Sunday, July 3, 2022

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Sri lankan foreign missions become white elephants 

Sri lankan foreign missions in several countries have become white elephants spending local tax payers money for  much needed foreign exchange lavishly without bringing any benefits to the island nation , internal audit report revealed.     

The  Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has initiated action to temporarily close down the Sri Lanka Embassy in Oslo, the Kingdom of Norway; the Sri Lanka Embassy in Baghdad, the Republic of Iraq; and the Sri Lanka Consulate General in Sydney, the Commonwealth of Australia; with effect from 30 April 2022.

The decision with regard to the temporary closure of the two Missions and Post was taken by the Government of Sri Lanka following careful deliberation. 

It is part of a general restructuring of Sri Lanka’s diplomatic representation overseas, undertaken by the Foreign Ministry in the context of the current economic situation and foreign currency constraints faced by the country. 

Massive expenditure has been recorded at Sri Lanka’s 63 foreign missions and at the Foreign Ministry in Colombo in the first four months of this year even as the country faced its worst-ever economic crisis leading to the government being unable to pay for basics to provide for its citizens.

The Prime Minister’s Office expressed concern with senior officials when they sat to discuss further cost-cutting measures and were questioned why these expenses were not slashed immediately.

According to statistics available, in the first four months of this year, a whopping US13.7 million dollars had been spent on maintenance and salaries in the 63 Sri Lankan missions overseas, which had been recruiting huge numbers of staff.

Sources said that these missions recruited 439 people from their respective countries and 852 people had been sent from Sri Lanka to these missions.

The matter which is now being examined by the Prime Minister himself, has led to serious queries as to why such massive expenditure was ignored when the government was running out of money even to purchase a shipment of fuel.

In addition to the foreign missions, a total sum of Rs.359.8 million had been splurged by the Foreign Ministry in Colombo in the first four months of this year with a staff of 643 people employed.

A detailed report on the Ministry’s expenses has now been sought. Sources said that out of the 63 missions, steps were taken only to shut three missions overseas amid the economic turmoil but discussions are now ongoing to slash the staff and bring down the maintenance in the existing missions.

A detailed probe has commenced over the massive expenditure by the individual missions and Foreign Ministry in Colombo

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