Foreign Employment Bureau contributes Rs. 7 bn to Treasury
Colombo (LNW): The Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) has made a substantial contribution of Rs. 7 billion to the Treasury this year, as Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara formally presented a Rs.4 billion cheque to President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday afternoon (29).
Given the current economic conditions in the country, this significant amount has been allocated from the operating surplus received by the Foreign Employment Bureau. The funds are earmarked for critical activities, including the procurement of essential medicines and the disbursement of government employee salaries.
Of the Rs. 7 billion, a noteworthy sum of Rs.33 billion was directly handed over to the President earlier this year. Additionally, an extra allocation of Rs. 100 million was designated for Apeksha Hospital Maharagama for medicine procurement.
While the Foreign Employment Bureau has previously contributed substantial amounts, with Rs. 3,382 million being one such instance, this Rs. 7 billion contribution represents a remarkable milestone, marking the Bureau’s highest annual contribution within a single year to date.
The occasion was attended by Secretary to the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment R. P. Wimalaweera, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau Hilmi Aziz, and a delegation of senior officials.
Following this, a comprehensive review of the Ministry of Labour and Foreign Employment’s progress in 2023 was conducted. Minister Manusha Nanayakkara briefed the President on key ongoing initiatives, including the “Garu Saru” programme aimed at dignifying individuals in the informal sector in Sri Lanka with a focus on social security programmes. The Minister also highlighted efforts to integrate these individuals into the labour market’s information system.
In addressing challenges associated with the professional guidance activities under the smart club programme of Expatriate Workers’ Associations and the implementation of a licensing system for the import of electric cars, Minister Nanayakkara aimed to enhance the inflow of foreign remittances into Sri Lanka.
The Minister shared achievements, such as receiving US$ 7.5 billion in remittances over the past 18 months, and updated the President on initiatives like the introduction of a pension system for expatriate workers and the establishment of a dedicated terminal for departing workers at the airport.
President Wickremesinghe acknowledged the pivotal role of expatriate workers’ remittances as a primary source of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka. He commended the proactive programme of the Ministry, led by Minister Manusha Nanayakkara, and praised the efforts to reform labour laws through the introduction of the new Employment Security Act.