Sri Lankan government publishes notice in Official Gazette to declare public services essential

Colombo, Aug 4 (PTI) The Sri Lankan government has declared several sectors including fuel and power supply as essential services to ensure normal life in the crisis-hit country is not affected .

An extraordinary notification in the Official Gazette published on Wednesday by Secretary to the President Saman Ekanayake said that services provided by any public enterprise, government department, local authority, cooperative society or any such branch were essential to the life of the community.

The notification by order of President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the supply of electricity, the distribution of petroleum products and fuel, as well as the maintenance, reception, feeding of care and treatment of patients in hospitals and the dispensaries have been declared an essential public service, Newsfirst Portal Lanka reported.

Meanwhile, economists from Verite Research Sri Lanka Economic Policy Group (SLEPG) have called on authorities to avoid using Samurdhi as a determinant of eligibility for social benefits and instead consider electricity consumption to target vulnerable groups. , as the latter method was superior.

The recommendation, put forward by leading economists from the political group, argued that given the poor performance of the Samurdhi program and a large number of citizens made vulnerable by the crisis, ensuring effective targeting must be a key priority for any new measures of social protection, Daily Mirror Lanka reported.

The last guidance note therefore recommended that a household electricity consumption threshold of 60 kWh per month determines eligibility for social benefits.

It is one of several indicators previously identified by the Sri Lankan government through a gazette notification in 2019 as potential components of a proxy means test to identify low-income families. for social benefit payments.

Sri Lanka has seen months of massive unrest due to the worst economic crisis and many blame the former government led by Rajapaksa and his family for mismanaging the island nation’s economy.

The government declared bankruptcy in mid-April by refusing to honor its international debt.

The island nation of 22 million is in the grip of an unprecedented economic crisis, the worst in seven decades, leaving millions struggling to buy food, medicine, fuel and other essential products.

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