Lazy Bums — Budget 2004

Sri Lanka Wednesday announced it was shedding 300,000 state-sector jobs and offered a generous severance package that will effectively pay employees to stay at home for the rest of their lives.rn
Finance Minister K. N. Choksy said the public sector reforms included a 30 percent trimming of the 1.09 million workforce, but instead of job cuts the government is giving golden handshakes which will cost US$ 84.2 million in the first year.rn

rnChoksy said he expected 100,000 employees to take advantage of the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) in January and hoped that another 200,000 will leave by 2006.rn

rnPublic servants taking advantage of the VRS will receive a years salary upfront plus a yearly salary, at 2003 levels, to them until they reach the normal retirement age of 55.rn

rnThereafter, they will be entitled to a full pension which amounts to about 85 percent of the salary.rn

rnThose taking advantage of the VRS will have also have small loans up to 24,000 rupees (252 dollars) taken from the