Treasury orders ministries to further reduce budget allocationsView(s):
By Damith Wickramasekara
The Finance Ministry has issued a fresh circular, directing ministries to further slash their budgets by six percent.
It was earlier announced that President Ranil Wickremesinghe had directed ministries to reduce their budgetary allocations by five percent. The Treasury, however, has now directed this cut to be increased to six percent.
The objective of the cut is to save the Treasury Rs. 300 billion annually, a senior Finance Ministry official told the Sunday Times.
Under the new instructions issued by the Finance Ministry, Ministry Secretaries have to submit monthly reports to the Treasury explaining how they cut down their expenses to meet the new target.
Reducing all but the most essential recruitments, cutting down on overtime payments and halting any new projects are among the measures to be taken.
The drastic measures are being introduced because the ministries have failed to bring in the expected revenue, the official said.
So drastic are the curbs on new recruitment that even a Ministry Secretary can no longer recommend any official for hiring without the recommendation of a special committee that includes representatives of the President’s office, the Auditor General’s Department, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Administration.
The Government has also decided that one percent out of the funds saved from the slashing of allocations in each ministry will go to the health sector to purchase essential medicines and medical equipment.
The Treasury has also directed that any position that has not been filled over the past five years and whose duties had been covered by others be scrapped from the cadre. Positions that have remained vacant for three years will not be filled until next year.
There are 60,000 graduates who had been recruited in a haphazard manner while a further 35,000 had been recruited for lower-level jobs. Many among both groups don’t have proper duties. Accordingly, any vacancies that arise in the state sector will in the future be filled by these groups wherever possible, the official added.
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