SLPP presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said having plans and policies were not enough unless the leaders were unable to execute them.
Speaking at the National Convention of Organisations of expatriate workers' family members in Colombo, Mr. Rajapaksa said the country needed leadership and a team that can execute strategies properly.
He said one of the main reasons why Sri Lankans work abroad was to provide a better future for their children.
“You work abroad to ensure a sound education and development of your children, to see them do a better job than yours. What will happen if children went astray at the end? These issues are results of lack of national policies in the country," he said.
He said the revenue earned by Sri Lanka through expatriate workers was US$7 billion in 2018. "This was about 8% of the GDP. Sri Lankans work in about 108 foreign countries today. Majority of them are employed in the Middle Eastern countries. A requirement of those who have ceased their employment is a pension or a similar allowance. A mechanism should be in place for current employees as well," Mr.Rajapaksa said.
He said one of the main concerns of expatriate workers was a house of their own and that they should have access to purchase it at a reasonable price. "We are studying on this to provide houses at an affordable price," he said.
The issues faced by expatriates including violations of their human rights should be addressed and the intervention of the Sri Lankan missions was essential in this regard, he said. He also said only trained and skilled workers should be allowed to work abroad. (Lahiru Pothmulla)