State Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mr. Dilip Wedaarachchi said that the Government will stop calling fishermen to Colombo for minor issues and will provide solutions for their issues at District level from this year.
This was stated by the State Minister Wedaarachchi during a discussion held at the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development on Thursday (4) to review the progress made in the year 2017 and the plans for 2018.
Secretary to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Jagath P. Wijeweera, Secretary to the Ministry of State Mr. Abdul Majeed and all other Heads of the departments and all the institutions belonging to the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development were present at this discussion.
Addressing the meeting, State Minister Wedaarachchi the year 2018 is a very important year for the Ministry of Fisheries and all the institutions in the Ministry because the Ministry will pursue a program this year targeting to make the fisheries industry to be among the country’s three main foreign exchange earners.
He said everyone should be committed to strengthen the fishermen’s livelihoods as well as country’s economy.
“We must strengthen this journey and we should dedicate this year to strengthen the country’s economy as well as to strengthen the fishing community’s economy. It is important to implement a program to solve the problems faced by the fishing community. ”
“We should not always be at the same place. The fisherman is not a person who needs to be neglected by the society every day. They have a dignity. This dignity should be protected,” state minister added.
The Minister pointed out that, people’s problems are presented to the District Coordinating platforms through people’s representatives and Government Officials As the responsible officers represent this committee, solutions for those issues are given at the same time. However, no officials participate in the District Coordination Committee representing the Ministry of Fisheries
“This is a very serious problem. As a result, fishermen in the North East, South and North Western Provinces have to come to Colombo constantly to find solutions for their problems. This method is wrong. It has to be normal. Because people should not have to be loitered this way,” he said.
Recalling how he had to come to Colombo 25 years ago to get various issues resolved, Minister Wedaarachchi said there were occasions that he travelled to Colombo several times for the same problem.
“People from faraway areas have to come to Colombo the previous day to find solutions for their problems. When they arrive, neither the Minister, nor the Secretary or an officer is available in the seat. This method is not suitable for this country. Therefore I would like to tell the Secretary and the Heads of the relevant institutions to make urgent arrangements to solve the problems of the fishing community at District level. Only the problems that cannot be solved at District level should be directed to the Ministry or the Head office,” he stressed.
The Minister said he discussed these issues with the Minister of Public Administration, at least to formulate a program to get the District Fisheries Director to participate in the District Coordination Committees.
“I believe that the solutions could be given at District level for the fishing community’s problems and in the new year everyone will be able to drive the fisheries industry for the betterment of the country and the people,” he added.
The Minister said he is pleased to see that the government is implementing the “Blue Economy” program he introduced for the Fisheries industry as a policy in the “2018 Blue Green Budget”.
As a result of his visit to Korea, the basic feasibility studies on introducing multipurpose fisheries harbors in Sri Lanka for the first time are now completed and all the work is done by Korea for free.
“It is a great victory for our country. Therefore I urge all of you to be as one, with a single ambition to make the commitment to bring this Fisheries industry among the three main industries which bring foreign exchange to Sri Lanka,” State Minister Wedaarachchi said.