Economic Processes in Lanka: Three items

Korea becomes employment paradise for Sri Lankans, in the Sunday Times, 14 August 2011

The Korean government has ensured ease of gaining improved employment opportunities when job seekers return home for its overseas workers including Sri Lankans. Towards this end, Sri Lankan workers will be able to not simply find skilled employment upon returning home but also find a job while still working inKoreaor upon arrival inColombo. Sri Lankan youth en masse opt to work inKoreawith the number of employment opportunities for this year numbering 9,300. In 2010, Korea recruited 5,300 Sri Lankan workers.

The issuance of a career certificate via the Internet is now possible for those returning to Colombo after their work time inKorea, the Korean Human Resources Development, Employment Permit System (EPS) Director Kim Kyun – Hyun told the Business Times. He noted that this would allow for unskilled workers seeking employment inKoreato return home and obtain a job as a skilled person. Previously, workers had to visit a job centre in each region during their stay inKoreato obtain the career certificate however today this is possible via in order to get re-employed inSri Lanka. The Korean government has to date issued 95 certificates during the second half of 2010 and 175 in the first half of this year.

It was pointed out that workers are able to still apply for the certificate by individually visiting the regional offices of HRD Korea during their time of employment there or through the Employment Permit System (EPS) centre in their home country. According to a press release, Korean Employment and Labour Deputy Minister Lee Jae-Kap notes this to be a service that aims to let EPS workers gain employment with ease upon returning to their home country. Further,Koreawill also provide occupational skill and set up business training programmes for EPS returnees inSri Lanka.

Job fair in Seoul: HRD Korea is organising a 2011 Global Job Fair in Seoul in October with the sponsorship of Employment and Labour Ministry, Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, Korea Tourism Organisation, International Contractors Association of Korea, Industrial Bank of Korea. Participating at the event will be over 200 companies from Asia,America,Europe and around the world.

Mr. Kyun – Hyun said they were right now in search of Sri Lankan companies willing to participate at the job fair. This organization provides a one stop service for overseas employment ranging from counseling, registration, contact, interviews, employment contracts, and departure for job seekers in professions that are in high demand overseas such as IT, business, marketing, accounting, medicine, construction and machinery.

The Korean language proficiency test will be held on October 8-9 which job seekers need to pass in order to qualify for work inKorea. In 2010, around 30,000 Sri Lankans had applied for the test and the number is expected to increase this year. The Korean government will only be selecting 9,300 persons from the highest scorers of more than 80 points out of 200 points. Job seekers will be allowed to sit the test from the centres in Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Mannar, Matale, Matara, Moneragala, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Puttalam, Ratnapura, Trincomalee and Vavuniya.

Web Editor’s note: When lining up at the ticket counter in Katunayake airport in November 2010, i found myself beside a queeuof young men in similar shirts lining up at the queue for another airline. When inquiring where they were going i discovered that they were bound for Korea. Murtj krishna sarvananthan ahd earlier expressed amazement at the number of individuals sitting for the koren language tests earlier in the year. This stream of opportunity (and its exploitations in both ways) seems to be continuing. It is, clearly, sustained in aprt by networking among individuals and families who have already ploughed the path. This snowball chain migration of a temporary character albeit with potential for the permanent  outmigration of some individuals — who will use the base to move elsewhere or, with luck and charm, find brides in Korea. 


Vavuniya GA refutes Tamil media reports

by P. Krishnaswamy

Vavuniya GA P.S.M. Charles has strongly refuted reports in some sections of the Tamil media alleging that the health of a large number of families who have been resettled in the Wanni is in a precarious condition and are facing the threat of death, after the Government’s relief assistance was discontinued.

She told the Sunday Observer that this report is totally incorrect and misleading because no such situation was brought to her notice nor have any complaints been received either in her office or in any of the Divisional Secretariats in the district. The news report, in question, said that “relief assistance has been discontinued in respect of a large number of families who have been resettled in the Wanni and as a result, those among them who are living below the poverty line are facing the threat of death due to malnutrition”. The GA said that a large majority of the resettled families continue to receive relief assistance which is being extended to nine months instead of the originally specified six months.

The families are also engaged in agriculture and other traditional professions, she said. The Yala paddy cultivation was a hundred percent success in the region and they are now getting ready for the Maha season, she said.

She said that if there are families who do not have working members or only disabled members and need special assistance to eke out a living, they should apply to the District Secretariat, through the Divisional Secretary’s offices so that their requests can be considered.

WFP Project Director R.H.W.A. Kumarasiri of the Ministry of Economic Development who also denied the reports said that 112,405 persons received relief assistance this month and this number almost corresponds to the figure in last April. Therefore, the allegations that relief assistance to a large number of families has been discontinued is unfounded, he said. He said that WFP relief assistance has been extended for another nine months or even beyond that in the case of deserving families. Dry rations under the ‘Work for Food’ program of the WFP are provided after the nine-month relief assistance, he said.


Lanka’s will power ensures sovereignty … Records high 8 percent growth rate

The Economic Times reported in the Daily News, 13 August 2011

Combining military power with will power has enabledSri Lankato recover its sovereignty and restore economic development, stated The Economic Times in a report published yesterday. Not only did the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) comprehensively defeat the LTTE insurgency – the first such victory in the 21st century, but it also returned the country to a high growth rate path of eight percent, the report said. The newspaper reported that ‘Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal considers the Sri Lankan military very productive, winning the war on the cheap: for $5.5 billion between 2006 and 2009, which is 4 percent of the GDP. By contrast, the US has spent nearly $1 trillion on its unfinished wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“That government message is not going out loudly enough.” The LTTE knew that killing the economy would result inSri Lankabecoming a failed state. It chose economic targets inColombo- the Central Bank, international airport and hotels – launching suicide attacks that also destroyed tourism.

Although the annual economic loss during the conflict was around 1-2 percent of the GDP, the economy grew for the most part, at 6 percent as the insurgency was confined to the North-East. Previous governments did not attempt defeating the LTTE militarily for fear of costs, high political uncertainty, loss of investor confidence and lack of political will. No one knew howIndiawould react but most of all, few believed it was possible to subdue the LTTE. Two years after the war, the investment on defence has paid off. The economic indicators are striking. There is a brain gain instead of the usual brain drain. Inflation is down to single figure, unemployment below 5 percent, fiscal deficit down from 6.8 percent to 5 percent, malnutrition down from 35 percent to 13.5 percent and poverty down to 7.6 percent in 2009-10 from 15.2 percent in 2006-07 – the fastest reduction in the world.

GDP has more than doubled in the last five years to $56 billion and is expected to reach $98 billion in 2016. Tourism is booming and earning annually $600 million. Sri Lanka is calling it Asia’s miracle. The focus in the last two years is on post-conflict development in North and East where there has been virtually no development for the last 30 years. Planning for this had started eight months before the end of the war. An estimated $2.5 billion is expected for reconstruction of the North-East for the next three years. The growth rate for the Eastern Province, which was liberated in 2007, is an impressive 14% percent, The Economic Times said.

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