Controversy surrounds a lavish Rs.10.4 million foreign training tour, to be indulged in by 11 top level officials of the Ceylon Electricity Board, in Vienna, Austria in November this year, despite a recent government circular to minimise the use of state funds.
The group, comprising seven CEB deputy general managers, three chief engineers and an accountant will participate in a six-day training workshop in Vienna from November 9 to 13.
The workshop will be conducted on Certified Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for Professional and Practitioner for a fee of US$ 76,620 (Rs.10.4 million).
CEB inside sources told Daily Mirror that this was an ‘utter’ waste of state funds, as such a training course could easily be conducted in Sri Lanka for much less.
It could even be arranged for a foreign instructor to conduct a workshop here for just US$ 100 per trainee, they said.
Moreover, two or three of the officers are to retire at the beginning of 2016, and spending such a vast sum on training those who will retire in two months is appalling.
The sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said the CEB management had ignored government circular No. CSA/9/3/(i) issued by the Presidential Secretariat on October 1 (and based on a Cabinet decision of 16. 09. 2015) to minimise the use of state funds.
Also, a letter from the secretary to the Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy -- to the CEB and six other departments -- had referred to the Cabinet decision to reduce foreign trips and tours of state officials.
Responding to the allegations, CEB General Manager M. C. Wickramasekara said that if staff training was deemed necessary by a selection committee, it had to be carried out regardless.
The GM said any CEB union was welcome to sit down and discuss such matters with him. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)