Sri Lanka expands state by 305,000 people since 2004

Sept 16, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has expanded an already bloated state sector by 305,060 persons since 2004, including 43,981 in 2009, data released by the island’s finance ministry showed. Deputy finance minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said the government was continuing to give state jobs and 1,000 people would be absorbed to state-run Bank of Ceylon soon.

He was responding to comments by Sri Lanka’s opposition leader that the government had stopped giving state jobs.

By end 2008 Sri Lanka 1,258,776 state workers of which 997,458 were in the central government, provincial councils or local authorities and the rest in state enterprises and authorities.

By end 2004 Sri Lanka had 1,094,914 state workers, which had been relatively stable over several years.

Sri Lanka’s two main political parties – the United National Party (UNP) and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) – had for years given away state jobs as an easy way to win political power.

State enterprises such as ports, bus and rail services have been stuffed with tens of thousands of workers, the burden of which has to be borne by the entire population. Powerful state-sector unions prevent reforms in the institu