting investment, he said investor confidence has eroded due to the absence of rule of law, the violation of human rights and indisciplined fiscal management. With or without the IMF the right policies need to be followed. As the global investor community has lost confidence in the present government they will need IMF endorsement concluded Mr Eran Wickramaratne.

 

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