Sri Lanka declares Fridays as holiday to promote agriculture

Colombo: Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers has approved a proposal to declare Fridays as a holiday for government employees to encourage them to carry out agricultural work to increase production in the country, local media reported on Tuesday.

The ministers endorsed two key proposals to be implemented in the public service, which included a four-day work week for employees and a five-year no-pay leave for those who were willing to migrate for foreign jobs, Xinhua reported citing a cabinet proposal. “With three non-working days, public sector employees will be encouraged to carry out agricultural work to increase production in the country,” a cabinet paper said.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe recently said the island nation is grappling with an impending food shortage. Local experts warned of a possible shortage of rice and other essential food items from September this year because of lower production. The Sri Lankan economy has been facing a crisis owing to a serious Balance of Payments (BoP) problem.

Its foreign exchange reserves are depleting rapidly and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the country to import essential consumer goods. The current Sri Lankan economic crisis is the product of the historical imbalances in the economic structure, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s loan-related conditionalities and the misguided policies of the past governments.

first published:June 14, 2022, 9:55 p.m.

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