The government would be able to absorb another 800,000 low income families into the Samurdhi programme by next year increasing the number of Samurdhi recipient families to 2.2 million by 2020, Labour, Trade Union Relations and Social Empowerment Minister Daya Gamage said yesterday.
He added that he expects to generate an annual revenue of Rs. 500 billion through Samurdhi beneficiaries by improving their family income through domestic industries, food crops, fruits and vegetable cultivation for local and foreign markets and self employment projects.
Addressing a batch of newly recruited Samurdhi Development Officers at the ministry auditorium, Minister Gamage said it was sad to learn that there was no proper programme to train Samurdhi Development Officers on the social empowerment aspect.“The lack of training had stalled the social empowerment of Samurdhi beneficiaries and thereby the use of Samurdhi benefits to improve their family incomes,” Minister Gamage pointed out.
He said Sri Lanka cannot be developed by obtaining endless foreign loans but through increasing export income and developing the domestic industry and added there was a capacity to launch at least one small scale industry in any village in Sri Lanka and afresh in a district two middle level industry.
Samurdhi beneficiaries must be determined to improve their skills and training in order to obtain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) certificate which will enable them to secure a better job in either the state or private sector, Minister Gamage said. (Sandun A Jayasekera)