UNP urges government to halt all development projects and to divert funds for fight against COVID-19

Wajira Abeywardena

UNP Chairman and former Minister Wajira Abeywardena on Tuesday called on the government to suspend development projects immediately and use those funds instead on COVID-19 prevention and treatment projects.

Addressing the media in Galle, the former Minister said that time had come for the government to rethink its approach to preventing the spread of the pandemic and streamline treatment processes immediately. “Many other countries have given priority to treat people over their long-term development projects. We think that this government too should think of suspending mega development projects for several months and divert those funds to purchase immunity boosting food and beverages for the people. The main beneficiary of any development project should be the people. Without people to enjoy the benefits of such projects, there is no meaning to them,” Abeywardena said.

“The most important thing right now is to provide relief to the people affected by the pandemic,” he said.

The UNP Chairman said that the government had been dragging its feet in making decisions pertaining to COVID-19 prevention. “They delayed closing down airports. They delayed in placing orders. They did not close down the country when the doctors and medical experts kept demanding at the advent of the third wave of the pandemic. What we see is nothing but mismanagement. Sri Lanka is a country which has been successful on many previous occasions in implementing vaccination programmes. If one could recall the malaria vaccination programme was one such. In that project, the health officials went house to house to vaccinate people and the programme was a huge success. We have around 22,000 doctors and around 45,000 nurses. In addition there are around 10,000 public health midwives. Then there are around 2,500 Public Health Inspectors. There are around 200 private hospitals with around 8,000 beds. The government hospitals have 68,000 beds. So we have some resources. All we have to do is to manage the existing and available resources to their optimum,” Abeywardena said.

(Source: The Island – By Piyasena Dissanayake)