Imposing a 10 per cent cut on ministry expenditure will be among a series of measures aimed at raising Rs 65 billion needed for relief for persons affected by the ongoing drought and the recent floods and landslides, a senior Treasury official said. Treasury Secretary Dr. R.H.S. Samaratunga told the Sunday Times in order to raise funds budgetary measures will be taken.
‘We will also be re-collecting funds which have not been utilized for projects and funds remaining from ministries will be made use’, he explained.
The rest of the funds to meet the shortfall will be raised in a form of a loan, he said. Dr Samaratunga said the government has approved the proposal to raise extra funds for compensation and relief work.
The funds, in addition to the payment of compensation will be made used to reconstruct the damaged infrastructure including schools, roads and government buildings and also made use to cultivate agricultural crops damaged.
Secretary Ministry of Disaster Management S.S. Miyanwala told the Sunday Times that they will be discussing on Tuesday with the Treasury on providing relief to half a million families affected by the drought.
The Sunday Times learns that despite assurances from foreign countries and international organisations the response had been poor.
Nineteen districts have been hit by the drought with nine of them seriously affected.
He said the government hopes to provide dry rations amounting to Rs 5,000 for a month for the drought affected families. ‘We are planning to ask the Treasury for Rs 2.5 billion required to start the drought relief programme from this month onwards’, he said. Over 1.1 million persons have been hit by the on going drought situation while over 800,000 persons were affected by the floods and landslides in May.
The drought conditions have affected mostly the north, north western, north central and eastern provinces while the floods and landslides hit the Kegalle, Ratnapura, Kalutara districts and the entire southern province.