Meeting With World Bank Representatives
Ms.Chiyo Kanda, the Permanent Representative of the World Bank of Sri Lanka, commends Sri Lanka for its commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of workers in the face of the current global epidemic. She also stated at a recent meeting with the Minister of Labor Mr. Nimal Siripala De Silva, that she believes the Sri Lanka has the strength to sustain the country’s economy in the face of emerging crises. Mr. Faris Hafad Zervos, Resident Director, World Bank of Sri Lanka (Faris Hafad – Zervos), Mr. Thomas Walker, Senior Economist (Social Security and Employment) and Mr. Mapa Pathirana, Secretary to the Ministry of Labor were also present at the discussion which was held at the Ministry of Labour.There was a lengthy discussion on how the Covid epidemic has affected the labour and working class in Sri Lanka, as well as how it has affected the industry sector in this country.
While speaking on the occasion, Mr. Nimal Siripala Silva said that despite this situation, the government is working with the employer party to provide full salaries to public employees as well as private sector employees.The Minister pointed out that the Tripartite Covid Task Force, formed by employers, Trade Unions and the Department of Labour, is constantly meeting to find solutions to the problems, crises and issues that affect private sector workers.
The Minister briefed the World Bank representatives on the challenges and issues of bringing about 48,000 Sri Lankans, especially those working abroad; who hope to come to Sri Lanka. The Minister said that the second wave of Covid had arisen at a time when all arrangements had been made to bring them back to Sri Lanka as soon as possible. Therefore, the government has taken steps to bring them in groups in consultation with the government’s Covid Task Force.
The World Bank representatives pointed out that the government of Sri Lanka has accepted as a matter of policy that it is appropriate to work out a pension scheme for the private sector in Sri Lanka as a good step. They also said that they are happy about that. Thomas Walker, Senior Economist (Social Security and Employment), World Bank Sri Lanka Office, said that the World Bank is ready to provide the necessary technical assistance at any time to make this social security program for private sector employees a success.